Open Source

Fact sheet: Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)

Here is a quick fact sheet about what changes you can expect to see in Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander).

Ubuntu 13.10

October 2013 will see the release of the next iteration of the Ubuntu Linux operating system. There are plenty of features coming down the pipeline, some of which have caused great controversy with the Linux world. Even with the surrounding controversy, Ubuntu Linux continues to be one of the most popular Linux desktops available.

But what will the Saucy Salamander release offer the user that might help make them switch? Let's take a look and see.

What we know

Kernel: 3.11 RC5

Desktop interface: Unity 7. Unity Touch will be arriving in Ubuntu 14.04, but Ubuntu 13.10 will continue with the current implementation of Unity. There will be plenty of bug fixes and some new features added. The two biggest features for Unity 7 will include Smart Scopes (100 Scopes to empower searching through the Dash) and In-Dash Payments (which allow you to search for things like music and then pay for them directly from their In-Dash search results). Unity will also enjoy a few new indicators to make the experience even better.

Smart Scopes: As I already mentioned, Smart Scopes will finally ship. This has been a feature surrounded by controversy. When you open the Unity Dash and enter text, the Dash searches in various locations for results; the locations include your desktop, external drives,, and more. But with Smart Scopes, the results will come from 100 different locations. Of course, the user can define what locations to leave out from the results. Here are just a few Smart Scopes locations:

  • Applications
  • Calculator
  • Chromium bookmarks
  • Commands
  • Dev Help
  • Facebook
  • Files and folders
  • Google Drive
  • Manpages
  • Picasa
  • Videos
  • Amazon
  • VirtualBox
  • Yelp

Compiz: A 'trunk' version of Compiz, called Compiz 0.9.10, will include a number of patches and performance tweaks that should make the desktop much faster and smoother.

Mir: Although the finished version of the full-blown Mir isn't planned until the next LTS release (14.04), there will be a version of Mir using XMir to run Unity 7. Mir will only be made available for cards that use the standard drivers. For cards that rely on proprietary drivers, the current X server will be used.

Locally Integrated Menus: These might ship in 13.10. Locally Integrated Menus are sort of a hybrid between the HUD and standard menus -- a drop-down menu that resides on the Panel (for maximized windows) and in the window decoration (for un-maximized windows). 

Video driver changes:

The following video driver changes may arrive in 13.10:

  • Nvidia Optimus support
  • Nvidia Prime support
  • Radeon UVD support
  • RadeonSI support
  • Proper touch screen support


Look for the following software changes with 13.10:

  • Although it was rumored the Chrome would become the default browser, Saucy Salamander will ship with Firefox as the default
  • LibreOffice 4.1 will be the default office suite
  • Rhythmbox will be the default music player
  • Thunderbird will be the default email client

Another feature that may arrive in Saucy is "Click Packages." This is primarily aimed at developers to make it easier for them to get their Ubuntu packages with no dependencies between applications, no maintainer scripts, and each app will be installed in its own directory. Click Packages is based on technology Debian has used for over 20 years, so it's proven.

Although there are a number of users up in arms about the change to Mir and the ever-present concerns about Smart Scopes and security (which is a non-issue, as each scope can be disabled), Ubuntu 13.10 looks to be a very solid interim release that will do a great deal to make way for the next major iteration of Ubuntu … 14.04. Though you may consider this a bridge between the old and the new Ubuntu, 13.10 should be worth trying.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

Yash Pal
Yash Pal

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I can only echo the earlier comments:

" Any of the modern Linux distros are just as easy (if not easier) than a Windows installation. The best way to do this is to use a Live distribution, have it running, and then install it from the running desktop. "

I am not even KG (Kindergarten) qualified person as far as IT is concerned, but I could dual boot Ubuntu with Windows 7 and also upgrade it as required, learning everything from the net.

The instructions with Ubuntu are quite clear and easy to follow. There is a lot of hesitation at first and I feel you should write down all the important steps, more as a confidence building measure than any thing else because a live CD/DVD guides you at every step.

So please go ahead without any trepidation.

By the way, you might have been trying to load a server version, which does not have a GUI


Jack, I've been reading your blogs for a number of years now. I've always respected your position on things and up until now, followed you like a sheep. Baa! Baa! As they say, "You can fool some of the people some of the time. . ." blah, blah, blah. Ubuntu may be the most respected Linux OS but it is getting weirder and weirder. I reluctantly tried Unity. It's okay. But I've been using computers since the late '70s. When GUIs were first introduced I liked the menu system. In recent years, Microsloth was the first detractors with the so-called ribbon menus. I'm sorry but I like the wheel. Why reinvent it? Then along came Unity, Trinity, etc. 

