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The good, the bad and the Ubuntu 15.10

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I had mixed feelings from my time with Ubuntu. On the one hand, the distribution feels fairly polished and the installer, applications and system tools all worked well. My desktop's hardware was properly detected and utilized and this release offers us updated versions of popular software. However, in a virtual machine, Ubuntu performed poorly and this surprised me since the previous release worked quite smoothly in a VirtualBox instance. Not only that, but this version of Ubuntu used quite a bit more memory than the last version did on the same test equipment.

What really stood out most about Ubuntu 15.10 though was this release felt virtually identical in every way to Ubuntu 15.04 and very similar to 14.10. One of the few changes I noticed was that this version of Ubuntu appears to no longer support both the Upstart and systemd init programs, as the previous version did. I see this as an unfortunate (though expected) change as Canonical moves to support just one init package. On the one hand, this lack of adjustments in 15.10 is good news for people who do not want to experience a lot of change. The development team appears to have been working almost exclusively over the past year to fix bugs and keep things working as they have been. This makes Ubuntu feel like a more stable platform.

On the other hand, having a platform that does not boast any new features makes me wonder if there is a point to pushing out a new release. The minor package updates presented probably could have been handled by a backports repository for Ubuntu 15.04. While projects like openSUSE and Fedora are experimenting with new system admin tools, file system snapshots, Wayland and boot environments, Ubuntu appears to be sitting idle. I know there are behind-the-scenes changes planned (such as Snappy packages, Mir and a new version of Unity), but those items keep getting pushed back. In short, I feel this release of Ubuntu was good, but it isn't bringing anything new to the table over the previous version.

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