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If you're a Linux enthusiast you probably noticed what a great month we've had. Slackware 11.0 was released on the 3rd. Mandriva 2007 was released the same day and showed us how integrated XGL, Compiz and AIGLX could be. Fedora Core 6 was released on the 24th and brought us an amazing Gnome 2.16 desktop with fabulous artwork. Ubuntu 6.10 came on the 26th and we couldn't wait to review it.

Ubuntu is by far the most popular Linux distribution. Since its foundation it attracted a lot of users and became for most of us the number one choice on the desktop. When Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake was released, the distribution addressed the needs of companies and made available a LAMP solution with long term support. With each release came innovation, and not only did Ubuntu confirmed its advance over other distributions but it impressed us in many ways with new features and new ways of doing things.

This release is Ubuntu 6.10 (the version number means October 2006) and it's called "Edgy Eft". As always, it comes with a lot of impressive new features: The brand new Firefox 2.0, new artwork, and a replacement for init called "Upstart".

E-Day: Edgy-Day

The release of Edgy Eft went fine. The schedule was respected and the mirrors and web sites were updated shortly after the release was announced. Kubuntu was released at the same time and everything seemed to have gone clockwork. Compared to the release of Fedora Core 6, this one looked a bit more relaxed.

As usual, Ubuntu is available in 3 versions:

  • the Desktop CD, which is a Live CD with a graphical installer and the recommended way to install Ubuntu;
  • the Alternate Install CD, which gives system administrators a traditional way of installing the Linux distribution by booting on the CD and going through a text-based installer;
  • the Server Install CD, which is an Alternate Install CD of Ubuntu customized for Server installations (it provides extra packages for an integrated LAMP solution).

All versions fit on a single CD, they are available as ISO, torrent and Jigdo files and they can be downloaded from here: http://www.ubuntu.com/download

Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop. If you prefer KDE, you can choose to download Kubuntu from here: http://www.kubuntu.org/download.php

For the purpose of this review I was only interested in the Gnome desktop version, so I downloaded the Desktop CD of Ubuntu. I found the mirrors to be quite fast, and as there was only one CD to download I was ready to boot on it in a matter of minutes. For people who do not have fast Internet access Ubuntu has a program called Shipit which delivers the distribution CDs to your door, anywhere in the World, for free! Unfortunately Shipit will not be delivering Edgy Eft, but Dapper Drake. I'm sure a few people will be sad to hear that but I have no doubt they'll be able to find the Edgy CD within the next publication of their favorite Linux magazine.

Launching the Live CD and installing Ubuntu

If you've checked the MD5 sums before burning the ISO file on CD and used the "Check CD for defect" and "Memory Test" features provided by the CD itself you're not likely to run into problems. Some people, depending on their hardware configuration can require special boot arguments for ACPI or for their graphic cards. The Live CD provides all the necessary options for them.

When you're ready to boot on the Live CD, it automatically logs you in a Gnome environment. As usual I tried not to look at it too much and I went straight for the graphical installer which sits on the desktop. The Live CD gives you more or less the same system as the one you get on your hard drive once it's installed, only slower since it's running from the CD. As I'm also interested in performance and speed I prefer to review the installed system itself.

The installer seems to have evolved a bit since the last release. It is still very easy to use and convivial, but the installation time is a bit longer than before. It took me 27 minutes to install Ubuntu. If you haven't looked at the "Examples" folder that sits on the desktop, the videos and documents will keep you busy while the files get copied on your machine. Anyhow, thanks to the Live CD, you're already in a Linux system before it's installed, so you can take your time and browse the Internet in the meantime.

Once the installation is finished you can reboot and enjoy Ubuntu 6.10. There is no "first boot" wizard; all the questions are asked before the installation.

Inside Ubuntu 6.10


The boot splash and the GDM screen have been improved and they look much better.

On the desktop itself Gnome uses the "Human" theme by default. I can't see much difference with the theme used in the last release, but Dapper already looked great. As a consequence, Edgy looks very good two. The widgets are superb, the window borders were rounded, the color scheme is nice and if you've got something against brown or orange desktops, you'll be happy to know that Ubuntu includes alternative themes such as "Industrial Tango" which are installed by default.

The sound theme was changed a bit. You can hear some kind of African dance when you log in and a brief vocal sound when you log out. Both are nice and not overwhelming.

