Ubuntu Karmic Koala preview

4 Ott/09

If you’ve been following the Ubuntu release cycle you know that the .10 release is forth coming. Slated to hit the bandwidth October 29th, 2009, 9.10 promises to have quite a number of new features that should please even the most discerning of Linux users.

But what can you expect and how should it run? In this preview of Ubuntu 9.10 I will fill you in on the upcoming features and give you a few screen shots as well as my opinion on how the release will fare.


Of course, the first thing you want to know is the feature list. You will be surprised to see the number of features that have been added to 9.10. There are a few cases where some of the features are major changes to the distribution as a whole. Let’s take a look and see.

Upstart: Upstart replaces the /sbin/init daemon which handles the starting of services during the boot process.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Boot process: A brand new boot process has been worked in to make the boot of Ubuntu even faster than it was in 9.04. It is. The boot process for Linux is getting scary fast. Figure 1 shows the new Ubuntu boot screen. The goal of the 10 second start up is growing ever within reach.

Software Center: This is very new and replaces the old Add/Remove Software utility. The ultimate purpose of the Software Center is to replace Synaptic and Gdebi and will, eventually, also offer commercial software.  You can see how different the Software Center is to the

Figure 2

Figure 2

old tool in Figure 2. It is my belief the Software Center is Ubuntu’s attempt to catch on in the Enterprise space. And why shouldn’t they?

After taking a peek around the Software Center, I have to say I am really impressed.

GNOME: GNOME reaches the 2.28 release in the Ubuntu release cycle. The only major change is that GDM has been completely rewritten.

Kubuntu: With this release comes the very first Kubuntu Netbook release.

Enterprise Cloud Images: With the release of 9.10 you will images for use with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud that is deployed with Amazon EC2.

Ubuntu One: This is Ubuntu’s version of Dropbox. With Ubuntu One you can keep all of files on your Ubuntu machines in sync with one another. You will have to sign up for an account in order to take advantage of this. You also have to subscribe to Ubuntu One. There are two types of accounts:

  • Free: 2 Gigs of storage.
  • Paid: 50 Gigs of storage for $10.00 USD per month.

Once you have subscribed you can then install the client software.

Hal depreciation: Our old buddy HAL is being stripped of many of its duties. Gone from HAL will be much of the suspend and hibernate subsystem as well as the handling of storage devices. In its place will be “DeviceKit-power”, “DeviceKit-disks” and “udev”.

New Intel video drivers: The Intel video drivers are moving away from EXA to UXA which will solve major performance issues seen in 9.04 for Intel graphics.

ext4: The ext4 filesystem will now be the default. I have used it on many installations and have found it to be reliable and fast.

Non-eXecutable Emulation: If you have a system that lacks NX hardware, this new system will provide an approximation of the NX hardware.

There have also been a number of security improvements such as:

  • Blocking Module Loading: Blocks modules from loading after boot.
  • Position Independent Executables: Helps to prevent from unknown threats.
  • AppArmor Improvements: Associate more profiles to executable applications.

The results

After using 9.10 for a day I have to say I am impressed. I have been using 9.04 on nearly all of my machines and was wondering how Ubuntu could be improved upon. Well, it seems the developement team has, in fact, improved upon 9.04. It’s not a giant leap forward, but the speed improvements and the new software promises to make the Ubuntu experience one that anyone can enjoy. If you are interested in downloading the pre-release of Ubuntu, you can find it on the Karmic Koala download page.

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