Ubuntu 13.10 review: Is it a worthy upgrade?

Today in Open Source: SJVN reviews Ubuntu 13.10. Plus: Firefox OS speed improvements, and six Android keyboard apps

By , ITworld |  Open Source, Android, Linux

Ubuntu 13.10 Review
Update: I finally got to use Ubuntu 13.10, and I have a full review up on Desktop Linux Reviews. Alas, I was not as impressed with it as Steven.

SJVN at ZDNet has a review of Ubuntu 13.10, and he likes it a lot.

Many hardcore desktop fans still haven't forgiven Ubuntu for switching to its Unity interface. Others dislike how Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, has gone its own way with such technical issues as working on the Mir display stack instead of the more mainstream Wayland. And, some people dislike how Ubuntu is combining "local" searches with Web searches. So what!

Installation was a cinch on all these systems. While I didn't try to install Ubuntu on a system locked down with Windows 8 Secure Boot, there are good instructions on how to put Ubuntu on Windows 8 PCs and other systems that use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).

I've been using the operating system now for several weeks. It's worked well for me as a fast, secure and easy-to-use desktop.

While Unity isn't quite to my personal taste, Shuttleworth has been successful in making a Linux desktop that anyone can use.

More at ZDNet

I haven't had a chance to sit down with Ubuntu 13.10, but Steven's review seems quite positive. At some point folks have to accept Unity and the other changes to Ubuntu, and move on.

The Mir thing is a bit of a downer, but there's always the next version of Ubuntu to look forward to and hopefully it will be included by then.

Firefox OS Wider Distribution and Speed Improvements
It looks like Firefox OS is getting some needed performance upgrades, as well as wider distribution.

Mozilla Foundation is improving the performance of its Firefox OS software for smartphones, and devices running it will soon go on sale in more European and Latin American countries.

However, the operating system has yet to live up to that promise, with the first round of phones suffering from performance issues. "And boy, is the device slow, even for simple tasks like opening emails. Don't expect to finish every action; trying again is part of the experience," Infoworld said when reviewing the ZTE Open in August.

Mozilla Foundation, which leads the development, is looking to address that with version 1.1 of Firefox OS. The organization promises "faster application load times and smoother scrolling," it said in a blog post on Wednesday.

More at CIO

I've been rooting for Firefox OS for a while, so I hope that the speed improvements make a big difference for users. The larger distribution across the world might also help get Firefox OS into enough markets to give it some real momentum.

Six Android Keyboard Apps
TechHive has a helpful roundup of six Android keyboard apps. Check it out if you're in the market for a new on-screen keyboard for your Android device.

Android’s open-source nature makes it one of the only mobile operating systems that allow their users to swap out the default keyboard—and why not? If you can choose the keyboard for your desktop computer, then surely you should be allowed to do so on your mobile phone. You can find a plethora of keyboard applications in the Google Play Store, but here’s a small helping of those that are worth a download.

Google Keyboard
Swype
SwiftKey
Go Keyboard
Touchpal X
Thumb Keyboard

More at TechHive

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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