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. @and i’m a pc
    Um… when’s the last time you’ve tried ubuntu? I remember just a few years ago I had to sacrifice a chicken to get wireless working. Last night, however, I installed 9.10 on several computers (netbook, laptop, and desktop), and everything worked out of the box.

  2. Bob said “What I do care about is that Photoshop is better than GIMP”

    Photoshop CS4 is $298.85, how can that be better then free? What kind of additional features does it add for $300? I know what id expect for that kind of money, and a piece of software cant do it.

    gringeteh said “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”

    are you serious? all these dev’s are just a bunch of tools, randomly adding code here and there willy-nilly.

  3. I used openBSD for awhile years ago. Jesus that is a tuff nut to crack…Now the installs don’t take three days and two other computers to figure out, but i still wont migrate off of windows. My system is clean and efficient. All my computers always have been. Know your system and you wont wonder why about a problem anymore, you just know. The problem i have with linux systems is how much time it takes to get anything to work. Its gets old real fast. The automation is great and you can do alot with it. I just don’t do any of those things. I don’t have youthful enthusiasm anymore. I can’t just say, ‘hey im gonna make my own web crawler today because its fun’ and then stay up all night doing it. I need a reason. A real reason. All I do on my computer anymore is read and play games. Sure linux has games, but I can’t play l4d2 competitively on it now can I?

  4. I agree with the earlier poster that these windows vs. linux arguments have been played out before. If you are a windows user who is not switching, congratulations, you posts add so much value to this discussion. If you want to shell out handfulls of cash to get an OS that works no better than this free one, go ahead nobody is stopping you. However do not say that windows is better in any way. I use both linux and windows at work and have both a windows and linux computer at home. Over the past few years distros like fedora and ubuntu have made huge advances and I now find them easier to use and much more stable than windows. I used to have to transfer some files off the linux box onto the windows box to access the files. I have had no problems opening files (office and the like) in linux. Also, I rarely have to install a driver unlike windows. I just plug a device in and it usually works. If I do need some software I can usually find a free version in the distros repository so I dont have to run to the store and dish out even more money for software. Is it perfect, heck no, but the linux annoyance list has now gotten much shorter than the windows annoyance list.

  5. Oh and my stance on open source software…I have both gimp and photoshop. Gimp is a pain, photoshop is not. Doesn’t hurt that I know someone that uses it for a living. The only open source software that is on par with its proprietary counterpart is openoffice. I’ll stop using that when you tear it away from my died twice, frozen, brain encrusted hands.

    I say again. If you know your system, you will never have problems you cant fix. Windows definitely included (loved windows ME, still have it on a p3).

  6. This is where the drunk friend says, “Dude, are you going to let him talk to you that way?”

    Whatever. I use XP for the apps that run best on XP and I use linux for the stuff that runs best on linux. Having said that, my crescent wrench is DEFINITELY better than my caliper and don’t let him tell you otherwise.

  7. *nix is great because you can change everything on the system, often times by simple altering a text file. Like “nano ~/.bashrc” and you can alter the way your shell will act. Change everything from color coding to adding new aliases & variables. Write scripts using bash commands rather than an advanced language and cut down on development time.

    I really don’t know if you can get deep down into the system on a Windows box like you can in *nix, but then most people don’t need or want to.

    For the most part the different distributions are only skin deep, underneath its still Linux.

    As for me, still waiting for F12. >:)

  8. I agree with so many of you, but I agree with letting this flamefest die much much more.

    I think TALR has the right idea about Linux being for everyone. Linux isn’t a cappuccino – it’s all coffee! ;)

    @linus: Price is just one factor in what makes something better. Photoshop has more features(don’t ask me to list them) which is a plus. It’s also more stable. On the other hand, it has draconian DRM and is expensive.

    Weigh out the pros and cons and decide if software is for you. For most home users, the price is a HUGE negative, enough to make GIMP the obvious choice – but perhaps not for businesses.

