Distro Review: Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Default 9.10 Desktop

Default 9.10 Desktop

Today’s victim… *ahem* I mean guest of course sorry, is the new version of Ubuntu. 9.10 to be precise, the Karmic Koala. The names seem to keep getting worse but is the distro itself getting better? I wanted to find out. So I installed the latest daily build in the lead up to release and got to work kicking the tyres, investigating and randomly tutting while stroking my beard. I’ll try to be fair in describing any rough edges as I realise this testing version is pre-release software, but the final version has actually been released today. So I think it’s fair to give it a look. Here’s how I got on…

Vital Stats:
Distro base – Debian
Packaging – .deb (Managed by the mighty Apt)
Linux Kernel – 2.6.31-14-generic
Default Desktop – Gnome 2.28.1

Installation:

The Boot Menu

The Boot Menu

I started by grabbing the latest daily build of Karmic from here. In the past I’ve found that a good way to avoid the inevitable rush and server overload on Ubuntu release days. Get the daily build a few days before, and then just add any updates as you go. It works very well for the most part. Of course there can be the rough edges in these pre release versions, they’re meant for testing purposes only. Canonical would never recommend installing them on a production system and they warn that updates may cause breakage, but I’ve always had a positive experience and I accept a certain amount of risk. Besides, you can be doing the developers a service by reporting bugs and testing things. I burned off the live CD image, fired it up and got to work. There’s been a lot of talk about the boot and shut down screens on the new Ubuntu. While most distributions are moving towards the Plymouth bootloader, Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) have taken another route, opting to use Xsplash instead. I’m afraid I’m not a distro developer and I can’t give you a low level run down of either approach really, or their pros and cons, I just know the issue caused quite a fuss. The initial boot time of the liveCD was really slow for some reason. It sat at a completely blank screen for a good 15mins but I left it going because I had a hunch. I noticed the HDD light on the front of the laptop was blinking furiously and I assumed it must be running a filesystem check. That takes a while on my machine so I left it in hope and crossed my fingers. Sure enough, after a while the live session booted up normally. This may have just been a rough edge because of the pre-release nature of this install disc. It might be fixed in the final release, but there should have been some kind of indication on the screen that a disk check was in process. That’s certainly how it used to work. (Edit: I’m pleased to confirm this is fixed in the final release).

Ubiquity

Ubiquity

Upon loading the live session I noticed a few nice design changes. It’s a lot more black and orange now rather than brown. They’ve been saying this for the last few releases, “it won’t be as brown this time, honest”, but invariably on booting a new release you see enough brown to make a chocolate factory jealous. Personally, I don’t have a real problem with it and I don’t see what all the fuss is about, but there’s no doubt the visual appearance of the distro has improved again here. That has to be a good thing I guess. Following the install link on the desktop I was greeted with the very familiar Ubuntu Ubiquity installer. It seems not much has changed here but as I’ve said of previous releases, it didn’t need to, it’s already a great installer. I proceeded through the usual steps picking time zone, keyboard language and entering user details as normal. I like little conveniences such as the way it suggests a keyboard language based on your time zone. You can still change it should you need to, but it’s a nice little bit of polish. Partitioning was simple and I used the same scheme I always have, you can find details of that in other reviews. I noticed a new option on the final screen to require a password for decrypting your home folder. I decided not to use it but that’s an interesting development for the more security conscious perhaps. It does worry me a little that encrypting your whole home directory could be problematic if you ever lost the key, as I would be likely to do. I have my home directory as a separate partition too, so this would mean the whole disk partition was hosed if anything went wrong. I prefered the old system of just having an encrypted sub folder in the home directory. Anyway, back at the point. With the all the information entered I set the install on it’s way. There’s a new slide show to watch while you install. I like that, it’s another nice bit of polish but bloody hell I needed something to keep me entertained. The install took about 40mins, almost double what it used to on this hardware. Again this may be attributable to the beta nature of the software, but I have to report as I find. Once the install eventually finished I removed the CD and was left with a system hang. Just a load of funky coloured lines on the screen and no response from the mouse or keyboard. I had to power off manually. Now, to be fair I don’t think this is Ubuntu’s fault. There’s a long standing ACPI bug with my machine and this problem has surfaced on other distros. So I wasn’t too worried about that. The install had worked fine and I was happy.

