For a while now I have been running hardy in VMWare and on my secondary laptop, and I generally migrate my main work machine to a new Ubuntu when the beta comes out. An Ubuntu beta is a great opportunity to really test Ubuntu and ensure it is as bug free as possible, so go and check it out. Think of it like building a huge wall, if we each put in one brick, together we can make something pretty darn solid. :)

I just wanted to highlight a couple of my fave features in the new release that I am digging:

  • Evolution – despite the common trend of pouring derision on Evolution, I really like having my email, calendar and TODO together in one application, and I think Evolution does a pretty good job, and importantly, integrates with the desktop. So far I have been using Google Calendar for my calendar, but the new Evolution includes support for Google Calendar. This means you can use Evolution as a UI for adding/removing and viewing events. This solves the calendar side for me, and for Tasks, I am just looking for a nifty way of syncing up my TODO lists now with something like rememberthemilk. I keep fleeting between different TODO methods – I was using a wiki, then TomBoy, but I like the idea of having it all in Evolution so I can do things like highlight a sentence in an Email, right-click it and select Convert to Task. It is integration that I am looking for, both inside the application and with the desktop, and Evolution takes a pretty good shot at it – keep up the good work Evolution bods. :)
  • International Clock – click the time and you can add a bunch of international clocks that appear just under your calendar. This is rather convenient as I spend a lot of time working with people across timezones. It even shades the clocks based on which parts of the world are in daytime and which are in nighttime. Oh, and it also rather nicely shows weather reports in that region – slightly pointless, but nice nonetheless.
  • Compiz works – On this Dell M1330 with the Intel graphics, compiz was blacklisted due to some video issues. Well, now it works. :)
  • Fingerprint scanner works – My fingerprint scanner is working great too on this laptop now. There is something rather cool about scanning your finger – next up I want an iris scanner that makes a red line go up and down my eye. :)
  • CD burning – we now have a much nicer solution for burning discs with Brasero. Very cool.
  • Firefox integrates much more nicely – Blizzard wasn’t wrong, Firefox 3 feels much nicer. Good work there, folks. :)
  • Pulseaudio – its in there, and it offers a lot more functionality for musicians. Good to see it land in Ubuntu. :)
  • Projector support – I haven’t tested it yet, but it seems Hardy is going to rock a lot harder with regards to projector support, which has traditionally been a royal pain in the ass before.
  • More… – there is clearly lots more in there that is rocking and a rolling, but these are the main things I picked up on in the first few days. :)

We are getting there people, kicking one arse after another. Now…get out there, upgrade to the beta and when it doesn’t work quite right report bugs. Together we can really make a difference. :)

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