The default wallpaper is called "Simple Ubuntu". It looks nice but it's a bit too dull in my opinion, especially if you compare it to the nice work made by the Fedora artwork team on their new "DNA" wallpaper. Only 2 other alternative wallpapers are installed as well: "Dawn of Ubuntu" which was present in Dapper and "Smooth Chocolate" which adds a bit of depth to the desktop but is not impressive either.

The Default Ubuntu 6.10 Desktop

Overall, Ubuntu still has one of the best artwork among Linux distributions (although I prefer the ones made by SUSE and Fedora), a few changes make this release look a bit better than the previous one, but there are no real major improvements.


Ubuntu 6.10 comes with Gnome 2.16, which by itself represents a nice desktop environment. Nothing much was added to it though. There are no shortcuts on the desktop. The "Computer" place doesn't show the network but only the devices and the filesystem. The menus are well organized and the menu items use customized icons which make Gnome blend in the "Human" Ubuntu theme.

The "Computer" and "Network" places and Nautilus showing the Home directory (to which I added a few folders)

The Home directory doesn't contain anything but the traditional "Desktop" and the "Examples" folder present in the Live CD.

3D Effects

This is probably my biggest disappointment: there are no 3D effects in Ubuntu 6.10. Of course, if you have a look on the Internet, you'll see that installing and setting them up for Edgy Eft is not hard at all, but considering how much attention 3D effects are catching at the moment and the efforts made by other distributions to integrate them by default, this seems like a slap in the face. Were they considered trivial and uninteresting? Why were they not on the agenda?

Ubuntu is without a doubt one of the distributions which attracts a lot of people to Linux. I've been evangelizing a lot for Linux and I can tell for sure that 3D effects are easier to sell than the greatness of package managers, file permissions or even open-source. When people see those wobbly windows and the 3D cube, they definitely get impressed. They often ask something like "is this going to be in Windows Vista?", which you can reply to with a smile "oh no... But it's going to be in every Linux distribution"... well apart from Ubuntu, unfortunately.

Novice users want things to work out of the box. MEPIS understood that when they decided to install multimedia support for dirty formats. Other distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu excluded that support, but there was a reason for it and that reason was clearly explained. While Mandriva 2007 made a lot of efforts to make 3D effects easy for people to use, Fedora "forgot" to include a configuration tool for them and Ubuntu 6.10 simply didn't care about it at all.

In my opinion, this is very disappointing.

Default Selection of Software

Edgy Eft comes with more or less the same set of applications as its predecessor:

  • OpenOffice 2.0.2 was upgraded to version 2.0.4
  • Firefox was upgraded to version 2.0
  • Evolution 2.6.1 was upgraded to version 2.8.0
  • Ekiga 2.01 was upgraded to version 2.0.3
  • Gaim 1.5.1 was upgraded to version 2.0.0 beta 3.1
  • The Gimp 2.2.11 was upgraded to version 2.2.13

I am particularly happy to see these versions of OpenOffice and Firefox. They both add valuable features. Compared to 2.0.2, OpenOffice 2.0.4 comes with a dictionary and a spell checker which are installed by default. Firefox 2.0 offers major improvements over and considering how recent its release was, it's a great thing to see it included in Ubuntu 6.10. In the Release Notes for Edgy, it is said that Firefox's theme "Tangerine" looks great and matches the "Human" theme used by Ubuntu so I was a bit disappointed not to see it installed. This is only a detail however.

The brand new Firefox 2.0

A few new applications made their way into the distribution. The most noticeable is F-Spot 0.2.1 which is not only a great tool to manage your pictures but allows you to easily upload them to websites such as Flickr or Picasaweb. You can also use F-Spot as you screensaver and define which kind of photos get shown in it by assigning tags to them and defining which tag is used by the screensaver.

F-Spot 0.2.1

Within the applets you will find the popular Tomboy Notes. The kernel used in this release is 2.6.17 and as it was the case in the previous release, Ubuntu still doesn't include any MTA for sending your emails directly from your machine or any dedicated IRC client other than Gaim for easily accessing one of the best support tools there is: The Freenode #ubuntu channel.

Package Manager

Ubuntu uses the APT package manager. Aptitude is installed by default and represents a great solution if you're used to working with the command line. Synaptic is there as well as a graphical frontend.