    Unlike you, I don’t tell people what they should think. Your disbelief that anything could be better than GIMP astounds me. I try to point out pros and cons and let people decide on matters themselves, because everyone has different requirements.

  9. You open the update manager and it shows an Upgrade button. You don’t get options like encrypting the home directory, or grub 2. However you can install these yourself if you desire.

  10. >>”Photoshop CS4 is $298.85, how can that be better then free?”

    When you’ve lost numerous working hours to usability glitches and poor user interfaces, that “free” thing actually starts to have negative value. $300 is cheap even if it just saves you from all the rage you get with GIMP.

    It’s the difference between buying furniture from a store and dumpster diving for planks and board. One way gets you free furniture, and the other way gets you nice furniture that don’t look like they belong in a punk rocker’s bedroom.

    Btw. have any of you noticed how the sound controls in Ubuntu seem to be more and more buggy every time they “improve” it? In 9.04 I could at least get all of my speakers to work with a bit of twiddling, but in 9.10 the control panel for sound is simply a clusterfuck of fail. The 5.1 configuration options give a nice flanger effect when I try to pan the sound between front and rear speakers. It seems they just went from bad to worse with Pulseaudio.

  11. Nothing personal to Hackaday, but I have removed you from my Google Feed Reader. I will certainly come back and check the site every so often, but I keep getting overwhelmed with RSS updates that aren’t the kind of hacks that made me follow in the first place.

    You guys running the site are great, and the content is usually pretty interesting, but it seems the site has shifted from “digital hacks” to “interesting technology”. Both of these are interesting, but only the first one keeps me coming back every day.

  12. HA HA HA The OS so good they can’t give it away lol. Linux is still a ways away from me dropping a box off at my grandma’s house and not worrying. I guess it would be cool because she would not be able to install ANY software without learning a handful of code first. So everybody get on your XP machines and DL the latest version of bloat (yes linux is getting fat in the pants these days). Besides that, my wife damn near left me after dual booting her laptop. Her exact words,”so is it a desktop program or something because that is all i see it do.” No honey you dumb bitch, you simply have to open a console type in a bunch of random letters with pluses and minuses after and hit enter. And thanks to all of the linux open sourcers who still find time to write virii for Windows amongst their busy forum schedule. My final verdict: Linux will be friendly enough for the living room by 2012 and will neatly coincide with the end of the world simply becase someone hit a random -d instead of being able to just push OK.

  13. After 19+ years in the I/T biz I can easily say that all O/S suck and all O/S have their purposes and all O/S are useful to somebody. So elitism gets nobody anywhere unless you’re a MAFIAA member or high in government or big business. Proliferating the War of the Operating Systems helps nobody. If you like it and can live with it then use it.

    Personally I have one Windows machine for the Cisco educational stuff and other minor non-replicatable apps and Mac+Linux+NetBSD+OpenBSD for everything else. My wife and child use Windows on their ThinkPads. Use what works for you. [/rant]

    That said I kind of agree that a new Linux distro version is not a hack and doesn’t belong here. I heard about the release from a number of other places – I don’t need to hear about it here.

  14. It is so a hack! Or at least Ubuntu has been screwing up something new with every release since 7.10 (I run Fluxbox, as Linux is supposedly about choices and bloat aside, I hate the current Gnome and KDE). I’ll probably give it a try but I’ve been thinking that since I’m already hacking config files I haven’t seen since 2004, I might as well run Slackware and at least get a fast system.

    That new windows is actually rather sweet, though the new movie maker doesn’t like my video card.

  15. I use VMware player on a Vista Box I can run virtual machines and Alt Tab between the machines running since these Linux type O/S’s are low taxing on the CPU I notice no Lack of performance on this method. I run Gnome, Backtrack4, VISTA, Serve2003, and I’m about to Test drive this new release of Ubuntu. So Why not get what you want out of all these worlds?