INSTALLATION SLIDE SHOW

Customising The Koala:

Messaging Area

Messaging Area

I was pleased to see the machine boot a lot quicker the 2nd time around. I guess my theory about the disk check was right. The default Gnome desktop looks pretty much the same as always with Ubuntu. I like the addition of the new system icons by the clock, they’re very slick. A lot of people will say they have a Mac-like look and that might be fair. The idea was to standardise the look of the desktop a little more I think. The message notification icon ties into programs like Evolution, Empathy, Pidgin, Gwibber and more to give one standard messaging area. I’m not sure if I like this but that’s a personal preference. I find the notifications sometimes aren’t obvious enough, and having them all hidden under one menu I miss messages. That could be my fault for having the attention span of a goldfish though I suppose. Some of the default packages have changed in Karmic. A good example is Empathy replacing Pidgin as the default instant messenger program. I was told this is because Empathy can do both im and voice chats, it also integrates more tightly into the Gnome desktop. I tried to use it for over a week but we just didn’t get along. I still love Pidgin and find it much more intuitive. Luckily Pidgin is only an Apt-Get away, so it’s not like you’re barred from using it. They just seem to be steering people towards Empathy.

My Finished Desktop

My Finished Desktop

Getting all the software I wanted was quick and easy through the extensive Ubuntu repositories. I installed Audacity, Easytag, Abiword and all the other assorted tools I like with ease. Next I decided to customise the layout of the desktop a bit. I usually remove the bottom toolbar in Gnome and replace it with the Avant Window Navigator, this is very easy to do. I move the desktop switcher and window list to the top toolbar and then just delete the lower one. You’ll be able to see this from the screenshots. I also changed the theme to New Wave, which is a bit darker and looks very funky. Settling in on Karmic was easy, mainly because I’m so familiar with Ubuntu now, but also because adding drivers and apps is simple. I felt pretty comfortable in no time.

Ubuntu Software Centre:

Ubuntu Software Centre

Ubuntu Software Centre

One new feature in Karmic that’s received a lot of attention is the Ubuntu Software Centre. Basically it’s an attempt to simplify managing your installed software and applications, that’s how I’d describe it anyway. I have to admit when I first heard about the idea I thought it was terrible, I was sure I’d hate it. The old Add/Remove Software tool was good and didn’t need changing I grumbled to myself. After using Software Centre for a while though I must say I’m a total convert, it’s great! It seems to be modelled on the new “app store” type approach people are becoming used to with their phones, Android, iPhone etc. You can install stuff in the background while still searching for other things and getting stuff done. In the old Add/Remove system you had to make a list of things to change and then once you set it off it was a matter of waiting until it had finished before you could add anything else. A few times I’d start installing a list of programs and then realise I’d forgotten one. Now when you click to install something it just starts and there’s a progress bar in the background. You can still get on with hunting down more new software or even removing stuff without breaking stride. A lot of people have commented on the fact that there’s a price label on each application, and they’re quite upset about it. The righteous indignation is overflowing. It seems pretty obvious to me that Canonical would want to make a new revenue stream out of this. The applications are all marked as free right now, but again it links into the growing “app store” mentality. Some see this commercialisation as evil and with my political views you’d expect me to agree, but I don’t. There’s nothing inherently evil about charging people money for software, lots of GPL software is sold all the time. Despite the confusing name it doesn’t go against the ideals of Free Software at all. As long as the source code is available in some reasonable manner it’s all good by Stallman. It might actually encourage some outside software vendors to start porting their apps to Linux, if there’s a market. I don’t wan’t to be overrun by proprietary closed source apps of course, but I think choice is a good thing and if people can get the apps they want on Linux because of this, that’s a positive isn’t it? Also, if it helps Canonical to make some money back and keep giving us such great free software (both in the beer and speech sense), more power to them. There have been attempts to do this kind of thing in the past with mixed results though, Linspire’s Click’N’Run store springs to mind. I hope this works out for Canonical, as long as we keep the focus on Open Source applications, the monetary side doesn’t bother me.