I don't really know where to start or how to say that. There are a lot of distributions out there and a lot of different package managers. In my opinion APT is by far the best of all.

Synaptic 0.57.8 is installed and it's better than ever. It's fast, intuitive, easy to setup, stable and full of handy features. I can't help but to think about the poor quality of Pirut (Fedora Core's solution) in comparison. Synaptic's preference and settings options for instance let you add extra repositories, support for backports, proxy settings, and even priorities. It already knows the addresses of the Ubuntu repositories and their mirrors around the world, so all you have to do is to select your country from a combo box and tick a few checkboxes to add the Universe and Multiverse repositories. In fact, you probably won't even go to /etc/apt anymore, as nearly every aspect of APT is configurable through Synaptic!

Synaptic makes it very easy to configure your repositories...

Ubuntu also comes with a software catalog which you can access from the Applications->Add/Remove... menu item. As long as you're only browsing, you can use Synaptic and the catalog while being offline and you can even use them at the same time. The catalog represents an easy way for novice users to add software without knowing the name of the corresponding packages. For instance you can add MP3 support by simply searching for "mp3" in the catalog and clicking on "GStreamer extra plugins Codecs to play mp3, sid, mpeg1, mpeg2, AC-3, DVD (without encryption)".

The Software Catalog - Add or Remove applications without even knowing what a package manager is.


By default Ubuntu won't play your multimedia files if they are encoded in an ugly format. The reason for that is explained on their website and you'll find a lot of information on how to add support for these formats by browsing the "Restricted Formats" page of the Ubuntu Wiki.Networking

Gnome 2.16 provides a lot of tools to connect to remote servers, so you'll have no problems browsing networks, Windows shared folders, or connecting to remote FTP servers. There are no graphical tools for accessing Bluetooth devices but hcitool is installed by default so you can do that from the command line.

I found the applet and configuration tool for the network better in Mandriva 2007. Having said that, they work fine in Ubuntu. If you don't switch between networks or interfaces, you'll probably be happy with them.

Hardware Recognition

As with the previous release I was satisfied with Ubuntu's hardware recognition. Most of my hardware was properly configured. On my Sony Vaio T2XP laptop the IPW2200 WIFI card was detected and set up automatically, the display didn't manage to use its normal 1280x768 resolution but installing i915resolution from the repositories and restarting X fixed the problem, and everything else worked fine. Well, the Sony Memory Stick reader and the hardware laptop buttons didn't... but they never did, on any distribution, so I won't blame Ubuntu for that :)

I still have a problem with ACPI when it comes to suspend/resume. I had the same issue with Fedora Core 6 though so it's probably related to Gnome 2.16.


I remember that I was impressed with the speed in Dapper. Here is a quote from my review of the previous Ubuntu release: "It took me 53 seconds from the BIOS to GDM, 12 seconds for Gnome to be fully operational and 22 seconds to shutdown the computer". As usual I timed the boot and shutdown process. With Edgy Eft on the same machine, it takes me 35 seconds from the BIOS to GDM, 15 seconds for Gnome to be fully operational and 17 seconds to shutdown the computer. Needless to say this is a huge improvement! I can now start my system in less than a minute. I probably have to thank the newly developed "upstart" which came as a replacement of the init process in this release. Ubuntu have announced they would be making further improvements to the startup scripts in order to take full advantage of upstart in the future, so we can expect the next release of the distribution to boot even faster! To be honest, I'm already impressed!

The rest of the system, the desktop and the applications are fast and responsive.


Dapper Drake was a huge step forward since Breezy Badger. Edgy Eft doesn't impress as much but still brings its lot of innovations and improvements over its predecessor; its artwork is a tiny bit better, its software selection is more up to date, its package manager is better than ever and its new upstart makes it really fast to boot. Of course it doesn't have the desktop and the artwork of Fedora Core 6, or the integrated 3D effects of Mandriva 2007, but it's still in my opinion the best Linux distribution there is and as with every single one of its releases, it just proved it once more.

