Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) Review: Solid, stable and could have been the LTS release as well

I guess this is my first review after a gap of a couple of months. Actually I was busy with interesting developments in my professional career and right now, more busy with packing my and my family's stuff. We are shifting our base to Chicago, IL from Bangalore, India. Hence, I didn't find adequate time to actually pen down a review. Further, my Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon is running absolutely stable to the point of boredom that I didn't feel to try out any other distro. Even practically I gave Debian 8 and Ubuntu 15.04 release nearly a miss. I guess this will continue till end of month May. I am hoping in June I'll be able to get back to my schedule of 2-3 reviews a month.

Anyway, back to the review. I downloaded the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 15.04 ISO, about 1.1 GB in size. The release note from Distrowatch mentions the following changes:
The new release, which will be supported for nine months, features LibreOffice 4.4, version 3.19 of the Linux kernel and a switch from Canonical's Upstart init to systemd. "systemd has replaced Upstart as the standard boot and service manager on all Ubuntu flavors except Touch. At the time of the 15.04 release there are no known major problems which prevent booting. The only service which does not currently start is Juju, which will be fixed in a post-release update soon; all other packaged Ubuntu services are expected to work. Upstart continues to control user sessions... You can boot with Upstart once by selecting `Advanced options for Ubuntu' in the GRUB boot menu and starting the `Ubuntu, with Linux ... (upstart)' entry. To switch back permanently, install the upstart-sysv package (this will remove systemd-sysv and ubuntu-standard)."

From Ubuntu 15.04
I used Linux Mint Image Writer to create a Live USB on a 4 GB USB drive and booted it up on my Asus K55VM laptop.

Hardware Used
Asus K55VM Windows 7 laptop with 2.3 Ghz 3rd Gen. Core i7 3610QM processor with 8 cores, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 1366x768 resolution, 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card. I installed Ubuntu on a 55 GB partition.

From Ubuntu 15.04
Ubuntu 15.04 has a similar installation as the previous Ubuntu releases and should not challenge even Linux novice. The step by step installation process is intuitive and hardly takes 10 minutes to get the system running.

From Ubuntu 15.04
Score for Installation: 10/10

Hardware Recognition
Ubuntu Vivid has top notch hardware recognition and it was able to recognize my laptop's screen resolution, touch pad, wifi, sound card accurately. Everything worked as expected and I go with 100% score for hardware recognition.

My laptop has Nvidia graphics and now Bumblebee, bbswitch, dkms, etc. are all available in the official repositories. No need to add any external repository, which is good news. I followed the approach listed by Osgyan here. And it worked for me.

Score for Hardware Recognition: 10/10

Unity 7.3.2 in Ubuntu Vivid is pretty similar in look and feel to the Unity 7.2 shipped with Ubuntu Trusty. The interface is original and attractive. The base of this distro is Gnome 3.14.

From Ubuntu 15.04
Ubuntu Vivid has some new attractive wallpapers. The icons look slightly bigger to my taste and I reduced it from Launcher icon size at the bottom of the Background window.

From Ubuntu 15.04
If you want to auto-hide launcher, you can change it from All Settings -> Appearance -> Behavior. It also has other controls for workspaces, desktop icons and showing menu for a window in the Window's title bar. I prefer menu on the title bar instead of menu bar.
From Ubuntu 15.04

The dash looks as elegant as before and not much changes from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. The dash lenses are pretty same: Application, Files, Music, Photo, Video and Social Network messages. Web apps are there to directly access sites from Unity strip. Previously they used to open in Firefox but now the open in Ubuntu web browser. Ubuntu Browsers interface has improved and presents a more refined look.
From Ubuntu 15.04

As usual, special effects are subtle and not distracting. Boot splash is completely graphical and looks professional. Font rendering is superb, as usual. Also, I installed Unity Tweak Tool to create include some additional functions like autohide the Unity strip while working, include hot corners, etc. It is a pretty handy tool for all Ubuntu users.

The file manager sports a more refined look with flatter icons.

