Ubuntu 8.04: hard(l)y worth a yawn

I had high hopes for the next Ubuntu. Version 7.10 was a solid release, and apart from a debilitating ACPI bug that rendered it impractical (to me) for day-to-day use, I found little to dislike about it. Unfortunately, Ubuntu 8.10 -- a.k.a "Hardy Heron" -- is shaping-up to be one of those releases that reminds of why I can't stand some of the more "desktop-centric" distributions. Simply put,

I had high hopes for the next Ubuntu. Version 7.10 was a solid release, and apart from a debilitating ACPI bug that rendered it impractical (to me) for day-to-day use, I found little to dislike about it. Unfortunately, Ubuntu 8.10 -- a.k.a "Hardy Heron" -- is shaping-up to be one of those releases that reminds of why I can't stand some of the more "desktop-centric" distributions.

Simply put, "Hardy" is nothing more than "me-tooism" run amok. I mean, how many Windows Vista features do you need to rip-off before someone calls you a "copycat?"

For example:

  1. Individual GUI "unlock" buttons for system-level tasks. Hello? Microsoft calls this "User Account Control." They even have a special icon image that can be overlaid onto buttons that trigger functions requiring privilege elevation. Oh, but since it's "UAC-on-Linux" I guess it'll suck less, right? Yeah, sure ...

  2. Hand-in-hand with the "unlock" buttons: PolicyKit, the most poorly disguised knock-off of Windows Group Policies I've ever encountered.

    Note to Canonical: Microsoft has an eight year head-start in this department, with massive 3rd party buy-in, so ... good luck!

  3. World Clock/Weather Applet: One of the features I missed most from Vista during my stay in Ubuntu-land was the ability to have multiple clocks (I travel a lot overseas). Of course, there are numerous weather applets for Windows Sidebar, so this is clearly another "me-tooism."

  4. Finally, prefetch! It'd be interesting to see a technical breakdown of how this new "Superfetch" knock-off compares to the original. I guess Con Kolivas was right, after all!

  5. Multiple audio sliders. Again, done already with Vista, though it's hard to do a proper comparison since the "Hardy" version isn't enabled yet. Will the "copycatting" never end?

To be fair, Ubuntu 8.04 will likely be a fine OS, one that further strengthens the community's case against Microsoft on the desktop. However, I was really hoping for some innovation here. Both "Feisty" and "Gutsy" were successful in advancing the platform while still providing a unique and compelling user experience. "Hardy," on the other hand, looks like little more than an attempt to make Ubuntu indistinguishable from Windows. Sad.

I dread the introduction of the new GTK theme. If I see any kind of "orb" appear in the upper left corner of the desktop I may just kill myself ...

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