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Comments about this article
Wobble woes
writen by: Pas on 2006-11-01 16:53:08
The cube is of some use but seriously who is impressed by the cheesy wobbly windows? That is something a distro is supposed to pin its hopes on? I'm glad Unbuntu is waiting until there are better uses for XGL before packing it with the distro. (Also, frankly there have been plug ins to do wobby windows in XP for years. )
RE: Wobble woes written by Pas:
Why 3D is missing from K/Ubuntu
writen by: Scott Reimert on 2006-11-01 17:48:46
One excellent reason for K/Ubuntu to skip 3D is the fact that Compiz/Beryl/XGL/AIGL is simply "not cooked yet". Read through the various support sites and it becomes obvious that installing 3D effects is fraught with peril. For example, I have a "supported" ATI card and after reading numerous HOWTOs, never did get it to work. Building it into a distribution that is expected to run on a vast variety of hardware would be nothing less than foolhardy. When 3D (Compiz, etc.) is a more mature, I'm sure we'll see it in K/Ubuntu.
RE: Why 3D is missing from K/Ubuntu written by Scott Reimert:
F-Spot image missed
writen by: Sewar on 2006-11-01 23:54:32
It looks you missed F-Spot photo and put Firefox photo instead of it.
RE: F-Spot image missed written by Sewar:
Firefox menu fonts
writen by: Guido on 2006-11-02 02:33:54
I don't understand why Firefox font are different from the default one. I have the same problem with a fresh installation of edgy.
RE: Firefox menu fonts written by Guido:
writen by: Guido on 2006-11-02 02:43:31
RE: Explanation written by Guido:
Font issues
writen by: Watcha on 2006-11-02 04:59:11
RE: Font issues written by Watcha:
The boot speed improvements aren't becau
writen by: Alex Smith on 2006-11-02 14:37:38
Yes, the boot speed has improved, but this is due to other things - currently Upstart is simply running the old startup scripts, so there would be no difference whatsoever if you were to reinstall sysvinit and boot the system
RE: The boot speed improvements aren't becau written by Alex Smith:
Fair review
writen by: Frank Russo on 2006-11-03 06:30:27
I did the same installation after the release and there are my "cons". Keep in mind that this is only my complaints, and that all the things I like about this Distro are not mentioned. 1: Multimedia: Nobody likes Totem. While I like the fact that it uses gstreamer as a backend, it doesn't hold a candle to Mplayer. Mplayer and its associated "restricted" formats were one of my first post-deployment tasks. Rhythmbox is a memory hog and slow to start up on moderate sized music collections. For 50K songs, it takes me a full 5 mins to start and consumes >200MB of system memory. I also noticed that the Musepack gstreamer codec is not installed as a default (I think it's BSD licensed) 2: Display: The default font handling is next to worthless. The default installation did not properly detect my Dell 2407. Even after installing the 'nvidia' driver, I still had to add modelines for "every" resolution. 3: The UUID fstab docs are hard to track down (community support pages, wiki, docs on Ubuntu site, etc). I suppose this will be corrected shortly. Did I mention that Rhythmbox takes 5 minutes to start with a 50K song collection? Otherwise, a great release. One of the best Distros out there. Thank you for your time, Frank Russo
RE: Fair review written by Frank Russo:
3D effects and battery life
writen by: Shamar on 2006-11-03 07:01:04
I guess - with no further measures - that activating 3D effects will short my battery life, so I don't think is big deal in the end so many visual details.
RE: 3D effects and battery life written by Shamar:
writen by: bobo on 2006-11-03 13:59:55
RE: Init written by bobo:
re:firefox fonts, btw terminal too
writen by: aldin on 2006-11-04 02:47:12
RE: re:firefox fonts, btw terminal too written by aldin:
Upstart ?
writen by: Chewi on 2006-11-04 16:55:08
My latest information was, that upstart should not be activated by default. You first have to install the init-replacement-packets for it to be used... Am I wrong ?
RE: Upstart ? written by Chewi:
writen by: chell on 2006-11-05 04:25:10
RE: Upstart written by chell:
The one to beat
writen by: G Fahey on 2006-11-05 18:27:21
RE: The one to beat written by G Fahey:
Network browsing
writen by: doods on 2006-11-13 04:41:57
i have observed on network browsing..some computer icons are turning like a file icons then you can't access it..by refreshing, others will turn to computer icons and some with a file icon..you can only access computer that has a computer icon.. is this a bug??
RE: Network browsing written by doods:
Same here
writen by: AOSandman on 2006-11-26 11:43:09
RE: Same here written by AOSandman:
Pure Debian
writen by: coolblue on 2006-12-01 11:38:30
