Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Beta: First Looks

Ubuntu from Canonical Systems has a tradition of releasing a new version of the Ubuntu operating system (as well as official derivatives like Xubuntu and Kubuntu) every six months. Back in April, Ubuntu 9.04 was released. Its been almost 6 months and that means, Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) is about to be released. The beta was released on October 1, 2009 and this is a first looks at whats new in Ubuntu 9.10 Beta.

Logging in

The new Ubuntu splash screen

I installed Ubuntu 9.10 Beta on VMware and the whole install from start to finish took around 7 minutes only, which is faster than the 13 minutes it took to install Ubuntu 9.04. During install, you will notice that this release uses a darker shade of brown rather than the regular orange-brown. Boot time feels a bit faster as well.

During installation, Ubuntu now displays some useful introductory info including information on pre-installed programs like Firefox and Evolution, similar to the installation of Windows XP.

During installation, users are presented with introductory information.

During installation, users are presented with introductory information.

The login screen got a makeover as well. There is now a list of users as well as an “Other” button to manually type in a username, which is the original method.

The new login screen of Ubuntu 9.10

The new login screen of Ubuntu 9.10

Because VMware refused to work after this because it kept going on an endless loop of going blank probably because of the known issue with Intel Video Chipsets and corrupting the Virtual Disk, the rest are tested through Live CD. After logging in, everything looks essentially the same. There are some new application icons.

The slightly different default theme along with some new application icons. It also features Empathy rather than Pidgin as the default IM client.

The slightly different default theme along with some new application icons. It also features Empathy rather than Pidgin as the default IM client.

For whatever unknown reason, Ubuntu seems to have removed Pidgin in favor of Empathy as the default IM client. Of course, you can always get Pidgin from the Ubuntu Software Center but Empathy is the new default. It works similarly to Pidgin, however long time users of Pidgin might not be very pleased with this change.

Ubuntu 9.10 Beta also features a new and improved software center where users can easily search for, download, and install hundreds of free software from the directory.

The new and improved Software Center with categories

The new and improved Software Center with categories

As mentioned earlier, if you prefer Pidgin over Empathy, you can easily install Pidgin in the Software Center under Internet.

Pidgin in Ubuntu Software Center

Pidgin in Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu 9.10 also ships with Ubuntu One, an online file sharing and synchronization between computers on the Ubuntu One network. The status of this is indicated by the Ubuntu One icon on the top application bar next to the volume control. This seems similar to Dropbox.

Ubuntu One folder. Files in here are synced online and with other computers through the Ubuntu One network.

Ubuntu One folder. Files in here are synced online and with other computers through the Ubuntu One network.

This release ships with some new default backgrounds.

The new set of backgrounds for Ubuntu

The new set of default backgrounds for Ubuntu

In general, Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) doesn’t introduce a wide array of new features, however it does include small updates to many different smaller areas. As always, it includes updated versions of the pre-installed software. A full new feature list can be found here.

Want to give Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) Beta a try for yourself?

Keep in mind that this is Beta software and therefore, you may experience bugs. Be sure to look over the Known Issues.

Ubuntu Home Page
Ubuntu Karmic Beta

Price: Free
Download Size: ~697 MB

By
Brian is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of TechAirlines. He is also a developer and manages most of the site’s operations. He enjoys web development in his free time and is currently trying to learn Android development. He is currently a freshman at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.

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  • SuperBaby

    I am running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04. Can I upgrade to 9.10 without losing all my existing apps and settings? Or do I have to do a fresh installation?

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian

      Hi SuperBaby. Thanks for visiting.

      Upgrading Netbook Remix should be similar to upgrading Desktop editions. Go to the Update Manager through “update-manager -d” and it should say “A New Distribution Release is Available” on the top. Just click “Upgrade” and follow the on screen instructions. Upgrading will keep your current apps.

      Remember that this is beta software so do not upgrade or install on production machines.

      Good luck!

  • Joe

    I love Ubuntu, downloading the new beta right now. Somehow, it’s as stable as the normal releases! It takes longer to download, maybe everyone is downloading it at once :-)

  • Spaceblue

    Hi Joe,
    The Ubuntu download is currently taking a long time to download, because there is such a high demand on it. Using a torrent download may be faster than directly downloading from the site, but by now, you should have finished your download. Hope you have fun with testing out Ubuntu 9.10 Beta!

  • Joe

    To Spaceblue,
    Yay! Just downloaded and installed it. The installation takes only like 13 mins. Also, it’s as stable as any regular release, so I’m keeping it :-)

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  • dov

    No real new features? What? Karmic is a huge upgrade! Firstly a more minor one, there is quite a new look to the gnome network manager, looking to make it clearer and more usable. The integration of the new Ubuntu One service for remote file sharing/serving. The graphical boot sequence has had a major overhaul with xsplash replacing usplash thanks to recent kernel developments. Grub2 will replace grub on new installations. Hal is fully deprecated and Upstart is in full swing also for this release, so big changes under the hood. Another change under the hood that will greatly improve speed and reliability is that ext4 is now the default filesystem. Sheesh.

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian

      Hi dov. Thanks for visiting and thanks for the info.

      Yep there are a lot of under the hood changes. Thanks for mentioning GRUB 2. I forgot to add that. :) In my first looks, I mentioned some of the main features users will notice. But yes, Karmic Koala is quite a large upgrade introducing better speed and security.

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  • http://www.ethnoring.com Entheogens

    9.10 is so sexy, by far the best Ubuntu release.