Ubuntu Releases 9.10 – Karmic Koala. An Initial Review.

Friday, 30. October 2009

Ubuntu 9.10. A first look…

Officially released on the 29th, Karmic Koala is burning up Internet bandwidth, as every Linux user rushes to download the new OS. I’ve only had a few hours to play with it, but all and all I like what I see. The developers have really put a lot into meeting the goals they set for themselves.

If you are a current Ubuntu user, you will notice some very slight changes in the user experience. Most of what went into this release is under the hood. Things like reducing bootup time and improving hardware configuration interfaces really take center stage.

Some obvious user interface changes you will notice right away are a revamped login screen and a new software center program for package management. You also might notice a few things missing on the Administration menu, as well as fewer games and screensavers installed by default in this release, but they can be easily installed through the new package manager. They have also defaulted to ext4 as their default filesystem. So, if you are doing a fresh default install, you will end up running ext4. Karmic has the latest versions of all your favorite open source software packages, and from the limited testing I’ve done so far, it looks as if they all works great together!

The biggest thing I’ve noticed so far is bootup time. Wow! Karmic boots in less then half the time then Jaunty under identical base installs and hardware. Also, xorg really seems to have gotten a lot of their detection issues taken care of in this release. I’ve also seen improvements in wireless detection and acquisition of access points.


Well, I do have some issues. I’m not very happy with the new login manager. Karmic moved to the latest version of GDM to better work with the new dependency based startup system (this is what makes initial bootup so fast now). They added an interface to do some minor changes to GDM, but many features such as changing GDM themes and XDMCP logins are missing from this version. I also don’t like the search features in the new package manager. It appears to only search the description field of the packages. Being an old Debian Dinosaur, I usually search by package names.


Overall, I’m very impressed with the new version of Ubuntu. For me to only find two things I don’t like about a new software release is almost unheard of. And the improved boot speed and network acquisition speed is more then enough for me to accept and move forward!

— Stu


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