Easier PPA Access:

Adding A PPA

Adding A PPA

One thing I really like about Karmic is how adding PPAs has been simplified. A PPA is a Personal Package Archive, and they’re basically an additional little repository of Ubuntu packages you can add, usually hosted on Launchpad.net. They’re useful because it means developers can provide newer versions of their software and you can subscribe to get the updates, rather than wait for the main repos to catch up, if the package is even in there. A good example of this is the Chromium web browser which I added via a PPA. I use the daily development build of Chromium from Launchpad and it works surprisingly well. Previously, you had to add the source location to your system config file, then go and get a key file for the PPA, import it and verify everything. It was quite a protracted process. Now it’s been made much quicker. They’ve created a new PPA namespace so you can just add something by typing “ppa:chromium-daily/ppa” in your software sources, and the rest is all taken care of. I love this, it’s really handy, but I do have to wonder how hard it would have been to use something like AptURL to automatically add the PPA with one or two clicks. It seems like they’ve come so far and stopped just inches short of the finishing line. Maybe that could be added in the next release. Some people may say it’s dangerous making experimental or development repos so easily available for even novices to install, but I think it would be a step forward and could add more eyeballs to test new packages. You could have a confirmation screen when people click a “ppa://” url.

Conclusions:
Ease Of Installation & Use: 4/5
Stability & Speed: 4/5
Community & Documentation: 5/5
Features: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Chromium Browser

Chromium Browser

I’m impressed with Karmic, it’s a very solid release with some nice improvements over Jaunty. The Software Centre is a great addition and I hope it will be pushed up stream to the likes of Debian. Canonical have been criticised in the past for not contributing enough back to the upstream projects they depend on, but I think that’s a little harsh. Let’s see what they do with this and then judge. I also hope the new model of bringing in commercial applications and giving easy access in an “App Store” setting works for them. The new icons and overall look of Karmic is really slick, probably the best looking Ubuntu yet. There were a few rough edges in the version I tested but it was pre-release, now that the final release has hit the web today I’ll be interested to see how many of those have been fixed. Ubuntu has evolved a lot over the years and I think it’s still in a strong position looking forward. Unlike some I’m not a raving fanboy, but I’m also not an Ubuntu hater either. There seems to be a lot of those around, success makes you unpopular in a lot of quarters I suppose. I appreciate what Ubuntu brings to the Linux world, just as I appreciate what Fedora brings and all the other great distributions out there. Ubuntu is making good ground into the mainstream consciousness and we can all benefit from that I hope. Yes there’s a long way to go, but the next few years are an exciting time to be a Linux fan.

Gwibber

Gwibber

I would recommend Ubuntu Karmic to new users without much hesitation. I still like Linux Mint and Mandriva for the complete novice, but Ubuntu is a good option too. The documentation and support around it are certainly a force to be reckoned with. There are plenty of good sources of help online and help are never too far away. Different distributions suit different users and situations, but Ubuntu has proved itself very versatile. It’s going from strength to strength and I think it has a bright future. Check out Karmic for yourself and let me know what you think int he comments.

YOU CAN GET UBUNTU KARMIC HERE

Onwards and upwards…
I’ve been so busy travelling around, running live events and god knows what else in the last 2 months. I’ve hardly had any time to do proper in depth reviews. As the winter draws in and things calm down a little though that should change. What better way to spend the cold months than wrapped up indoors on a comfy seat warming yourself by the glow of a blazing laptop. There are quite a few big releases due out soon. Fedora, OpenSuse and many others. I’ll aim to get into them all. If there’s something you’d like to see here, please leave a comment or drop me an email. I suspect my next stop may be the new Fedora. So if you’d care to join me you’re more than welcome, bring a warm coat and some sensible shoes…

About Dan

Hi I'm Dan, I'm the nutter who creates the content here and oversees things. You can read more about me on the biog page if you like. Thanks :)
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51 Responses to Distro Review: Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

  1. Pingback: Dan Lynch (dantheman) 's status on Thursday, 29-Oct-09 23:06:48 UTC - Identi.ca

  2. Pingback: Kevan (kevan) 's status on Friday, 30-Oct-09 00:06:36 UTC - Identi.ca

  3. acidtoy says:

    Hey Dan, can you tell us which distro do you use for our everyday tasks?

    • Dan says:

      @acidtoy – I change all the time. I install and review all distributions on my main machine and try to do everyday tasks with them. I think it’s the only way to really judge. At the moment I have Karmic installed from this review but that’ll change soon. I’m a traveler I guess :)

  4. ClarkNova says:

    Perhaps the future introduction of commercial software to the Software Centre will pave the way for more mainstream proprietary software to move over the the platform. If it’s successful it’s possible we’ll see a native version of Photoshop or similar for Linux if it can be proved that people on free platforms are still willing to pay for quality software when necessary.