  16. … and as for photoshop… GIMP is not a photoshop replacement! That should be obvious to anyone who’s used both. It’s more than good enough for most people and way better value than Elements (and while it works a bit differently, if you have a brain it’s no harder to learn from scratch than PS and in some ways I prefer the interface) … but if you’re a photographer or a designer PS does a number of important things that GIMP can’t, and a whole lot of other things a lot more easily.

  17. This is funny. The typical internet triangle of debate: “1. Mine’s better. 2. No! Mine’s better. 3. WOULD YOU TWO SHUT UP NEITHER ONE IS BETTER!”

    Anyway. I use Ubuntu for my main systems and an XP virtual machine for my industry specific software.

  18. daler:
    “Um… when’s the last time you’ve tried ubuntu? I remember just a few years ago I had to sacrifice a chicken to get wireless working. Last night, however, I installed 9.10 on several computers (netbook, laptop, and desktop), and everything worked out of the box.”

    I lol’ed. I can definitely agree with the “few years ago thing”. Ubuntu has been doing a much better job of late with working straight out of the box.

  19. I use a bit of everything in terms of operating systems, I use them what they’re needed for and which is easiest for me to maintain support for my clients systems.

    Windows – XP/Server 2003/Server 2008/Se7en
    Unix – NetBSD/FreeBSD/Mac OS X/Mac OS X Server
    Linux – Debian/Ubuntu/Redhat

    I’m very much of the opinion if it works for you then use it. However one operating system I refuse to touch unless I really really have to, …Windows Vista… now we can all agree that was an abomination! :D

  20. What I like most about Ubuntu is the user community.

    I can find fixes for things that are broken much faster on Ubuntu than I can on any other Linux distribution and certainly faster than I could on Windows.

  21. I know I won’t be able to add much to a “Windows vs. Linux” debate, and that whatever I add will be of little use, but still… I would like to make some points worth considering before making such comparisons:

    1) OS vs external agents. A good example are games, Photoshop or AutoCAD. Windows can’t be considered “better” because more SW is developed for it. SW companies make games and programs for Windows because they see a bigger market and thus more profit. Period. If suddenly they made games only for Linux, it would become “better”? External agents should be that: external. If someone coerces you to choose an orange over an apple, you could abide. But you could never say that “because” of that, oranges are better (or worse).

    2) Particular cases vs. the general case. It is heart-touching that some Windows users claim to be virus-free even without an antivirus. But let’s keep perspective. Virtually all malware out there exploit weaknesses in Windows, not Linux. Virtually all botnets are Windows machines. Virtually all mission-critical machines in banks or governments use Unix or some derivative, not Windows (no, I don’t have sources for my statistics, but we all know them to be true). Particular cases are just bits in the general statistic, which is the data that counts.

    3) Relative vs. absolute numbers. One could argue that Windows suffers more malware than Linux because it’s more extended: Windows has more users and more malware. However, comparing two sets of absolute numbers with a different base is of little use. Now, how prominent is the malware incidence *relative* to its user base? Linux users being around 1% of the total computer users is a common estimate, so it is a safe assumption that Windows has between 50 and 200 times more users than Linux. Let’s say 200. Now, Windows is infected with 200 times more trojans or viruses (only) than Linux? There are (only) 200 times more Windows botnets? On the “good” side: there is 200 times more software for Windows? (remember Debian alone has over 25k packages) There are 200 times more Windows computers in the top500.org than Linux ones (from the top of my head, like >80% Linux, <1% Windows)? Why is it that the relative numbers are below 200x for the "good" things, and above 200x for the "bad" things?

  22. @Jack:

    I’m obviously feeding a troll here, but don’t you think your very comment is an insult to your fellow Windows users? Your resort to name calling for blatant lack of arguments might undermine the position of other Windows users who *do* have arguments against me, or Linux, or pro-Windows.

  23. I have installed this release on my acer laptop along my vista ultimate edition and so for no real problems to mention other then the flash issues everyone seems to be having. other then that it is very stable and asthetically pleasing.

