Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala


Today is the official release of the latest version of Ubuntu, the most popular Linux-based operating system. Someone mentioned that there had been a new release of the Windows OS recently and if you’re thinking of going with that one, we feel you should a least give Ubuntu a try. Now in its 11th official release and codenamed Karmic Koala, this version of Ubuntu continues the traditional six month development cycle by succeeding Jaunty Jackalope which was released in April of this year.

We’ve been running the beta release of Ubuntu Netbook Remix for several weeks now. It cut boot time down to between 5-10 seconds and WiFi is already connected by the time the Desktop loads. Speed isn’t the only new feature, graphics have been redesigned, there is a new app store that serves as a front end for the extensive free software repositories, and the newest kernel and software versions are included.

We’ve been using this open source operating system since its third release, Breezy Badger. We love it for the quality, convenience, and the fact that we can get our fingers into the code and hack around a bit.

108 thoughts on “Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

  1. I have been running since last week when the release candidate was posted. This release is fast, pretty, and stable. Stability has been an issue since Gutsy (though even the worst Ubuntu release has been more stable than any Windows release).

    Minor annoyances are:
    Flash has been buggy on the 64-bit version. Flash is displayed but I can not interact with flash buttons. That makes youtube a bit annoying, I can start a video but no rewind/fast forward/pause.

  2. I’ve tried Ubuntu a few times, and I’ve really tried to like it, but I can’t. I keep going back to Windows. James’ comment about problems with Flash highlights why: things just don’t work on Linux.

    As for Windows’ stability: I’ve never had problems with it. I have a firewall, I don’t have anti-virus software, and I haven’t been infected by a virus since I got my first PC in 1980. I honestly don’t know what people are complaining about.

  3. Bob, I agree with you and have similar feelings. I have seen what the big deal is, and I always find myself trying out each new ubuntu release, and then finding that something does not want to work.

    Then the solution requires a whole new skill set just to make a web cam or printer function.

    XP Professional isint going to leave my computers anytime soon it would seem.

  4. Ubuntu tries to be like Windows and OSX and in my mind, that’s not what linux is about. Linux’s power comes from the command line, not from using a GUI to do even the most basic of tasks.

  5. @Chip, I respect your decision, but it is equally vexing in the opposite perspective: when you have an engineering degree and program for a living (I’m not implying you don’t, I have no idea) and you use windows and see a very basic component malfunction (i.e. destabilization due to spyware, or many of the typical annoyances with proprietary software like “it doesn’t do this with the $50 version, for that you need the $100 version which expires in 1 year” ) it pisses you off to no end. You wonder, “why can’t a huge company fix a basic problem like [this]”. To me, the Linux annoyances are understandable, whereas MS has no excuse to bumble on certain things.

  6. Linux has its annoyances. They are the learning curve and the online support (google.com). Linux is a great operating system though. If you would rather spend $250 on Windows than use google to troubleshoot problems with Linux, then go for it. It’s your money. I’ll keep the money and use Kubuntu. It still gives you the power of the command line with the convenience of a GUI for simple tasks.
    The thing with Linux…when you have a problem, there are thousands of others with the same problem. You do a google search for the problem and find a solution. It is usually as simple as cut and paste commands to fix it. Or maybe just download the latest version of flash and insert it in the proper browser folder.

  7. Honestly I can argue that a good GUI beats a command line any day. A good GUI includes a command line for batch files, scripts and what not. I havent seen a good command line to date. Cisco IOS sucks, Linux sucks, Windows Sucks. That said, XP has the best GUI available so far, and runs what I want to run.

    I wont be going to Win7 anytime soon, not with the problems I’ve seen on our media center(s) (one is Vista SP1 and one is Win7RC)

    You should be able to do everything just as fast in the GUI as the console, or you did something wrong. Key presses count as button pushes, so do the math.

  8. @Bob
    “I don’t have anti-virus software, and I haven’t been infected by a virus”

    Good to know AV software is pointless. Unless of course, not all viruses are designed to completely fuck things up. Some viruses, shockingly, were crafted to make money.

    You could be part of a botnet, how would you know?

  9. ” I don’t have anti-virus software, and I haven’t been infected by a virus since I got my first PC in 1980″

    Are you serious? With the tens of thousands of virus’ floating around, you can honestly say you have never had one when you have no real way of detecting them?