  5. Pingback: Dan Lynch (dantheman) 's status on Friday, 30-Oct-09 10:38:17 UTC - Identi.ca

  6. KevanV says:

    Great review… but I’m going to hold out till Mint arrives.

    Kevan

    • Dan says:

      @KevanV – That’s understandable, and I don’t think you’ll be the only one doing that. I’m looking forward to the new Mint as well, it’s a distro I really like :)

  7. Andy C says:

    Another great review, Dan. Very comprehensive and useful.

    Nice installation screenshots too. BTW this is a possible idiotic question but how do you actually capture the screen during the installation process ?

    As a recent Linux (Mint 7) convert, is the use of ‘ext4′ as the default file system a recent change ? What benefits (risks) does it offer over ext3 ?

    I agree about the Ubuntu Software Centre – anything that makes locating and installing software is a good thing. I simply couldn’t believe that Synaptic Package Manager was single-threaded and couldn’t install multiple packages concurrently.

    • Dan says:

      @AndyC – Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it. It did take a long time to put together yes but I don’t do things by halves. As for installation screen shots, I cheat a bit actually. I take those shots later after I’ve installed the new system with a VM guest. I tend to use VirtualBox and run the installer again, grabbing the images as I need them. It’s a lot easier. Glad you like Mint 7 it’s a great distro. Ext4 has only started to get widespread adoption in the last 6 months I’d say. I’m still using ext3 on my large data partitions. Though you’re supposed to be able to convert ext3 filesystems to ext4 without data loss, I’m not that brave. According to Ted Ts’o (the creator) ext4 is more robust, faster and generally better than ext3 in every way. I watched him talk about it at LinuxCon and most of the low level disk stuff went right over my head. That’s the basic gist though, it’s better. There were problems with data loss in the initial testing versions of ext4 which got a lot of press, but as far as I know it’s fine now. I certainly hope it is, since everyone’s bloody using it :D

  8. Mint-er says:

    Ubuntu has ALWAYS been Orange, Never been brown. Everyone who keeps claiming that Ubuntu is brown, has obviously not actually used the distro. Its like saying Fedora is Green and OpenSUSE is Blue. Completely False Statements.

    • Dan says:

      @Mint-er – The window borders have always been orange yes (ironically now they’re brown), but the desktop wallpapers and other things used to be brown. I know it’s not hard to change, and as I said I don’t see what the fuss is about. But when the whole desktop background is brown by default, most people would agree that pretty dominant. Even if you just go by percentage of the screen covered by default. The whole fact we’re discussing this shows how pathetic the whole argument is, there are more important things to talk about in a Linux distribution. That was kind of the point I was trying to make…

  9. Pingback: Nice review of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala from Linux Outlaws co-host Dan Lynch. « Andrew Currie on WordPress

  10. Andy C says:

    Thanks for the full, considered reply.

    I would consider migrating to ext4 but there’s a compelling reason I have to stay with ReiserFS – a man standing over me with a loaded gun.

  11. Dan says:

    @andyc – Wink twice if you’re in trouble, you don’t have to say out loud :D

  12. davemc says:

    I think the point that some were making about the Ubuntu Theme is that for first time users coming from Windows or Mac, that the Ubuntu theme was a major detractor. First impressions actually do make a difference, unfortunately, that’s just the way things are for now. Both Microsoft, and especially Apple make a huge up front investment in theme and artwork exactly for that reason, as well as advertising, and I think we all know how that worked out for them. I am not agreeing with any of that hulluballoo, but they do have a pretty strong point.

  13. Dan says:

    @davemc – Hmm, you make a good argument. I suppose it’s a more complicated issue than I’d thought. I still all the fuss over what shade of brown is a little over the top. The problem is that beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder, and everyone is different. The Ubuntu artwork has been pretty good for the last few versions I think. The Hardy Heron artwork springs to mind particularly.

  14. Hi Dan, thanks for the review and doing something that I thought about doing myself, but realised it would be too much like hard work!

    I think it’s a pretty fair reflection, although just wondering why only 3/5 for features? What’s missing that you would like to see added or are in other distros?