  24. Definately a Ubuntu fan. As for it being a hack, maybe not. However, you can hack the crap out of ubuntu down to every last character of code. I don’t know how much of Windows code can be modified by the average user. Also ubuntu can be used as a hack, for example the live CD can be used for recovery or as a benchmark for testing hardware. There are definately better distro’s based on one’s needs though. Puppy linux is my personal favorite. Fully functional OS in a 100MB ISO. I see this as relevant to this website because think of all the applications that Ubuntu can be used for. Like many others have said it’s a tool, and a lot of the hacks are how to make or acquire tools. But then again this audience may not be the right crowd since most hackers probably learned code on a *nix terminal. Like telling a bunch of carpenters that there is this thing called a saw and it cuts stuff.
    Side note, I wonder just out of humor how many windows viruses were written and compiled on a *nix machine.

  25. to all the haters out there that think it takes some miracle to make something work in ubuntu, i have this release, and it is fairly simple if you are anything more than a brainless window licker who bought a mac cause commercials tell you they’re better. i mean seriously, even getting things to work in windows is harder than with ubuntu 9.10. it’s called synaptic package manager. it can find anything and everything to fix or tweak your computer. my logitech mouse wasn’t working, so i loaded my sunaptic, typed logitech, read the description for the files i could choose, and installed the right ones. on windows you would have to look for the files yourself. it doesn’t get much easier or user friendly than linux. karmic koala has my vote.

  26. hfourexe, you’re missing the point. Windows users never have to deal with “my logitech mouse wasn’t working”. Logitech mice always work on Windows.

    Of course, that’s not because Windows is better than Linux. It’s because Logitech works very hard to make sure their mice will always work on Windows.

    But from the end user’s point of view: he can get a free OS where he might have painful hassles with the mouse, the video driver, the Flash player, etc. Or he can spend $150 or whatever and have the hardware “just work”.

    I’m a software engineer. I hack electronics and firmware for fun. I’m not a “brainless window licker”. But I’m more than happy to pay some money to avoid hassles with my PC hardware.

  27. Very good point on the mouse thing, Bob! However, I think that you also miss one point. When you pay 150$ to “avoid hassles” and use Windows, you are paying more than money. You are paying with your freedom, and you are paying by degrading the development prospects in IT. The outrage or mock the previous sentence could cause in the reader stresses the carelessness and unconsciousness with which that is done.

    You pay with your freedom, because not only you abide by draconian EULAs, but you also fall in an spiral of dependence of MS and MS-compatible products. You will have to buy whatever they put in front of you. If MS chooses to obsolesce your current Windows version, you’ll have to buy the next one. If the new version requires new hardware, you will have to buy it. If MS decides that Windows will not be compatible with such and such protocol or software (e.g. different command line shells, or file systems beyond NTFS) that’s that, you have no say.

    You also hinder IT development because MS is not there to make the World a happy place. They are there for the money (which I don’t criticize, but I feel no need to dance to their tune either). Consider the following: if current Windows supports say 1GB hard disks, and suddenly MS discovers how to support 1PB, rest assured that next Windows version will not support beyond 1TB. Then, the following one will support 1PB. If they can charge you twice for the same development cost, they will. Of course, since “everyone uses Windows”, the hardware makers will not produce HDs beyond 1TB until Windows supports them, even though Linux (or Mac, or BSD…) could use them.

    None of these two “costs” are paid with free software.

  28. Look at the footprint. Vista by itself can take up more than 16GB, and thats just system files, no flash, java, codecs… but Puppy linux on the other hand takes up 105MB and has all of those.
    And where are you people finding these mice that don’t work out of the box? I use the Ubuntu live CD’s all the time for recovery work and I have yet to come across a mouse that didn’t work out of the box.