  10. So, Linux grew on me. Like many others I simply refused saying “I don’t want to dick around with permissions, and trying to find drivers to make this, that or the other work”. I’ve since grown up.

    I realised that as will all things Open Source it is the community that drives it. You pick any decent open source piece of software, and behind it you don’t find a team of paid developers being told what bits of new code to add, you find a group of people who enjoy what they do, more than likely have a huge stake in the software (probably because it grew out of a need for something they were passionate about) and if you are not afraid of getting your hands a little dirty, fixes can be made VERY quickly.

    There are two types of people out there, consumers and Linux users. :P

  11. One of the cool things I find about linux is the support for slower systems. Each version of window uses more RAM and CPU then the previous version requireing the user to buy a better system if they want to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Windows. But with Ubuntu you have always been able to install the latest version on small systems that you used in the 90’s. Maybe you will not beable to use Compiz, and it will be very watered down, but you will still have an up to date OS running. With Windows you will have both the cost of the new computer and the OS. But you can always plan ahead and build a computer that will support new versions Windows but then again you might not have the money to do that.


  12. @Bob et. al. I understand you desire not to complicate you life with Another set of stuff. I make my money from cleaning up widows issues. Since moving to linux I have been able to do something that was always a nightmare with windows AUTOMATION. PXE booting,

    automatic windows installs, offline reading and modification of the windows registry, network ntfscloning, offline virus scan etc. Almost have offline user migration, almost fully scripted. Try doing that with windows, it becomes mess quickly. Doing it from linux, it starts off mess and evolves into a solution. Document what you do and evolve it into a script, after a while you only have to start the appropriate script.

    Anyone into getting more out of their systems, needs to look at linux.

    The other cool thing is all the cruft thats put into windows make you buy up the windows food chain, and not their competitors, isnt there.

    Its such a relief….

  13. I tried to use Ubuntu a few years back until an ‘automatic’ software update botched my system completely and rendered my machine useless for several days while the moderators of the forums bumbled around making excuses. I think that the ‘forced development cycle’ is rather pointless if you can’t keep out major bugs like that. I’ll admit that small bugs will make their way in regardless of design rigor, but that was a bit much.

    Which is why Debian still wins hands down.. ;)

  14. I’ve been running Kubuntu Karmic since Alpha 6, and it was stable even then. It runs laps around Jaunty due to the newer kernel (which I required due to software RAID problems, patched in 2.6.30). Also, Amarok2 and digiKam 1.0 only run on Karmic, not Jaunty (without some kernel hacking).

    So hey, Amarok2, digiKam 1.0, and no software raid problems? It’s worth it.

  15. Two things are keeping a windows partition on my drive.

    First is DirectX. Wine just doesn’t cut it for games. There seams to always be quirks or the game just won’t run. OpenCL isn’t really a good enough substitute for most developers to choose it over Microsoft’s offerings.

    The second is that with Windows I get to talk to the hot sounding Indian chick every time I have to activate a fresh install, someday she will marry me.

    I was amazed with Ubuntu the last time I swapped hardware around. I swapped motherboards, turned the power on and went to get coffee to get me through installing two OS’s. When I came back it was at the gnome desktop working as well as ever, windows failed miserably as I was expecting it to.

  16. A couple of people have asked me how I know my system isn’t infected, since I don’t run with AV software.

    1) I do an AV scan about once a year, and it never finds anything. 2) Microsoft now has its Malicious Software tool, which is updated once a month and never finds anything on my system. 3) My firewall (ZoneAlarm) requires I authorize every app that talks on the net, so I assume that would detect if my PC were on a botnet.

    I’m required to have AV software running at my work, and it’s never detected anything either. I’ve concluded that if you’re savvy enough to know what not to download, and to run Firefox and Thunderbird, viruses just aren’t a big threat.

  17. So, Windows grew on me. Like many others I simply refused saying “I don’t want to dick around with permissions dialogs, and trying to find good antivirus software so my computer continues to work”. I’ve since grown up.