    As for the Software Center and the possibility of paying for proprietary stuff I wonder how many vendors will consider the market big enough to be worth investing in? Having said that, I’ve no idea how hard or easy it would be to produce a Linux version of Photoshop, for example. Then again, if they did do that, the market share would potentially increase, wouldn’t it?

    Couple of final thoughts. As for new computer users, if not potential new Linux users, OS and colour scheme really doesn’t come into it at all, in my experience. All they want to do is learn how to use the internet, email, and not have to answer endless questions about “are you sure?” (no, they’re not sure) etc., to get there. What they do want is a safe, secure and straightforward experience which Ubuntu and pretty much all the Linux distros I’ve tried offer. And I really like brown and orange! And cake, too, for that matter.

    • Dan says:

      @David Marsden – Some interesting points. I gave it 3/5 for features because I consider this reflects new features added since the last release. The Software Center is a big one yes but there weren’t a lot of other big changes. I considered the new notification system in Jaunty a bigger fundamental change. People my think that harsh but it’s purely a personal opinion, the scores are really only a supplemental thing for me. The review text is the most important thing. Who doesn’t like cake btw :)

  15. Pingback: The Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 review post | Ubuntu-News - Your one stop for news about Ubuntu

  16. Pingback: Roy Schestowitz (schestowitz) 's status on Friday, 30-Oct-09 22:15:54 UTC - Identi.ca

  17. Pingback: Links 30/10/2009: GNOME 2.29.1 is Out, Many Distro Releases | Boycott Novell

  18. krazypenguin says:

    Great review!!!
    Not sure why features got only 3/5 though???

    This distro is loaded with many new bleeding edge features.
    In fact Karmic has so many features , it is insane that it is so stable with all those new features.

    From a complete overhaul of booting up Karmic, plus the slide show, the new artwork, the Software Center, and then Ubuntu One , etc. Just insane. And this was all done in a 6 month cycle.
    Completely unheard of in the commercial environment.
    And the requirement for RAM are 256??? WOW.

    Don’t through that old computer out just yet lol

    (ext4 by default, encrypted home directory, free 2gb of ubuntu one space, etc, etc, etc)

    • Dan says:

      @krazypenguin – Ubuntu has a lot of features yes and I’m not criticising it. People are focusing too much on this one score and not the overall review. It’s a personal opinion and I stick by it. As I said in reply to the previous comment, this score is purely for things added since the last release. Software Centre is a big one but Ubuntu One, ext4 and many other things you mention were in Jaunty. I hadn’t thought about the new boot up/shutdown sequence though you’re right there, that is a big change.

  19. klanger says:

    Hi Dan! First post here…
    Great review, as always :)

    I’m enjoying your blog (specially the review part as it is most interesting, and well written).
    Also I really like linuxoutlaws podcast – in fact yesterday I’ve downloaded your first show… linuxoutlaws1.mp3 :D

    Could you also review different window managers – the way they integrate with distros eg. tilling wm (musca, awesome, scrotwm, dwm, wmii, i3 etc). Many people use them, but not many (none?) distros offer them as main window manager, which is sad, because tilling WM’s introduce a new level when you work on a computer (a specially with small screens like netbooks).

    Once again, thanks for your review and your show with Fab.

    • Dan says:

      @klanger – Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoy the articles and the podcast. I don’t know much about tiling Window Managers so I’ll have to investigate a bit. You’re righ, I don’t know any distributions using them by default either. There probably is one out there somewhere, there’s enough distros to choose from. I’ll see what I can do, thanks for reading :)

  20. Fab says:

    @davemc “Microsoft [...] make a huge up front investment in theme and artwork exactly for that reason, as well as advertising, and I think we all know how that worked out for them.”

    You certainly weren’t able to tell by looking at XP. And if by “huge up front investment” you mean paying one photographer to take ALL the background wallpaper shots for Vista, OK…

  21. Fab says:

    @Dan “I hadn’t thought about the new boot up/shutdown sequence though you’re right there, that is a big change.”

    No, it’s not since it’s still half usplash ATM.

