In keeping with my ongoing look at Ubuntu Linux 8.04, here are some interesting articles I've seen about this new release:

eWeak: Ubuntu 8.04 Is Ready to Take On Windows

I used my second test machine, an Athlon 64-based desktop running Windows Vista, to try out Ubuntu 8.04's newest installation option, in which Ubuntu installs itself in a couple of large files on a preexisting Windows installation. The last few Ubuntu releases have shipped in a LiveCD format that enables users to boot into a temporary Ubuntu desktop suitable for trying out the system before either devoting an entire system to Ubuntu or resizing existing Windows partitions to make way for Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration.

The Ubuntu desktop I'd installed within Windows seemed no different from the one I'd installed on its own hardware, and I was pleased to find that the files from my Windows instance were accessible from Ubuntu. According to documentation on the Ubuntu Web site, there's a performance hit associated with this sort of install, but I didn't detect an appreciable slowdown.

I have seen a big performance hit with this type of install. And it was quite noticeable. Still, it's a great option for testing.

Mark Shuttleworth: The Heron takes flight

Hearty congratulations to the entire Ubuntu community on the successful launch of 8.04 LTS. This was our best release cycle ever, from the planning at UDS-Boston last year, at which we had many different teams and companies, to the beta process which attracted so much in the way of testing and patches. I think we can be justifiably proud of the quality of 8.04 LTS. From the code to the documentation, from translations to advocacy, this has been a team effort with the shared goal of delivering the very best free software experience to the very widest possible audience. May Hardy be both enduring and endearing.

I’m very conscious of the fact that Ubuntu is the pointy edge of a very large wedge - we are the conduit, but we exist only because of the extraordinary dedication and effort of thousands of other communities and projects. We all owe a great deal to the team who make Debian’s “unstable” repository possible, and of course to the upstream projects from GNOME and KDE through to the Linux kernel. We hope you will be proud of the condition in which we have carried your excellent work through to the users of Ubuntu.

It's nice to see Shuttleworth extending this thank you to Debian. Few mainstream computer users are probably even aware of the link between Ubuntu and Debian.

Jason Perlow: Ubuntu: I’m extremely impatient

The demand for downloads and updates to the newly released Linux distribution was so tremendous, that the repositories are totally overwhelmed — you can’t connect to the US or central Canonical archives if your life depended on it today. According to a close industry source, Ubuntu saturated 20 Gigabits of bandwidth from both its main repositories and download locations over the last 24 hours. It’s like the Seinfeld episode where they go to the Chinese restaurant and the bunch are stymied by every attempt to get a table.

Obviously, this has since cleared up significantly. You should have no issues downloading Ubuntu 8.04 now.

Kubuntu Hardy: Mildly disappointing

Kubuntu Hardy has a lot of nice welcome features. First, there's a KDE 4 version, which packs the latest and greatest (but very unstable) desktop environment, as well as the default version with the rock solid KDE 3.5. Compiz Fusion support has (finally) come to KDE with the new Desktop Effects app. Wubi has been bundled as well, making it dead simple for Windows users to install and uninstall Kubuntu.

As far as looks, Kubuntu is basically the same.

Konqueror is the most awesome file manager in the world (Finder and Windows Explorer have nothin' on it), but it is a horrible web browser. KHTML (the engine that powers it) is most possibly the worst renderer ever. It's not quite as fast as WebKit (the Safari engine) and won't render everything like Gecko (the Firefox engine) will.

Overall, I'm not as excited as I originally was about Kubuntu Hardy. The Compiz Fusion enabler was especially nice, since I never quite got Compiz to work on previous distros. Wubi is certainly nice, but only for switchers (not old-time Linux users like me). And with problems that should definitely not be there, Kubuntu Hardy is rather mediocre.

I tend to focus on the meat and potatoes "Ubuntu" product, but there of course other variants including Kubuntu (utilizing the KDE environment rather than GNOME), Edubuntu (a kid-friendly version with "school-related applications"), Xubuntu (utilizing the lightweight Xfce environment), and Gobuntu (containing only modifiable and redistributable open source code).