From Ubuntu 15.04
I go with a high score for aesthetics for Ubuntu 15.04 as it bakes in the principle of simplicity, good font rendering, stable desktop environment and of course, originality.

Score for Aesthetics: 10/10

Pre-Installed Packages
Ubuntu normally ships with most of the essential packages for daily use and this release is no exception. Ubuntu Vivid ships with the following packages pre-installed:
  • Office: LibreOffice suite (Calc, Draw, Impress, Match, Writer), Document viewer
  • Internet: Ubuntu Browser, Firefox 37, Desktop Sharing, Empathy IM, Remmina Remote Desktop Client, Thunderbird Mail, Transmission Bittorrent client
  • Graphics: Image viewer, Shotwell photo Manager, Simple Scan, Gnome screenshot
  • Multimedia: Brasero Disc Burner, Cheese Webcam Booth, Rhythmbox Music Player, Videos
  • Accessories: Archive Manager, Backups, Calculator, Contacts, Disks, Files, Passwords and Keys, Font Viewer, Security & Privacy, Gedit text editor, Time and Date, UXTerm, XTerm, Terminal, Startup Disc Creator
Multimedia codecs and Adobe flash plugin gets downloaded during installation and work flawlessly.

Firefox is the default browser and it works very well. It has the basic plugins like Quicktime, Shockwave flash, VLC, iTunes, etc. and extensions like Unity and Ubuntu integration installed.

As mentioned Ubuntu Web Browser is much more user-friendly now with a top panel address bar. The version in Ubuntu Trusty is difficult to use. I like the Ubuntu Web Browser as it is the fastest I have used so far. Websites load incredibly fast on this little lightweight browser. Both flash and HTML 5 videos load well on this browser but I had issues with flash videos.

From Ubuntu 15.04
LibreOffice is is good enough for daily office needs of an average user.

From Ubuntu 15.04
Rest of the things including social network plugins are pretty much the same as before.

From Ubuntu 15.04
Latest stable version characterize the Ubuntu Vivid release. The application list is comprehensive enough to cover daily requirement of a normal home user.

Score for Pre-Installed Packages: 8/10

Ubuntu Vivid repository is the source of packages by default. Packages can be browsed and downloaded using the Ubuntu Software Center. Like Ubuntu Trusty Tahr, even Utopic Vivid has Ubuntu Software Center 13.10. What it means is that now Software Center is fairly stable and there is little or no incremental improvement on it. I could download the latest version of Chromium browser on Ubuntu Vivid.

From Ubuntu 15.04
Unity is one of the heaviest desktop environment I have used and it works fantastic on modern machines with ample RAM and multi-core CPUs. The present release supports a lot more modern machines than the LTS release.

I found in my benchmarking that Ubuntu Vivid consumes slightly lower RAM than Ubuntu Utopic. At steady state, it consumes about 504-510 MB RAM and 0-5% CPU. On the same machine, Ubuntu Trusty recorded about similar RAM.

From Ubuntu 15.04
The boot time is similar to Ubuntu Trusty and Ubuntu Utopic. It takes about 35-37 seconds to boot on my Asus K55VM (doesn't have any SSD and the HDD is 5400 rpm).

From Ubuntu 15.04
From Ubuntu 15.04
If I compare to the other GNOME or GNOME 3 derivatives, Ubuntu 15.04 takes about 20% more RAM but boots up 7% faster. All benchmarks done are on the same machine, Asus K55VM, across 2013-15.

Power consumption is moderate - it is not as efficient as Mint 17.1 but more efficient than Ubuntu 14.10.
From Ubuntu 15.04

GNOME 64-bit Power Usage (Watts)
Mint 17.1 Mate 10.59
Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (3.12) 11.21
Mint 17.1 Cinnamon 11.24
Ubuntu Mate 14.10 11.44
Korora 21 Cinnamon 11.55
Ubuntu 15.04 11.58
Fedora 21 GNOME 11.57
Trisquel GNU/Linux 7.0 11.65
Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (3.14) 11.78

Significantly I didn't note any stability issue during my usage and Ubuntu's new release worked flawlessly. The annoying pop-ups that I now accepted as a part and parcel of using Ubuntu's any new release, is notably absent in Vivid. Pretty neat!