  22. Fab says:

    @klanger “tilling WM’s introduce a new level when you work on a computer”

    An by “new” you mean “a ca. 1980s feeling”? ;)

  23. klanger says:

    @Fab … hi Fab :) – as I said before, really enjoy LinuxOutLaws podcast, since you’re co-host -> thank you ;)

    Well, tilling wm may not be young (as an idea) but on netbooks this WM is really handy… so why don’t let people know about it? While using it, you’ll never fill ’80 :D

  24. Pingback: Weekly Rewind #37 | Adventures In Open Source

  25. Dopher says:

    @dan: you change distro’s all the time on your main system, and work with it?

    I’m sorry, but i cannot imagine that.

    Because, molding my operating system just the way i want it, takes me weeks. Configuring the hardware, with bluetooth, scanner, phone, etc.

    tweaking the interface, and te apps for daily use, just like they behave the way i want to.

    When i come home from work, turn on my pc, and have to perform a task, it’s nice that the pc is ready.. and not that i have to configure the settings of the scanner, for example, just when i quickly wanna scan something, and send it by email.

    Also, keeping your home dir in tact, doesn’t mean that data is treated the same way as before the migration. you have to configure it for certain apps again.

    You must have a lot of spare time ;)

    • Dan says:

      @dopher – It really doesn’t take long to configure a system, not for me anyway. I don’t have a scanner connected but I doubt it makes that much difference. I do all my daily work on this system yes and I regularly edit multiple podcasts a week (sometimes each on different distros), write articles, do all my web admin/development stuff and anything else I need to. It’s really not that challenging and if anything it shows how easy Linux is to set up. It would be much more painful trying to do this on Windows. I just keep the hidden “.” folders in my home directory for the applications that matter to me: Firefox, Pidgin, Gpodder etc. All the other settings get wiped and everything works. There’s no need to set up the applications again, this is the beauty of the home directory. I find it the only reliable way to review a system, using it day to day. If I ever find I can’t do something I need to with a certain distro it takes me all of 20mins to install something else. Less time than most people take for lunch. I don’t see it as a problem. I’m not saying everyone should live this way, it’s personal choice but I distro hop to keep things interesting, and also so I have something to write about. That way others don’t have to. Unless you’re setting up Arch or Gentoo each time it really doesn’t take long. I’m trying to dispel that myth. Linux is not hard and as you can tell by my writing I’m far from an expert. Anyone with a normal intelligence level and a bit of will power could do this if they wanted. I can understand why people wouldn’t want to and I respect that. It’s up to them. I’ll look after me.

  26. Pingback: Dan Lynch (dantheman) 's status on Monday, 02-Nov-09 16:53:25 UTC - Identi.ca

  27. x1101 says:

    I would personally have voted for ‘Lusty Llama’ for the next release name.

  28. Dan says:

    @x1101 – God knows how they pick these release names

  29. Dylan C says:

    I think its a bit unfair giving the features a 3/5 rating.

    -The new Ubuntu software center is a great step forward. Im delighted with it, blazing fast searching, great GUI and essentially for new users as it only shows actual graphical applications… nothing else!

    -Im loving the new Sound management introduced… we can finally configure audio input and output devices all in a neat interface.

    -The computer Janitor tool has some nice updates and has better functionality.

    -We now have a really decent disk management tool abundant with features thanks to Red Hat.

    -The latest of every piece of software and a slick new look.

    I believe you only covered 2 features in your review!

    • Dan says:

      @Dylan C – I was using the audio management stuff in Fedora 6 months ago and the same for the disk management tool, so forgive me if I’m not wowed by them. They are nice features but they’re not Ubuntu developments so I credit those to Fedora. That’s my logic anyway, you may consider it flawed but that’s personal. As I’ve said to everyone who’s brought up the 3/5 thing, don’t get too hung up on it. I aim for to be fair and balanced in all reviews, I don’t favour any particular distro and I try to reflect the good and bad in everything I find. I believe this is a fair review, it’s my personal view of Karmic and I stick by it. Not everyone will agree with it and that’s only natural. Thanks for the comment

  30. Jen Cato says:

    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic is LOUSY compared to prior releases!
    I’ve run Ubuntu for years and 9.10 Karmic is the worst release yet!
    Firefox has serious issues rendering web pages. Missing features and GNOME has been having serious issues too.
    I have had so many crashes with 9.10 Karmic Windows 7 is starting to look good!
    I run Ubuntu 9.04 and Debian on separate partitions and they run fine.
    BTW. I built my puter specifically to run Linux so I know my hardware is Linux compatible so it isn’t a hardware issue.

