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Just for fun I compared Ubuntu 8.04 Beta 'Hardy Heron' to Webconverger 3 (beta).

I'm not sure if Ubuntu boots faster than Webconverger, but it certainly a lot slicker then the current text based boot of Webconverger.

Ok, that bloated Gnome desktop loaded quicker than expected. I wondered what was behind that Mail icon.

Does not scale

Evolution... which I couldn't further trial as I couldn't figure out how to scale the window for the little screen I was testing Ubuntu on. :/

Next I was amazed Ubuntu shipped Firefox 3b5. Earlier I was thinking I was being a bit risky with Webconverger 3!

ff3b5

I tried a couple of typical use cases in the browser environment.

  1. Opening a PDF
  2. Watching a YouTube video

Opening a PDF pops up an external window. In Webconverger PDFs open inline the same browser window, which I think is much more usable.

PDF

Next getting Youtube working was a 10 minute mission.

  1. Choose your flash plugin
  2. I chose the first option and waited for stuff to install
  3. Er... I need a codec
  4. And install the codec
  5. Do some waiting

And finally after being very patient (or drunk) I managed to get a Youtube video to playback. Flash "just works" in Webconverger as the non-free flash plugin is preloaded.

I did then try watch an OGG video from Ubuntu's Firefox and it did manage to playback, which was impressive. However it was not inline HTML of course. I was unable to seek through the video and then I tried to watch the video again and it didn't seem to work at all. Sad. :/

Worryingly I noticed Canonical offer a 60GBP product to train people how to use their Desktop. Most people I've observed miraculously don't require training with Webconverger. The typical question I get asked is howto shutdown the computer (A: the power button).

Webconverger used to have quite a few versions, namely supporting different i18n locales. Now it's just mini and maxi. Ubuntu 8.10 has many flavours; "Ubuntu", JeOS, Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, UbuntuStudio, Mythbuntu and I think some more. Whatever happened to Debian's task selector with Ubuntu! ;)

Anyway, I really think Ubuntu should endeavour to improve the user experience via the Web. The Web is the free software platform. Not these horrible Gnome/KDE "Windows" throwbacks. :)