Linux

Ubuntu 9.04: Wow

Jack Wallen installs Ubuntu 9.04 and is so impressed he can hardly talk tech about the release. See what he has to say about the newest release and if his take on Jaunty Jakalope is enough to make you switch.

As you all know I have been using Linux for a long, long time. I have installed countless distributions: Some of them have seen long-term use, while some of them have been nothing more than a flash in the pan. Ubuntu is one of those that has come and gone for me. I have used it on many occasions, been generally impressed with its offerings, but ultimately gone back to another distribution for one reason or another.

I have seen, over the last few Ubuntu releases, a serious decline in performance. Starting somewhere around 7.04, each successive release grew progressively more and more sluggish. From boot times to application start up times, Ubuntu seemed to be coming to a slow painful crawl. With 9.04 Ubuntu has made a complete turnaround.

My litmus test for a distribution is an aging, quirky laptop that suffers from the old Via Chrome video chipset. On a rare occasion, a distribution will install, but generally speaking when it finally does, it's sluggish and seems like any minute it will crap out on me. So when I burned an ISO of the x86 version of Jaunty Jakalope, I assumed it would go the same way all Ubuntu installations have gone on this laptop: I would attempt to boot the live CD only to have it stop on a small, .5" X 1" white line squiqqly square in the middle of a black screen and go no further. But Jaunty continued on as if this outcast laptop was a high-end machine ready to crunch serious numbers. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Could this release actually install and run?

It did. And it did it well. And all of the claims Mark Shuttleworth has made about 9.04 are real. It's faster than any distribution I've seen. It's more stable than any other Ubuntu release to date. Everything is exactly where you would think it SHOULD be. And it all works perfectly, seamlessly, beautifully.

This aging laptop, with its VIA C7-M processor, seems infinitely faster than it did with the last distribution I had installed (Mandriva Spring 2008). It also seems much more stable. GNOME 2.26.1 will seriously impress even the biggest KDE fans.

I could go on and on listing the various bits and pieces of this release. I could go all tech on you and tell you which libraries are installed and which kernel Ubuntu uses. But for Jaunty Jakalope, all of that takes a back seat to the fact that we are looking at quite possibly the first Linux distribution that could, if given the fair shake it deserves, dismount Windows as the king.

Whatever Mark Shuttleworth did to get the 9.04 development team to bring Ubuntu back to the front of the line was a stroke of genius.

Ubuntu, you have officially "wowed" me.

Now, it's time you wow the general public. Right? You have what could easily stand as the most significant and improved release of any Linux distribution available. It's time to make the fat lady over at Microsoft sing. Before the official release of Windows 7 is out and overshadows you with glitz, glamour, and shiny shrink-wrapped packaging, you must do something with yourself. Put on a beautiful prom dress and show the crowd that you really deserve to be prom queen. If you don't, this brilliant release will not see the widespread installation it should.

About

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

130 comments
bricar2
bricar2

..I think 9.04 is great. If I had read about the sound changes in 9.04 I wouldn't have upgraded. I've tried once to fix the sound but no luck. I'll try again in the next couple days.

souravmohanty
souravmohanty

Its the best release till date, Kubuntu 9.04 is too good with ext4 and KDE. Regards, Sourav Mohanty (Linux Lingo)

doug.duke
doug.duke

Clicked on the "Upgrade" box from Ubuntu 8.10 ... after making sure 8.10 was all up-to-date first !! After many hours download and many hours installation had masses of "fail to installs" - primarily related to OpenOffice, with many suggestions that I "may like to submit a bug report". Finally, after re-boot, had crash reports waiting ... that I "may like to submit" but CAN'T ... BECAUSE ... WIRELESS NETWORKING IS BROKEN AGAIN (AGAIN !!) and I cannot get it working (ndiswrapper with Netgear WG511v2) no matter what tricks I pull - including all I used from 7.10, 8.04 and 8.10 - which ALL started out the same way with wireless networking broken. Sorry, Mr. Shuttleworth, NOT consumer-grade software yet ... keep trying, one day you may graduate to the big time !!

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

and had no issues. I turned on WiFi and all was fine with that too. I never have liked upgrades too much. Did you run it from the cd before installing, to see if everything was compatible?

doug.duke
doug.duke

Upgrade was offered as an option from the update manager in 8.10. If it ain't gonna' work, then it shouldn't be offered. I didn't want to do a "fresh install" ... I wanted to to an "Upgrade".

obvio.capitao
obvio.capitao

Windows 7 on October 23 -- what that means for Open Source According to El Reg, "Acer, the world's joint second largest manufacturer of PCs, has reportedly given October 23 as the date when Microsoft's successor to Windows Vista will become available." If that date is confirmed, it would be very nice if Canonical could announce a new Ubuntu release on the exact same day. The reason is simple: All the news and articles that would talk about Windows 7 will start to mention the free, open source alternative. David vs. Goliath, what a story! Ubuntu 9.10 will surf on Windows 7 waves. What does that mean to Open Source? http://capitao-obvio.blogspot.com/2009/05/windows-7-on-october-23-what-that-means.html

drate.otin
drate.otin

Is it possible to discuss this topic without the use of ridiculous acronyms and "1337" speak? Post after post of attacking the man's credentials are made without establishing their own. And for that matter: anyone who as worked professionally in the I.T. industry (or any other for that matter) will know that those at the top often are the least technically capable. Managers rarely have a clue. The article seems to be a first impression opinion on the latest in a very popular series of distros by Canonical. Would anyone care to respectfully rebuttal with their own opinions? Or is it more fun to say things like "GTFO"?