    • Dan says:

      @Jen – I haven’t had any crashes with Karmic so far, not one. Maybe I’m just luckier than you who knows. As for Karmic being the worst Ubuntu release yet, I have to disagree. You must have forgotten what Gutsy was like when it first came out, man it was broken. I think Karmic is a pretty strong release from Canonical. Certainly better than Intrepid, not sure if it’s better than Jaunty or Hardy though, they were both good. I’ve used Ubuntu since Dapper and in that time I’ve found Feisty to be the best release. That was my favourite anyway.

  31. Dylan C says:

    I didn’t know that Fedora had those features already because I only use Ubuntu these days.

    A 3/5 rating for features seems quite fair actually, now that I know this.

    • Dan says:

      @Dylan C – Hey no problem, I just thought I’d explain the rating a bit more. I love Ubuntu but an amazing amount of the stuff they have is pushed upstream by other distributions. They’ve done great developments in the Software Center for example but I don’t think we’ll see that going into Fedora quite so quickly or easily. It’s a common criticism of Ubuntu and one that I mostly disagree with, but from the outside it seems they don’t push as much upstream as Fedora. They are doing a good job though and hope they’ll improve on this record in future. I don’t think it’s malicious in any way, probably just an oversight. Thanks for reading :)

  32. skkeeper says:

    Testing with beta packages was probably what caused the installation time to increase so much. I installed Karmic in like 18 minutes in a way worst machine than yours.

    • Dan says:

      @skkeeper – Excellent, I hope that’s true. Some people have reported long install times to me with the final release, but I haven’t checked myself so can’t confirm or deny. It was a pre-release version I had as I said, a few rough edges are to be expected. That’s fair enough.

  33. goekhan says:

    hey dan,
    just wanted to say thanks for all the reviews. i really like them. i came across whilst looking for a distro (which became disto-hopping). i´m looking forward to your reviews of opensuse and fedora. i like how really test the distros by using them, not -how it´s often done- by taking screenshots and repeating what´s said on their website.
    keep up the good work.

    • Dan says:

      @goekhan – Thank you, that’s very kind. I do my best. Looking forward to OpenSUSE and Fedora myself, should be interesting. I’m on Mandriva 2010 now. Will report back soon :)

  34. Todd Doucet says:

    I find the installer to be not reliable, and crashes about 90% of the way through an installation on my Toshiba Satellite A105 laptop. It leaves me with a non-working Ubuntu installation.

    I would think that, at this point, the Ubuntu people would have a *reliable* and *working* installer. But they do not.

    After a certain number of years, these Linux limitations start to become less acceptable, no matter how much cheer leading you hear.

    • Dan says:

      @Todd – I agree, that’s not acceptable at all. Have you reported the problem on Launchpad or asked anyone about it? That might be worth doing. For what it’s worth I’ve never had that problem with the installer on any of the dozens of machines I’ve installed Ubuntu on. None of them were a Toshiba Satelite laptop though, so I can’t say if it’s a hardware specific thing. Whatever it is it should be fixed, and I completely understand you frustration. Have you tried other distributions? It could be an Ubuntu problem. You could try Mandriva, OpenSUSE or something different, but I understand if that’s not the answer you’re looking for. You might not want to. I sincerely hope there is a solution to your problem soon or if one already exists that you find it. I’m afraid I can’t be much more help at the moment.

  35. Max says:

    As always Dan is the man in doing reviews. I always read your reviews Dan and take some notice of it too.
    And it has to be said, Dan you are one of the few who replies in return. Not many do that. Enough.
    I reckon Ubuntu 9.10 is very nice indeed and for me it works great. The main reason I come back to Ubuntu is that I like the character of Mark Shuttleworth. Great guy. Personally I am more an Opensuse guy and am I using currently version 11.2 with KDE. The latter is odd because I like more Gnome however KDE in Opensuse 11.2 is a winner. Beautiful indeed. I try most of the main distros except Mandriva. Don’t know why but probably because it smells French. (Was a joke).
    Ubuntu is great never mind the snobs may say. Finally somebody (Shuttleworth and co) who seriously brought Linux out of the dust. Due to Ubuntu other distros like Fedora and Opensuse had to follow too.
    Thanks for the nice review Dan.

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