    I realised that as will all things Closed Source it is the community that drives it. You pick any decent closed source piece of software, and behind it you don’t find a team of unpaid developers arbitrarily deciding what bits of new code to add, you find a group of people who are being paid for what they do, more than likely have a huge stake in the software (probably because they have stock in the company that sells it) and if you are not afraid of enabling automatic updates, fixes can be made VERY quickly.

    There are two types of people out there, neckbeards and Windows users. :P

  18. Hey guys. Long time reader.

    I’m an Ubuntu Member / Dev Monkey.

    How is this a hack? I read this for hard hacks, not software reviews. I _clearly_ care about the release, and I have worked countless hours in the community, and on Karmic.

    Please bring back the old hackaday. This is getting lame.

  19. I really don’t understand the animosity between the Linux and Windows worlds. Is it really a competition? If Bob likes Windows, why should we argue with him?

    And I really think that people who see Linux as a “Windows Alternative” are missing the best parts of both operating systems.

    I’m a Slackware user and I use Linux because of the Unix Philosophy, not because I think there are problems with Windows. In fact, as a gamer and software developer I also have some Windows machines and, like Bob, have kept them all free of viruses for over a decade. (I know because I run monthly scans with ClamAV.)

    Use Linux because you want *nix. Otherwise just learn to keep your Windows box clean.

  20. Linux Ubuntu is great, much more easy to use than Windows.

    I have friends that for hacking with Arduino have to install a lot of drivers, like the ones for FTDI IC, for the serialusb. On Linux ubuntu you don’t need to install that drivers and others! it’s just plug the usb devices and they work! — much more quick and easy.

    Linux Ubuntu it’s a paradise for hackers ;-)

  21. Ubuntu Linux is an awesome hack. Please submit more hacks like this. I wish hackaday were more like freshmeat and update us on all sorts of software releases. I feel you should a least give it a try.

  22. @xoring

    It isn’t just about viruses. Windows itself has never been built well. Its bloatware built on top of bloatware. And don’t even get me started on how Microsoft has never had an original idea of their own.

    Linux isn’t yet the true alternative to windows, only because Microshaft insists on bullying everyone into bowing to their ‘standards’. But its getting very close. With every new user and every upgrade its becoming a more viable alternative.

  23. Just thought I’d add my $0.02….

    I switched from Windows XP to Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) about 5 months ago, not too long after the last release. I didn’t switch because I ‘hated’ windows/Microsoft/Bill Gates/whatever. I no longer had access to a valid (read legal) windows license, and didn’t want to shell out the money for one.

    My motivation was strictly based on the cost of the OS’s (Windows XP > $100, Ubuntu Free).

  24. I’m a software engineer, so I understand the implications of bloatware. But when I sit down to write text, manipulate images, etc., I simply don’t care. Fast hardware is cheap, and performance is satisfactory.

    What I do care about is that Photoshop is better than GIMP (IMO), the buttons work for Flash, I can give the MS Word documents to other people without worrying about formatting surprises, etc.

    I won’t dispute the bloatware criticism. But it won’t convince me to switch.

  25. If I didn’t play video games and have to interact with windows systems (yes there’s no capitol because it doesn’t deserve one) during the course of my duties as a pen tester/sec analyst I would never even touch it. I have Linux on 4 of my 5 systems and only the wife and son use windows for games they play that I can’t beat wine over the head enough to make work.

    God I can’t wait to convert them over as well, I might just buy a new console system for games and tell them to suck it up =P

  26. Nearly 20 years on, and we’re still having this windows -v gnu/linux debate.
    Once most ordinary joe users get into the mind set that they don’t really need to care about the actual operating system they use, it will be easier to dump windows and use linux. Forget the OS and concentrate on the apps.
    1. Browsers, another holy war in itself. Even the most ardent windows follower will happily use a non MS alternative (Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari)
    2. Email client: hell, most people have long since abandoned Outlook, and most probably use a web bases email outside of work.
    3. IM client: hmmmm, did MS even get around creating one of their own yet?
    4. PDF
    5. .doc, .xls, .ppt You don’t need to confine yourself to MS product for these, Open Office will handle all of these formate and much much more.

    6. Apache, THE standard when it comes to web serving. For a brief time, even MS hosted their website on Apache after one too many server crashes/denial of service attacks on them.

    Companies like google have a customized version of Ubuntu on all their desktops.

