26
Oct
09

Ubuntu 9.10 Review

Finally I had to give in to my immense curiosity. I couldnt wait for the stable release and I downloaded the beta version (Release Candidate) of Ubuntu 9.10 aka Karmic Koala.

Installation:

Proceeded without a hitch, however this edition of Ubuntu is special simply because its using some really cool stuff this time around. The default file system has been changed from ext3 to the new and supposedly faster ext4 filesystem. The GRUB is now GRUB 2! So that means booting time is reduced. And it indeed has been although to what extent might be a matter of debate.

(For those who are using 9.04 and want to upgrade to 9.10, here’s a sincere suggestion: BACKUP YOUR DATA. I tried upgrading from 9.04 to 9.10, and things didnt work out as expected. This maybe because of the new GRUB etc. but frankly speaking I wouldnt recommend “upgrading”. If you want to use 9.10, format your drive/disk and install 9.10 afresh. And of course, backup all data)

The installation process is pretty fast, takes about 15 minutes (on an AMD X2 240 – 2.8 GHz processor with 2GB of DDR2 RAM) and proceeds smoothly. The best part about the installation is the new Windows styled know-about-your-OS sort of messages while Ubuntu installs. This is a refreshing change and reiterates the fact that Ubuntu is moving towards a far more professional approach.

The First Boot:

This is very important in my opinion, the first impression of an OS is where the real liking starts. And Ubuntu 9.10 does it with unparalleled grace! Erm…not exactly. On booting I found a notification informing me that my hard disk has multiple bad sectors. Quite shocking really coz my hard disk isnt really that old and to be frank, I never had such errors with 9.04 or with Windows (when I used to have it). Now if this is a bug of ext4, then its really a shame since from now on Ubuntu will be using ext4 as the default filesystem.
(BTW the boot splash is really good looking!)

Hits and misses

Ubuntu introduces the all new “Ubuntu Software Center” with 9.10. Now you can download multiple softwares all from the same Software Center window without having to wait for one software to complete installing. Novel idea but I still dont think it has matured enough to replace synaptic. Anyway, its moving in the right direction and thats whats important.

Personally speaking, I dont really like the icons of the default theme, although the wallpaper and the rest of the theme looks great. I might actually download another icon set.

To my utter disappointment Pidgin has been replaced my Empathy. I never really was a fan of Empathy and I dont think I will ever be. Pidgin is simply much more mature than Empathy right now.

Firefox now has a new version the all new 3.5.3 (thank god!). I was seriously missing this Firefox version, 3.1 of 9.04 was so passe!

The rest of the things are more or less the same compared to 9.04.

Conclusion:

This is an important step forward for Ubuntu. In a month where we saw Microsoft come out with Windows 7 and Mac with Snow Leopard, how could Ubuntu stay behind? Kudos to the entire open-source fraternity for creating such an awesome OS and as always kudos for keeping it open-source and most importantly…free!

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