New Ubuntu Karmic Koala: The 6 features I was waiting for

by Jakub Zalas on 29th October 2009

ubuntu-logoUbuntu 9.10, code name Karmic Koala, has just been released. It not only includes the usual improvements and updates but comes with a lot of new stuff. Some components of the system were completely replaced with modern equivalents. A complete overview is available on the Ubuntu website. Here I will describe the 6 features I have been waiting for.

1. Boot time

Booting Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Booting Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

Koala boots really fast. All thanks to Upstart which replaced the old System-V init. Upstart is an event based manager which handles starting of services while the system is booting, running and shutting down. This change decreases the boot process to 20-30 seconds! Of course it depends on the computer you own.

2. File system

Ext3 has been the default Linux file system for a long time. Ubuntu replaces it with its successor – ext4. It improves speed of disk writes and reads. Ext4 is available only for fresh installs. An upgrade is possible but unfortunately then you won’t get the maximum performance benefit.

3. Ubuntu One

Another exciting feature is Ubuntu One. It allows you to create a personal cloud to store, synchronize and share your data with other users and between computers. I often use the same files and scripts on my laptop, home and office computers. Ubuntu One should make my life easier. ubuntu-koala-overview

4. Ubuntu Software Center

The aim of Ubuntu Software Center is to make software management easier. The previous solution was already quite intuitive. What can be easier from browsing through software categories and selecting what you need? With Ubuntu Software Center you can choose from a rich variety of Open Source software and use it for free. Everything is downloaded from the Internet for you. In the future it will also support commercial software ( the original name of this application was Ubuntu Software Store).

5. Desktop Managers

Ubuntu comes with the newest version of Gnome (2.28). It is a simple, lightweight and easy to use environment suitable for most users. I’m a fan of KDE and will rather use it as my desktop manager. KDE is far more configurable and has a nicer interface. KDE is by default included in Kubuntu (4.3.2) but you can also try it in Ubuntu by installing kubuntu-desktop package.
KDE 4.3.2 in kubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

KDE 4.3.2 in kubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

6. Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Recently netbooks became really popular. Its small screen size gave interface designers a new chalange. Ubuntu Netbook Remix is especially optimised for these devices. It’s worth taking a look if you own a netbook.

Upgrade or fresh install?

Ubuntu 9.10 introduces many new technologies. You cannot take full advantage of them with an upgrade only. Several changes are too revolutionary. That’s why I will reinstall all my computers running Ubuntu step by step. I’m sure it’s worth it. If you own a Windows or Mac computer you can install Ubuntu next to your other operating system. You can also try it without installation with Live CD. This enables you to run Ubuntu on your computer without any changes on your harddrive. Give it a try, you will be surprised! We are curious what you think about the new Ubuntu release. We invite you to leave your comment below or discuss with us on Twitter: @GOYELLO