Ubuntu 10.04, which will appear next April 2010 as Canonical’s long-anticipated third LTS (Long Term Support) release, will feature substantial changes in the lineup of applications installed by default. Here’s a look at the biggest ones, with some thoughts.
Judging by the controversy over the replacement of Pidgin with Empathy, many Ubuntu users do not take kindly to decisions to modify the application stack in a default installation. Even when the change arguably does not compromise important features and despite the fact that 35,000 applications are always just an “apt-get install” away–for those who have the bandwidth, at least–change tends to spawn a lot of ire.
That’s why the revisions in the works for Ubuntu 10.04, listed below, are likely to be a topic of passionate debate.
One of the biggest changes planned is the removal of the GIMP image editor from the default install, on the grounds that it takes up a lot of space and provides functionality that the average user doesn’t need.
Personally, I won’t miss the GIMP much. It’s an extremely powerful tool for those interested in heavy-duty image manipulation. But most people, whose editing needs center around getting the red eye out of their photos, have little need for it.
Moreover, it’s one of the more unfortunately named applications of the free-software world that Ubuntu would do well to disassociate itself from.
Update: although there had initially been discussion of removing F-Spot for Lucid, the developers ultimately decided to keep it. Thanks to Darcy for pointing this out in comments below.
The F-Spot photo manager is also slated for removal, which is long overdue, in my opinion. Written in Mono, the application isn’t doing anything to help resolve the legal and philosophical dilemmas plaguing the Ubuntu community. It also has a habit of failing to detect my camera, and organizes photo collections in a way that makes them difficult to export to other applications or folders.
In addition, like GIMP, F-Spot suffers from a poor name. Beyond not making sense to most people, “F-Spot” is just one letter away from another kind of spot that we can’t discuss on a family-friendly blog.
With all these downsides, the replacement of F-Spot by a more functional, better named, Mono-free application like gThumb will be a welcome change.