Operating System (64 bit) Release Year Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU (%) RAM usage (MB) Size of installation (GB) Boot time (sec) Power (Watt)
Pardus 2.0 2013 1.7 Debian Testing GNOME 3.8.4 3.10.3 0-5% 278 6.40 52
Mint Debian 201403 Mate 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Mate 1.6.1 3.11.2 0-5% 282 4.40 40
Mint Debian 201403 Cinnamon 2014 1.4 Debian Testing Cinnamon 2.0.14 3.11.2 0-5% 285 4.90 49
Mint 15 Cinnamon 2013 0.9594 Ubuntu Raring Cinnamon 1.8 3.8.0 0-5% 307 5.10 32
Ubuntu Mate 14.10 2014 0.983 Ubuntu Utopic Mate 1.8.1 3.16.0 0-5% 308 4.30 35 11.44
Mint 16 Cinnamon 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Saucy Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 312 4.10 45
Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 2013 0.9878 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.3 3.8.0 0-5% 321 3.90 24
Tanglu 1.0 GNOME 2014 0.973 Debian Testing GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.1 0-5% 321 4.00 44
Mint 15 Mate 2013 1.0 Ubuntu Raring Mate 1.6.0 3.8.0 0-5% 325 4.50 30
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.4 3.11.0 0-5% 335 4.10 27
Mint 17 Ciinamon 2014 1.3 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.2.13 3.13.0 0-5% 345 4.50 44
Mint 17.1 Mate 2014 1.557 Ubuntu Trusty Mate 1.8.1 3.13.0 0-5% 349 5.30 30 10.59
Mint 16 Mate 2013 1.4 Ubuntu Saucy Mate 1.6.0 3.11.0 0-5% 355 4.50 31
Siduction 13.2.0 GNOME 2013 1.0 Debian Unstable GNOME 3.8.4 3.12.0 0-5% 357 3.50 53
Linux Deepin 2013 2013 1.3 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.8.1 (DDE) 3.8.0 0-5% 358 4.70 33
Mint 17.1 Cinnamon 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty Cinnamon 2.4 3.13.0 0-5% 362 4.90 46 11.24
Zorin OS 7 2013 1.7 Ubuntu Raring GNOME 3.6.2 3.8.0 0-5% 364 5.60 28
Trisquel GNU/Linux 7.0 2014 1.5 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12 3.13.0 0-5% 370 4.60 26 11.65
Ubuntu 12.04.3 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise Unity 5.20.0 3.8.0 0-5% 370 3.00 39
Antergos 2013.11.17 2013 0.8 Arch GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.4 0-5% 376 4.10 43
Ubuntu 13.04 2013 0.8 Ubuntu Raring Unity 7.0.0 3.8.0 0-5% 377 4.00 26
Deepin 2014 2014 1.2 Ubuntu Trusty Deepin 2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 400 4.50 27
Ubuntu GNOME 14.O4 LTS 2014 0.9 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.10.0 3.13.0 0-5% 416 4.50 33
Gajj 0.1 Cinnamon 2014 3.7 Ubuntu Precise Cinnamon 2.0 3.11.0 0-5% 419 9.20 75
Fedora 20 GNOME 2013 1.0 Fedora GNOME 3.8.2 3.9.5 0-10% 433 4.00 34
Elementary OS 0.2 2013 0.7 Ubuntu Precise GNOME 3.6.3 3.2.0 0-5% 440 3.10 22
Zorin OS 8 Gaming 2014 4.0 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.9.90 3.11.0 0-5% 440 9.20 31
Zorin OS 8 2014 1.6 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.8.2 3.11.0 0-5% 445 5.60 31
Zorin OS 9 2014 1.4 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.10.4 3.13.0 0-5% 460 5.00 30
Ubuntu 13.10 2013 0.9 Ubuntu Saucy Unity 7.1.2 3.11.0 0-5% 466 4.40 30
ExTix 14 2013 1.5 Ubuntu Saucy GNOME 3.10.1 3.12.0 0-5% 468 4.80 33
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Trusty Unity 7.2.0 3.13.0 0-5% 486 4.20 31
Pinguy OS 14.04 2014 2.3 Ubuntu Trusty GNOME 3.12.2 3.13.0 0-5% 500 7.00 54
Ubuntu 15.04 2015 1.1 Ubuntu Vivid Unity 7.3.2 3.19.0 0-5% 504 4.60 37 11.58
Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 2014 1.0 Ubuntu Utopic GNOME 3.12 3.16.0 0-5% 515 4.80 39 11.21
Korora 21 Cinnamon 2015 1.8 Fedora Cinnamon 2.4 3.18.6 0-5% 517 5.90 32 11.55
OpenSUSE 13.1 GNOME 2013 4.4 OpenSUSE GNOME 3.10.1 3.11.6 0-5% 531 4.90 37
Ubuntu 14.10 2014 1.1 Ubuntu Utopic Unity 7.3.1 3.16.0 0-5% 599 4.60 33 12.06
Fedora 21 GNOME 2014 1.4 Fedora GNOME 3.14 3.17.7 0-5% 654 5.40 36 11.57

