Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 16:13

Ubuntu is an operating system that
does not require installation to run,
neither activation,
neither drivers CD for vga and wifi,
neither antivirus.

Previously the first part talked about Panorama - the appearance overview of past and current Ubuntu. Now this second part will talk about Power - the technical aspects "how it works" of Ubuntu most notably the installation and add/remove applications and configurations. Briefly, Ubuntu Desktop now transformed into more a mobile alike system similar to Android or iOS. Here you will find the one gigabyte memory load this version, how much the app installations changed, and things important about Ubuntu. Enjoy!

Subscribe to UbuntuBuzz Telegram Channel to get article updates directly.
< Preamble | Part I | Part II | Part III >

1. Installation and Performance

Installation & performance: on Hardy, Ubuntu size was under a compact disc capacity and required twice memory size swap partition. Now on Focal, Ubuntu is unfit unless in a dvd capacity and leaves the old swap formula. At first boot after freshly installed, Focal takes 1GiB of ram in my specification. Compare this to three hundred megabytes with Hardy.

(Installation process of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - showing one slide among slides that says 'An Operating System Available to Everyone, Developed for Anyone that will Just Work for Anything You Need' including the slogan)

(One gigabyte RAM more or less to run Focal Fossa and noticeably high CPU percentage at first few minutes depicted in [Pic. 1] [Pic. 2] [Pic. 3] and see Hardy [Pic. 4])

(Multibooting - nowadays we are lucky we can make one installation media with multiple operating systems (not limited to just one like the old Hardy era) and so does with this one I made)

The biggest difference to Hardy era is that now Ubuntu got many vendors sell computers preinstalled with it. Even you can now preorder from System76, Entroware, or Star Labs a laptop with 20.04 already. This reduces users needs to install and in turn reduces risks for us -- just like what vendors like Asus or Toshiba did for decades with Windows --

(Branded Ubuntu computers - these are three new vendors namely System76 from the US and Entroware and Star Labs from the EU aside from officially certified vendors such as Dell and Lenovo)

2. Add and Remove Applications

Application installation: it changed a lot. From the absence of Synaptic and GDebi, inconsistency of Software Center, introduction of a new software delivery technology called Snap, despite the unchanged Debian package system (.deb - apt - repository) still powering underneath. In short, now we obtain applications mainly through the Software Center.

(Ubuntu Software Center conveys you applications -both libre and proprietary ones- under Canonical's Snap new technology)

(Remember this? It is the legendary Synaptic Package Manager that came with Hardy long before Ubuntu Software Center)

When we use Ubuntu Software we use Snap. Snap is the new way we users receive applications and their updates. On the other hand, Snap is also a new way application makers deliver applications and updates they made to us the users. What makes Snap special is it standardizes other distros beyond Ubuntu and makes software makers easier to share or to sell their apps.

(Ubuntu Software displaying installed applications)

3. Settings

Way of controls: they changed too and it is now centralized. On Hardy everything is scattered, while on Focal everything is centered in a control panel named Settings. This eases everyone to find their configuration quickly and repetitively despite actually we can still access them individually like before by searching on the start menu.

(Control panel - from system identity to power management, taking care about hardware devices or language localizations, everything to configure is now centered in this gear-iconed Settings)

(Scattered Settings - years ago, Hardy placed different places for different settings and now Focal leaves out these in favor of a centred one)

Tweaks: Ubuntu now separates between the Settings and the Tweaks. It is understandable that Ubuntu wants to be 'just works' - it expects most users (especially enterprises and individuals) to use it as is without tweaking animations - fonts - themes - whatsoever. However if users want to, they can, but additional tools may be needed and Tweaks is the most prominent one.

(This tool is needed if you want to disable animation, customize multiple themes, change fonts, work around window borders, and anything about makeups)

4. Extensibility

Extensibility: talking beyond defaults, Ubuntu now supports extensions to  desktop 'makeups' and its functionalities. The most excellent example is that you can couple between desktop and phone -- this magic is called GSConnect -- and continuously monitor your download upload numbers -- using Netspeed -- among other awesome examples.

(Android phone seamlessly integrated to Ubuntu computer - a Xiaomi Redmi to receive picture files sent from my Focal Fossa laptop over wifi - notice also the download upload counter atop)

5. Detailed Information

Last but not least, here is more detailed info about Focal's internals.
  • Kernel version: 5.4.0
  • GNU versions: bash 5.0, coreutils 8.30, libc 2.31, gdb 9.1, grep 3.4, gpg 2.2.19, gzip 6.7.0, tar 1.7, sed 1.30, wget 1.20.3
  • Programming versions: python3, perl5, bash
  • Package manager: dpkg, apt, Ubuntu Software, software-properties-gtk, packagekit, snapd, unattended-upgrades
  • Security: gpg, openssh-client 8.2, openssl 1.1.1, libgnutls 3.6.13
  • Index of contents: manifest file
  • Package search: focal

to be continued...

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.