I updated to Ubuntu 11.04 today (read, it said: “Shall I?” and I answered “Please do”).

While it took a few hours to download, the operation was relatively painless. However, here are a few words of caution.

1) the user interface has changed and I must say it does need some getting used to. The “start” and “running programs” bars have been integrated to one and it is on the LEFT side, floating in and out. And it is not entirely bug free. Nothing major, more in the realm of slightly annoying. Still, I am not convinced it is an improvement, but lets face it, no UI change ever feels like that the first few days.

2) my ATI video driver, while listed as 11.04 (“Nattty”) ready, refuses to install due to unsolved dependencies. That is sooo 2004. No functionality loss by the way, just slower (dual screen works fine).

3) OpenOffice has been replaced by LibreOffice (a fork created because of Oracle’s bad Open Source Community behavior, good decision). That was a no brainer for me personally, as I switched a week ago.

4) RythmBox (the music player) has been replaced by Banshee. I will hold my verdict on that one, but so far, I am not royally impressed, again on really small, but annoying issues.

So far so good! Will keep you posted.

Update april 30th: I decided against the new interface, even if making the icons smaller (did not want to go below 32×32). Easy to change at login. It is rumored the next version (by definition 11.10) will do away with the old interface, but probably the most serious annoyances, including some programs not behaving very well with it will be ironed out.

I think I can live with Banshee. It has a few pluses too. To an extend it replaces Miro, which is kinda cool. **

For me the most exciting news is, and it probably has nothing to do with this release is that Blackberry Desktop finally works in Virtual box. I don’t know when this happened, but this configuration works for me: Virtual Box 4.0.6 r71344, Windows XP running in it (fully updated), Blackberry Desktop 5.0 Bundle 1682. Note that it is required that in Virtual box the support for USB 2.0, called “EHCI” is disabled. This news does not allow me to ditch Windows completely, but it does allow me to ditch Windows 7 native. Yippee!!.

Update May 11th: re-switched to Unity, the new interface. With the video issues 99% ironed out, it is not too bad. No wild enthusiasm, but doable. Had a serious fight with the Wifi interface (basically it being stuck off). But again, here is the imho more interesting part that, again, is kinda unrelated to the upgrade. I used Simple Backup to backup to a USB hard disk, formatted NTSB. I started to get worried a lot as those backups started to fail because what seems to be a writing error on that disk. I made two rather important changes: I moved the disk to ext4 and I switched to Back In Time. Whoa! Now that is one great easy backup program. I am not into Apple, so I have never used the time machine thingy, but this is said to be the same, Ubuntu style. Me likey! (As usual, installing something in Ubuntu is easy as cake: Open software center, type Back In Time, select it, click Install. Done).