Score for Performance: 9/10

After using Ubuntu Vivid over a week, I didn't actually feel I am using a new release. The improvements are very subtle and under-the-hood. You won't even notice majority of them. However, I am not disappointed. Ubuntu developers are putting in a lot of effort on Mir and Systemd to integrate it with the Ubuntu mobile interface. The present release is perhaps a silence before the storm actually begins. I am eagerly waiting for the storm. Till that time, I prefer sticking to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with support till April 2019 rather than switching to a new release with 9 months of support.

By every means, Ubuntu 15.04 is a great release but unfortunately it is too similar to the LTS release. It gets a very good score from my side but still not recommended for upgrade if Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is working good for you.

Those who are interested can try out the Ubuntu 15.04 32 and 64 bit versions from the here.

Parameter Weights (%) Score
Installation 20 10.0
Aesthetics 20 10.0
Hardware Recognition 20 10.0
Pre-installed Packages 10 8.0
Performance 30 9.0
Overall 100 9.5


  1. As always you did an awesome review! Thank you!

    Are you planing to review the Kubuntu 15.04 release with new Plasma? I am curious to see your impression for work environment :)


    1. Hi Sebastian, thanks for liking my review on Ubuntu 15.05. Yes, this weekend I plan to review Kubuntu 15.04. I am right now using it for all purposes and it is good, I must say.

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  2. Nice review. Why did you install bumblebee and not just prime?
    Did you try multi monitor?

    1. Thanks for liking my review. Yes, for gdm I prefer bumblebee. Otherwise, I have to install light dm for Nvidia proprietary drivers; somehow they don't work with Ubuntu in my system.

      I tried dual monitor and it works fine with Ubuntu 15.04.

  3. In the last couple of weeks I've checked out a few of the latest distributions, this one included. In the end it's still openSUSE Gnome Tumbleweed for me, which I've been running since early November and have yet to find anything else that I prefer. Would love to see a review of it.

  4. Hey Arindam, great review as always!

    I just have the one thing to ask. I am currently using the Ubuntu MATE 14.04.2 LTS and i would like to know how to make the panel transparent on the Mate DE as you have done in your Ubuntu MATE 14.10 review. I've tried googling this but it was in vain.

  5. Great review! One thing I noticed reading this blog was that you compare distros 2013-present, which is quite a long time especially for Linux distros. Maybe you should compare distros from the past 6 months or so?

    Any tips for improving my own blog ( Thanks!

    1. That's a good point. I'll try to limit within last 6 to 12 months in future.

  6. how can I measure power usage on my machine? is there an app or command line ?