  29. OK… I am not a brainiac, I use several O.S. on all sorts of machines. There are pros and cons for all the O.S. out there. I bought a $50.00 laptop from our it dept. that was set-up for win98 – touchpad was non-functioning, sound was not working, O.S. was unstable.
    I installed puppylinux and everything works great. I also have a re-furb. desktop with AMD processor dual-booting Vista 64bit and Ubuntu 9.10. – I am frustrated that there is no flash support for my sys. However, I love the ability to switch back and forth due to program compatibility issues. I personally prefer irfanview in windows over gimp in linux just because I am still a bit lazy! I find valid points in all of these arguments, HOWEVER, open-source still is the winner hands down as far as freedom goes. just a newbie

  30. Inaki: I don’t have to buy a new OS when MS obsoletes the old one. I only have to buy if I want the new features.

    The problem of new hardware not working with old Windows is a driver problem: one that Linux faces too. My headaches with Linux video and WiFi drivers, and a previous poster’s experience with mouse (mouse!!) drivers vouch for that. Granted, the availability of hardware drivers for Windows doesn’t mean Windows is better; it just means the user experience is better.

    A previous pro-Linux poster conceded that GIMP is not a good substitute for Photoshop (which I’ve experienced too). Other pro-Linux posters conceded Flash doesn’t work right.

    I love the freedom Linux gives. The first time I used Ubuntu, I was dazzled by how much free software there was and how easy it was to get it. But the bottom line was: I couldn’t get my work (and play) done.

    My computer is a tool, and I’m a mercenary with no OS loyalty. I’ll be happy to switch to Linux when it allows me to accomplish everything I can with Windows.

  31. Hi Bob, I agree with most of what you say. However, I disagree with the naive statement that you only buy a new Windows when you want the new features. That is simply not true.

    Since “everybody uses Windows”, and since MS presses hard so that all new computers come with the latest Windows preinstalled, it is really hard to avoid the new Windows enter the market. MS creates, willingly, incompatibilities between the new and the old versions, disguising them as “improvements”. Typically users of the new Windows can interact with the old Windows, but not the other way around. Once a company starts receiving from their partners PowerPoints and DOCs in the new format, they are almost forced to switch to the new Windows, which supports the new Office, which can read the new DOCs. Once the company you work for sends you info in the new DOC format, and you can’t read it at home, or all your friends who bought a laptop with the new Windows preinstalled (willingly or not) send you a funny PowerPoint you can’t open because you have the “old” Office (assuming you care for forwarded PowerPoints), you start to consider switching to the new Windows yourself.

    After some time, even the hardware is made specifically for the new Windows, and it could not work in your old Windows. Even software (that is, games) is made for the new Windows. Quickly enough, you are stuck with either keeping your current hardware and software, or “upgrading” to the new Windows to access the new ones. Then, you “upgrade” Windows so the new camera you bought works on it, and end up buying a new CPU and more RAM because otherwise Windows won’t work. ¿Sounds familiar to any reader? Not to any Linux user, I bet.

    MS lives from forcing each new software version upon the society, so they will make their best to make the life of those who don’t “upgrade” miserable. More so against those who don’t even use Windows. And each and every copy of Windows in use (bought or “pirated”, it doesn’t matter) is one more gram of gunpowder in their arsenal.

  32. Hi Inaki,

    All your issues about hardware drivers and Microsoft Office updates are more damaging to Linux than they are to Windows. Linux HW drivers are usually available later than Windows drivers, are lower quality, and are not as well supported by the manufacturer. And if you care about 100% compatibility with MS Office, Linux isn’t even an option.

    Meanwhile, although XP is 8 years old, Office will support it for at least another 5 years (the lifetime of Office 2010) and hardware vendors are still supporting it. So are gaming software companies.

    It’s true I can’t experience the joy of using Windows ME with the latest hardware and software. So I need to pay money to avoid using an 11 year old OS. It’s worth it to me.

    I realize all the strikes against Linux are due to its market share compared to Windows. And I’m cheering for Linux – I really am. But I’m tired of Linux lovers treating Microsoft as evil and Windows users as brain damaged. There are compelling reasons to use Windows, and Linux simply can’t counter them yet.

    When I was younger, I refused to buy an S-100 8080 based PC because I wanted the cleaner architecture of a 6809. Back then, I was willing to endure a lack of software and hardware for the philosophical joy of using a superior system. I’m too old for that now. I’m using a crappy x86 with a badly architected operating system. But it does what I want it to.