First, let me say that I've tried Ubuntu - including the 6.10 reviewed here - a few times, and I have to say I cannot see what all the fuss seems to be about. I've used Debian for years on various servers, and my personal choice for workstation/pc still is straightforward Debian, sans bloated desktop - that is, with a simple WM such as FVWM. Sure, many folks seem to like KDE, Gnome - but I for one do not like them. All those icons... Just seems unnecessary and overhyped, especially when (1) with FVWM you can just use Fn keys (and even alt-keypad and ctrl-keypad) to exec programs rather than go to the trouble of icon/mouse/click, and (2) you can use an alias in bashrc of just a few letters (via an xterm) to start other programs. It seems to be going along with (dare I say imitating?) windoze philosophy of styling, clutter, slick images - now even 3D fads - and using more and resources just for unnecessary window dressing. Without Debian, they'd be no Ubuntu in its various forms and pure plain Debian is IMO much better.
RE: Pure Debian written by coolblue:
Right but...
writen by: le_mulot on 2006-12-03 12:43:40
RE: Right but... written by le_mulot:
First Time Linux User
writen by: David on 2006-12-06 00:14:38
Just finished installing Ubuntu 6.10 Desktop on my old Pentium III computer. If you want to attract more people you have to give people the ease installation and a MS Windows type of interface. I have been putting together comptuers and programing database apps since the DOS days. Then it was a real chore to intall a hard disk and operating system. After DOS was installed you had to install a driver to get a CD Drive working so you could install Windows from a CD. Finally Microsoft worked with Intel to get to the point where all you needed to do was connect the hard drive, connect the CD drive, put in the Windows CD and reboot the computer. The Windows CD now formats the hard drive, install the operating system and the computer is operational. It is nice to see that Ubuntu is following Microsofts lead and makeing Linux useable for the rest of us.
RE: First Time Linux User written by David:
Ubuntu 6.10 Review
writen by: bobbyblues on 2006-12-11 19:32:50
RE: Ubuntu 6.10 Review written by bobbyblues:
writen by: Paul on 2006-12-19 10:10:42
I have noticed the same problem only in 6.10. 6.06 worked fine in this respect.
RE: Mr written by Paul:
I agree
writen by: Gaz on 2007-01-13 04:49:53
I always liked the fact the the Ubuntu team only ever seem to include software they know to be stable. I too had some (minor) problems with 3D desktop effects, they worked just fine but some applications (especially media players playing video) screw up unless you turn off the 3D effects. So yes, lets wait until it's 'cooked' before bundling it into what I consider to be the best Linux distro in the world.
RE: I agree written by Gaz:
writen by: The_Riddler on 2007-01-23 21:11:37
RE: WAKE UP written by The_Riddler:
Problems with Firefox after the installa
writen by: Bill41 on 2007-02-07 13:41:24
Yes, Ubuntu 6.10 is very straightforward to install, but I am having all sorts of difficulties getting my internet connection to work with Firefox. I'm using a ADSL modem/router which seems to be working OK and I have followed the Ubuntu instructions for setting up the network. But all attempts to log on to a website end in an error message, "the connection has timed out. The server at (URL) is taking too long to respond." I'm as green as grass when it comes to Linux, so this problem is not increasing my love for Ubuntu.
RE: Problems with Firefox after the installa written by Bill41:
writen by: Futniture on 2007-02-19 15:50:00
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RE: Furniture written by Futniture:
writen by: obobtu on 2007-03-09 16:22:33
What is the difference between the LIve CD and a CD with the ISO image burned into it? I have a CD with the ISO image, but I am not so sure about installing Linux with it. Is the Live CD easier to install? Is it worth the $7?
RE: installing written by obobtu:
writen by: ravi on 2007-03-19 05:48:22
RE: Live!!! written by ravi:
First Time Linux User
writen by: Linda Miskimen on 2007-03-19 18:24:39
RE: First Time Linux User written by Linda Miskimen:
Consumer Friendly
writen by: MoJo on 2007-04-24 19:49:05