    For most people, this is about as deep into the Operating system as they will ever go, once more people realize this, it will be easier to take that final step, and by the same computer for less by opting for the pre install of Ubuntu instead of the the MS windows options.

  27. Bob:”A few people have mentioned that, whenever they run into a problem with Linux, they can find a solution through Google. The same is usually true of Windows problems.”

    The other day I found a bug in a library. The solution? Two commands and I had the source code downloaded, one file edit to correct the bug, two commands more to compile and install.

    How can someone who defines himself as a hacker be comfortable in something so restrictive as Windows?

  28. @IceBrain

    Do you hack your multimeter? Your soldering iron? Do you hack your wrenches and screwdrivers? An operating system is a tool, and if it performs its function well enough, then I won’t mess with it. Personally, I’ve never witnessed a library bug using Windows–perhaps that’s a Linux thing?

  29. We just released a fleet of netbooks running Karmic 9.10 NBR. In the corporate word of windows I think that’s still “hack” worthy.

    What’s even better, the “hack” that the IT dept used to fix the only issue(ish) thing that has came up.

    Releasing a fleet of anything on windows has been and will always be riddled with little “windows” issues.

    Open source will have theirs too, but in the past couple years, they’ve cut that down, a lot. Add to that the quicker ability of software workarounds or fixes – not having to wait for another company to write something – and adoption is accelerating.

    Word out to the BSD comment though – an important part of Open Source is that kernel diversity. The fonzy reference is a bit close to accurate too. Ubuntu probably isn’t a hack for this crowd.

    I’m sure they’ve all been using Linux for a while now…

  30. for years i wanted a linux sustem, but because of my restriction to dial-up internet, i could never do anything with the os once installed. once i finally got DSL, i headed straight for ubuntu. after weeks of searching google, posting on forums, and pulling my hair out, i gave up and went back to xp.

    for me, at least, the learning curve was so great that it was impossible to complete even the most basic computing functions without searching online for a solution. i never figured out how to mount an external hard drive, never got wine to run any programs that accessed the dvd drive, never could get my mouse’s middle button to work, etc. linux might be a great os for developers, software engineers, and IT pros, but for anyone who’s not interested in typing commands into the command prompt that they copied from a google search, i say that windows and mac are the only choice so far.
    show me a linux distro that can run windows executibles in a VM without fuss, utilize hardware such as modems, media keyboards and mice and external drives without user intervention beyond selection of make/model, and one that only requires user command line intervention when a GUI component is malfunctioning. if there is one out there, so help me god, i would switch tonight. i’m all for open source, but only when the software is useful, and for me i still haven’t found a linux distro that is.

  31. It’s not that I think Windows is fine as it is. Of course it has it’s problems (so does Linux).

    My point is that by categorizing Linux as a “Windows alternative” you’re missing the grander picture, and coloring the argument in favor of Windows. Simple proof: Ubuntu. It’s one of the most bloated and inconsistent Linux distros because it’s focused on being a “Windows alternative”.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have Slackware and Gentoo which clearly care more about leveraging the power of UNIX heritage rather than providing a an alternative to Windows users. As a result their distributions are leaner and more stable.

    Trying to make Linux into a “better Windows” will just cause Linux to inherit the same problems as Windows because people will have the wrong expectations from the onset.

    Linux began as an alternative to UNIX and it has succeeded in leveraging the strengths of UNIX and even extending them.

    Use Linux because you want *nix; not because you want a better Windows.

  32. I really don’t understand why some people are saying that Ubuntu somehow defies what linux is all about, and that the GUI is useless- First off, the entire idea of linux is not “about” anything, it’s about everything. If Linux was only about the CLI – just one central ideal interface and structure – then it would be no better than the world of windows. Linux is ABOUT variety. What the user wants, what the user IS. So stop complaining that ubuntu is a windows copycat- it isn’t, and if you don’t like it, that’s because it’s not your flavor of linux. Don’t force your ideals upon others as if they were complete noobs for enjoying a GUI- it just so happens you can enjoy and have both, cohabiting on the same system, at the same time.

    And for the record, your argument is invalid and out of context- look up the meaning of the name “Ubuntu” and why it was applied to the distro in the first place.

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