  7. Can you please review Solus ?

  8. Thanks for your review and it is a good guide also. I have installed Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) and tried to connect my Nokia Lumia 520 but could not succeed in my efforts. I have searched a lot but could not find any viable solutions. Can you suggest me any idea? -Thanks -Arun

    1. Unfortunately Nokia doesn't work for me as well. But android and iTunes work without any issue.

  9. Friend please try Deepin 2014.3 end , it would be interesting to know how your analysis :)

    Amigo a por favor pruebe Deepin 2014.3 final, seria de interés saber como va su análisis :)

    1. I had tried that distro already. It's a polished and elegant one. It's based on Ubuntu 14.04. It's included CrossOver app which allows you to install and use MS Office easily as a native app - in my point of view, it's better than Wine or PlayOn linux to running Windows apps in Linux.

  10. Hi Arindam,
    Please Review Netrunner 16. Right now Iam using it. But it will be useful for all people if you review Netrunner 16.(Known Bugs: a) System Hangs sometimes, b)Google Chrome & Chromium crashes/Hangs sometimes)

  11. new life in Chicago, are you?

  12. Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thanks for liking my blog. Actually right now very busy with work and I hope to start reviewing Linux again from November.


  13. Hi,

    How to count the boot time of a distro?

    Thank you, and sorry about my English

  14. Hi can anyone tell me a good lightweight did to for 10 years old laptop with intel celeron 1.7Ghz and 512 mb ram.

  15. You can try zorin 9 lite or antix mx14

  16. Hi Arindam ,
    I would like to know the link from where I can download the ubuntu for my laptop.I have even seen the other flavors of it like Mate , Kubunut ,Mint and Lubuntu but all are the desktop versions.
    I have downloaded from the official site the desktop version and I could not access the Wifi.
    Could you Please help me out with the link


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  18. Arindam, we miss you! please come back with your useful Distro's reviews!

    1. Hi Alex, I'll Start writing again April onwards. Took a temporary break due to professional priorities :)

  19. sooo... this site has died.... too bad i liked it... :(

    1. The site will be up and running April 2016 onwards. Took a temporary break due to professional priorities :)

    2. Well at least it must be a good feeling to know that you ar missed ... ;-)
      Work is more important, especially when you have a family. Nevertheless I miss your reviews also ..

  20. Hi Arindam,

    Could you show me how to count the boot time of a distro?

    Thank you very much!

  21. Hi, every one can anyone else recommend me a good distro for my lenovo g580 laptop with Intel i3 processor hybrid graphics and 2 gb of ram.Please help me.

  22. Hi!

    Why did you stop posting your great reviews?


  23. Yo Mister, where are you, we are waiting for your next review!!!

    1. My sincere apologies. I'm not finding time to review Linux distros due to professional priorities. Hope things will ease out soon and I'll start doing what I enjoy most.


    2. Of course we understand that you are busy, we just miss you and your articles. Hope to read you soon :)

    3. Glad to hear you everything is fine. We've been wondering where you went! Always enjoy your reviews.

  24. +1 for comeback, if u dont have time -> try to make the articles shorter ;-P
    anyway, thanks for your work.. KiLLA from Czech Republic

  25. Ubuntu aggg.... I'm not a fan of Ubuntu. But your review was good Thanks
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  28. Which graphics card has better Linux support, ATI or Nvidia?

  29. Aridam!!! Missing your reviews from México. But hopping you success in your profesional life and with your family

  30. He is stopped reviewing distroś, he just tell to come back but it will never happen :)

  31. Arindam, do we need collect money to let you come back to us and review Linux distros again? I would donate some box just to read you again :)

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. thanks

  34. We need you back Arindam! Come back please!

  35. I heard the news today from an insider: Arindam is in jail for 5 years so he will be not back soon. T bad we pray for your soul and ass Arindam!

  36. Its been 2 years. How are you ? Hope you will be back soon

  37. Just 3 more years when Arindam will be set free from jail. We wait for you, we love you!

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