Of course, all of you people seem to know what you're talking about but let me point out something you probably havent considered. Linux as an alternate OS is just not an option for most of the Microsoft cursed masses. For several years now I have wanted to use Linux and just toss Windows where it always belonged, the trash can. I have tried several versions and almost all of the live CD's and have been quite impressed with most of them. The problem is that for the masses to really make the switch and blow Microshaft to hell and back, they need a more familiar GUI similar to the basic Windows interface. I for one haven't made the switch simply because I find a lot of the releases to be too alien in comparison with MS offerings. Go ahead and say MS sux, won't bother me a bit since I agree. For those of you who have been in Linux since the first distro, good for you. Admit it or not, If you don't make a copy of linux which is so similar to Winblows that the user feels completely at ease then you won't have as many users of this fine OS as we would all like to have. Bottom line, I think a lot of us would just like to see MS bite the dust big time and never hear from them again. I say this as a novice user of Linux, and after 5 years of waiting and hoping for a more user friendly Linux, I finally discover Ubuntu. Not just any old Linux, but a full MCE edition which I have already been able to compare to Vista. The Ubuntu 6.1 package can be used with Linux MCE. For the first time ever I have actually seen Linux beat MS hands down where it matters most to us Linux challenged masses. The GUI and Multimedia functions are so far off the grid that I immediately installed this new OS and have been using it for 3 days straight. I haven't slept much, since this is the most fun I've had with an os since Dos 6.2. I play with my ubuntu, download these cool installs with this amazingly easy add/remove thingy and just keep adding new stuff whenever I happen to wake up. So far this answer to my fondest prayers and dreams named Ubuntu has exceeded anything I ever expected to see from Linux in the near future. I played a Quake3 type FPS and an Unreal2k3 clone with ease. The new Nvidia driver which was listed on the add/remove panel as well, made this OS move even faster than it did right after install. The office applications also rock and since im already a fan of open office, the fact that it is a standard part of the package really made me feel at home. BUT lets get serious about how cool it really is. I just paid a bucket of cash for a Quikbooks install and decided to try the program made for linux which is similar and my secretary came to test is out and said, I like this one better. So now the main PC and my personal PC are both running ubuntu. I can finally say with confidence that there is a great alternative to Windows and its BETTER! For you people who are used to text input and some of that other wierd stuff you have to do with Linux that you dont have to do to Ms products none of this may impress you much. But for those of us who read your posts about opening up a terminal and typing whatever the heck it is you have to type and ending up confused, we are definitely not impressed to switch. What we non Linux educated people who are cursed with Microsoft want is a Cd we can pop in the CD-Drive and install with a minimum of hassle, Ubuntu and many other Linux installs solve that problem but many aren't as user friendly as XP. Where a lot of others fail to deliver, is on the start or applications button. Now as a user of both MS products and Apple products I am impressed beyond measure. Your Ubuntu Desktop works sort of like a combination of both GUI types and combines the ease of use of both types of operating systems. Any user of either the Apple, or PC type will feel right at home with Ubuntu. What drew me to this new Linux distribution? I had just finished installing a quite pricey copy of Vista and was so frustrated at the sheer lameness of it and the incompatibility issues that I had just about decided to toss in the towel and go to sleep for a week or two. While cruising the net, looking for Vista cures and MCE alternatives I stumbled on this webpage about a Linux MCE OS. I watched the video and started downloading right away. What really amazed me is that I had 0 problems with hardware compatibility. With XP I had loads of problems until I inserted my Driver CD and expected the same from Linux. Even then XP had problems with my Via onboard Ethernet drivers. Now I can say for the first time ever, Ubuntu makes me giggle when I boot up and XP depresses me. Yes I still have XP on the main Hard Drive since I need it to play my MMORPG games and I still haven't been able to figure out how wine works. But considering all those little hassles, I feel confident now that I can safely put Microsoft back in the box.
RE: Consumer Friendly written by MoJo:
writen by: John isaacson on 2007-04-28 22:46:41
RE: AT-HOME-TECH written by John isaacson:
Can't you just upgrade using synaptic
writen by: Ragnar on 2008-03-30 17:15:18
The review tals about installing. But is there a way to upgrade using Synaptic ??
RE: Can't you just upgrade using synaptic written by Ragnar:
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RE: Important Notice: wow powerleveling written by 235466EDER:

Comment title: * please do not put your response text here