  33. Bob, you say that the issues I mention are more damaging to Linux (and it’s users) than to Windows users. It’s just reasonable that the bulk of “evil” tactics from MS aims to hurt users of other systems, to benefit their own (system, not users).

    But I fail to see how some points I mention do not harm Windows users. How do forced software upgrades not harm you? How does being forced to buy new hardware not harm you? How does dosification (“dosed” release) of software and hardware novelties not harm you? They hurt us all alike!

    One could argue that each Windows release requiring faster and bigger machines has indeed boosted the CPU/RAM/HD development. Well, sadly that’s simply a myth. Windows requiring increasingly more powerful machines has allowed hw makers to market new hw that *just* supports the new Windows. And with that, they had their sales assured, no need to develop further. E.g., if Windows N requires 1GB of RAM, and two years later Windows N+1 requires 2GB of RAM, hw makers can spend the 2 years developing just the 1GB increase in RAM, and expect to sell their stuff. If Windows N+1 didn’t require (read “force the user to buy”) 2GB of RAM, but just 1GB, then the hw makers would need to give the market something more meaty than a mere 2x increase in RAM so that it would appeal so much to the customers that they would buy it. Small improvements would not be sexy enough to afford marketing them.

  34. The forced software upgrade problem is exaggerated. Windows XP, released in 2001, will be able to run the latest MS Office until at least 2014. XP runs the latest hardware and will continue to do so for at least a couple more years. I’m satisfied with that lifetime.

    And doesn’t Linux have the same issue? Does a Linux kernel from 1999 run today’s hardware and software? The issue is not obsolescence, the issue is that MS charges and Ubuntu doesn’t. My pain is not in having to upgrade, but in having to pay. And $150 every 12 years is acceptable to me (that amortizes to $12.50/year).

    As for Office’s new .docx format: “evil” Microsoft offers a free compatibility pack so that people who are using Office 2000 or 2003 can read and write the files. No one who bought Office since 1999 is being forced to upgrade before at least 2014.

    As for requiring faster CPUs and more RAM: people buy them more for playing DVDs, playing Flash, playing high-frame rate games, producing videos, etc., than they do for supporting the latest OS. Linux isn’t magic; it won’t let you watch HD video on a 500MHz Pentium with 512MB RAM any better than Windows will.

    A more damaging argument against Windows is that when I want to buy a new computer (so I can watch HD video or play Crysis) I need to buy a new Windows OS. This is, in fact, the only time I buy Windows, and it’s once every 3 or 4 years. And yes, I’m annoyed that I can’t (legally) transfer my OS from one PC to another.

  35. For those of you having trouble with flash buttons in Ubuntu 9.10, install libadns1 from synaptic, though it may be fixed by now.

    Just something Canonical overlooked I guess.

    If you hate linux though, and want to pretend you need the command line, use

    sudo apt-get install libadns1

    or better yet, why dont you grab the source code and compile it.

    To those new to Ubuntu, or perhaps interested:

    Ignore the guy ranting about telling his wife she needs the command line. There are no productivity, internet, or fun apps that need the command line. They are all pre-installed, or can be installed with one of THREE GUIs, and they all start, operate, and stop with a mouse.

    They are all nicely sorted in the menus.

    Linux isnt MSDOS.

  36. Thank you Alan!
    my flash works!
    and thats why i love Ubuntu
    Alan says get N file to fix flash…10 seconds later my flash works…when i upgraded from 9.04 to 9.10 it took a while downloading…BUT did i need disks? or to back up? or for that matter new hardware? hell no because its written better.
    if i want games i can go use whats called a video game console…kinda what they are made for…
    also there is alot of people that hate M$ dues to xbox too…like vista its paying way too much for something thats gonna break and is locked down (read xbox banning) you dont see wii users getting banned for the SD card hacks do ya?
    (then again you dont see good games on the wii either …IMHO)

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