Furthermore I'm not interested in rubbing my finger across my monitor. It gets smudges that I have to clean off. Give me a break! I'm a typist. I type. I like a keyboard. To me a mouse just makes my efforts more effortless. But why would I want to have to reach forward and drag my finger across my monitor screen? I don't know. Please tell me why.

As for 13.10, why indeed would it ship with an "old" kernel? As amp3030 says, "the current stable kernel is 3.11". It's like in 2004 when I bought a car. I asked if the CD/Radio had Aux and USB inputs. "Oh, no." the salesman said, "That's on next year's model." Well, not really relevant but at that point I could have gone out and bought any one of a number of CD/Radio players that had that feature. Same kinda thing here.

A few months ago I came into possession of a 6 year old Dell laptop. Not all of us can afford the latest thing. So I tried installing Ubuntu 13.04 on it. It worked just fine until it froze. After rebooting and a few more hours it froze again, and again, and again. I remember you talking about Linux Mint on one of your blogs. I was interested so I downloaded the latest, Mint 15, and installed it on the laptop. It's still running just fine. And the best part, it has MENUs. Not quite the same as the menus I was using on previous versions of Ubuntu, but the interface is very nice. It's smooth too. But the bottom line is, it works and I didn't have to spend a couple of hours getting accustomed to it like I did with Unity.

So there you have it. I'm not interested in 13.10 and I won't even bother downloading it. Why should I? I tried Cannonical's ridiculous attempts at being original and I don't like it. Linux Mint meets all my needs.


Will it ship with MySQL or MariaDB?


 This article is full of mistakes. Don't trust it!

Linux kernel 3.8 is used in the current stable Ubuntu 13.04. The current stable kernel is 3.11. Why should 13.10 ship the old 3.8?
There is nothing called Unity Touch.
The current major Unity version is 7.
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS desktop will ship Unity 7.
Ubuntu 13.10 mobile will have Unity 8.
Unity 8 for the desktop (originally named Unity Next) will first ship in 14.10.


Where do people come up with these stupid and childish names for pieces of software, or any kind of product?  

How can anybody take them serious with such foolishness?  Linux needs more than silliness in order to attract users. 


The easiest software installation are with Ubuntu 12.04 onwards. It is just a click and it install from the Ubuntu Software Center. Ubuntu installs easier than Window software and to install Windows 8 takes much longer than 15 minutes. I know I use Windows 8 and Ubuntu 13.04. Although "some" Linux software are not as good than software for Windows many are and free. According to many comparison tests Ubuntu are more stable than Windows.


It sounds nice, but are programs easily installed in Linux yet, or do you still need a Doctorate in Programming to use Linux.  I have spent hours loading a Linux distribution only to have NO GUI, and all weekend getting a mouse to work.  Windows 8 installs in 15 minutes, and you are good-to-go!


@Bob-El I agree with you. I have switched to Mint with MATE. I can create a top panel and populate it the way I did with Ubuntu 10.04 and tweak the bottom panel (MATE installs with the bottom panel). I have it on an old Acer laptop, but am stuck at Mint 13 because the laptop does not set the PAE flag (Celeron - Intel M series). I saw a woprk around, but haven't gotten to it yet. 


@amp3030 I also have to wonder if Ubuntu will drop the "touch" name all together, since VMWare has a tool now called Unity Touch.


@amp3030 You are correct in the kernel. That was my error.  I was using an Alpha version of 13.10 to get some of my information and that alpha had (according to uname -r) 3.8. As for which version of Unity that will ship -- it will not be shipping with Unity 8 (called Next). You can, however, test Unity 8 in 13.10, but it will not be the default.  That is what I stated in the fact sheet. 


@adornoe I don't know. Ask those that came up with the Google Play Store. ;-)


@heldemanpieter and apparently the installation of applications will become even easier with 13.10. Though this wasn't available in the alpha I tested, I've been hearing good things to come for software installation in saucy.


@dhjohns Any of the modern Linux distros are just as easy (if not easier) than a Windows installation. The best way to do this is to use a Live distribution, have it running, and then install it from the running desktop. 


@dhjohns no not in ubuntu

booted off my flashdrive on my grandpa's comp and he still figured out he could open chrome by clicking it on the dash.  A few years ago, he thought that you could only go toa website by googling it first so...

As for programs, any program that you download that comes with a .deb will install not much unlike Windows/ Mac will... you know, double-clicking the file.  Anything found on the software center is very easy to install as well obviously.

Worst case scenario: You are looking for specific software and need to copy and paste a few lines into the terminal.  Generally not needed but easy to do.

@dhjohns Geez, which distro did you install? Did you not read the article? Doctorate in Programming... what? What are you on about?

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