Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat was released on October 10th, 2010, and it really is the best Ubuntu release to date. Everything was made to be super easy for regular users, and advanced Linux enthusiasts still can take advantage of all that it can offer. A lot of functions have been completely automated (the screen type and resolution settings, for example) and most of them also got graphical menus for easier configuration.
Canonical, the company that maintains and develops Ubuntu, said that because this operating system is supposed to be an alternative to the established commercial Windows and even Mac OS X, it must be as easy and painless for newbie users to get up and running. They have definitely achieved that goal in Ubuntu 10.10, as the installer literally does everything for you, and the only things you have to do is insert the USB flash drive or CD, set up your name, password and a few regional settings, wait for Ubuntu to finish installing, and you’re good to go!
All the drivers and software you might need are already pre-installed, and the rest of the packages can be managed through the easy to use Synaptic Manager. Ubuntu also got the new version of the Ubuntu One syncing service, which can now automatically store the music you bought on the Music Store and let you stream it anywhere and on any device.
Still, there are lots of ways you can improve your Ubuntu installation and make it better and more personalized. To help you with that, here are just a few tips and tricks that will help you get more out of your new Ubuntu 10.10 operating system:
Run Windows applications and software. Windows is still the king if you count the number of programs available for the OS, and you most probably have a few good apps that you use on a regular basis. What you might not know is that you don’t lose that ability if you switch to Ubuntu! Yes, you can easily run most of the software for Windows out there on Ubuntu (and Linux in general). All you need to do is install WINE and PlayOnLinux, 2 similar packages (or apps/software/programs, of you wish to call them that way), which make it very easy to install and run Windows software and even games. Most of the newest stuff is supported, and all you need to do to install them is run “sudo apt-get install wine playonlinux” in the Terminal!
Fully personalize the visual effects. The Compiz Fusion visual effects engine that comes with Ubuntu 10.10 is the envy of every single Windows and OS X user out there. There are so many beautiful and smooth effects that you can lose count of them. But there is no easy way to customize them on a default installation! No problems, all you need to do is install CCSM by running “sudo apt-get install ccsm”. Then you can customize the visual effects by going to System->Preferences->CompizConfig.
Be able to open and create any kind of archive. There are over a dozen different archive formats out there, and just as Windows can only open .zip files by default, so is Ubuntu limited to .zip and .tar.gz . But unlike on Windows, you don’t need to pay for WinRAR or other commercial apps – you can get all the packages you need for free. Here is the command that will install an archive app for every file format you can think of: “sudo apt-get install unace rar unrar arj zip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils mpack lha unzip file-roller”. Now you can be sure you’ll be able to open any archive!
Get a better clipboard package. The default clipboard is pretty boring on Ubuntu 10.10. If you need something more advanced, you can easily install Glipper, one of the best alternative clipboards for Linux. Just run “sudo apt-get install glipper”, optionally create a link to the Clipboard Manager on the top or bottom panels and prepare to be amazed.
Fix the rare but annoying Wifi disabled issue. Some people who install or more frequently, update to Ubuntu 10.10, encounter a strange problem where the Wifi is disabled on startup and can’t be enabled. The drivers are there, it’s the Wifi that is just disabled. If you have this issue, here is the fix: The problem is in a lock that Ubuntu places on Wifi when it’s installing. For some reason, sometimes it fails to be removed. All you have to do is remove it yourself by running “sudo rfkill unblock all”. After restart, you should be able to operate your Wifi as usual.
Ubuntu 10.10 is a great achievement for Canonical, the world of open source and Linux, and hopefully, more manufacturers will start supporting this OS in their drivers, because widespread support for hardware is the only thing that stops it from becoming a really competitive product useful to most people. Windows and Mac OS X are no longer the only operating systems you can get for day to day use or even professional applications: Linux and Ubuntu can also do a lot of useful things!