melnikov.artem.v
melnikov.artem.v

Anyway, I think OpenSuSe is the best. And Ubunt is only the child of Debian.

degmic71
degmic71

Um ever try Arch Linux? Its faster as hell compared to Ubuntu in just terms of speed, but takes a while to setup. Your article is such crap its amazing how you got so many diggs, prb just because you put the word UBUNTU in it . GTFO

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Apparently you're one of those attracted by the use of the word 'Ubuntu'; something brought you here. Maybe is was the 'crap' you refer to in the article that got your attention; it does draw the flies.

abduallah
abduallah

Nonsense. Try getting working audio and support for games (no, WINE doesn't count, and yes, people like to play games on their computers and don't want to buy XBoxes) and other applications. They may also want to get rid of Ubuntu's ACPI laptop-hard drive-killing bug. If you like Ubuntu, more power to you, but this need to say it is going to defeat Windows is beyond comical.

abduallah
abduallah

Yes, it is amazing that Ubuntu 9.04 has no support for ATI cards. Wow, Microsoft had better look out.

jemorris
jemorris

I installed it last night on my HP with ATI video adapter. After the first boot Update Manager came up right away but I didn't like the default resolution on my screen as a whole so I closed out of the update manager & went to find the video adjustments and when I did some other type of manager came up telling me there were drivers specific to my card available from ATI/AMD I could download. Took maybe 10 minutes to download - intall - reboot & reconfigure my screen.

oregonbob
oregonbob

This article is total hype. So we know 9.04 is good for ancient laptops, LOL. It fails on modern up-to-date hardware. And I am a Linux lover. It is the best Linux distribution but still behind both Microsoft and Apple. Anyone who hypes it as more than that is... exaggerating at best, lying at worst. Get real. 9.04 is a disappointment. Lots of things don't work.

tick
tick

It's been touted that Evolution will now run rock solid off Exchange 2007. I've yet to view a message from the server using Exchange-mapi. I spent nearly an entire day trying to find a solution. I've inched closer to the goal, but in the end, I'm still not there. Some seem to be having luck, but I can't get the thing running. I finally discovered that if the Exchange server is clustered, I'll have to point to a single instance. But now it's complaining about the keyring not containing an exchange key. Not sure where to go from here. Until I can solve the issue of running Evolution as a complete Outlook replacement, Linux will remain in a VM on my XP box at work. I'd like to run it the other way around (still have a Win app required for work, but not used daily). Maybe some day.

chris
chris

can you permanently delete a single email yet or are you still stuck "expunging" the whole deleted items area?

cjc5447
cjc5447

Jack is an unabashed cherleader for Linux, so you have to take his "reviews" with a grain of salt. Jaunty is another solid Ubuntu release. I can't see any speed difference between this release and 810, but then I have a more mainstream laptop (2.0GHz pentium M) than Jack's. Somewhat of a black eye is the new desktop notification feature in the upper right hand corner, which is not configurable. Here's a more level headed review of Jaunty from InfoWorld: http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source/first-look-ubuntu-904-stays-course-205

linux-wizard.net
linux-wizard.net

- Mandriva 2009.1 have a more recent kernel version : 2.6.29 - Mandriva 2009.1 will have also improved boot - Some interesting plugins are installed by default for OpenOffice.org like PDFImport - KDE 4.2 really rocks - 2009.1 include GNOME 2.26, but also LXDE and XFCE 4.6 http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/2009.1_Tour http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/2009.1_Reviewers_Guide http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/2009.1_Notes

chris
chris

I have 2009 on one machine with KDE4 (not sure the exact version), but it is NOT anywhere near 3.5 in terms of speed and customization. Are you saying 4.2 is?

linux-wizard.net
linux-wizard.net

I won't say that KDE 4.2 is near KDE 3.5. It's different. On some points KDE 4.2 is superior to KDE 3.5, and on some points, KDE 4.2 is inferior. At each new KDE 4.x release, you have less and less point for which kde 4.x is inferior to kde 3.x. That's my point of view. You need to use KDE 4 with the eye of a new user. Or else you will fall in the same trap that some windows users : desktop/app X is not doing exactly the same thing that my prefered windows app Y, so this ( Linux, App X, distro Z ) sucks.

bryan
bryan

I upgraded and compiz and emerald completely stopped working properly. Installing 9.04 from scratch leads to the same problem, whereas 8.10 works perfectly.

fail
fail

hmm thats funny, all that i have seen and heard is that it breaks more stuff, upgrade is dicey at best, drivers tend to completely fail, ati is left in the dark once again and more gimmicky un-usefulness embedded into the ui of Satan. I cant wait till this makes it to linux haters blog.

jaejunks
jaejunks

Of course it will work. But when something goes wrong, it's very hard to troubleshoot because lack of recovery documentation.

bobtista
bobtista

There is a huge problem right now where videos on popular sites such as youtube and hulu are severely choppy - and completely unbearable so in full screen mode. This does not apply to all machines, but I personally have not found a computer that youtube works (full screen included) on yet.

BaapidMakwa
BaapidMakwa

I lived on Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04) as my primary OS for 6 months. (To make matters worse, I was running XP under VMWare to access enterprise applications.) But with all the problems I had, playing YouTube videos was never one of them. For me, the dealbreaker was when a seemingly benign update (to some Gnome utility) overrode the virtual memory tuning I had done to make my configuration usable. I went back to XP, and so far, have been happy. I may try Jackelope, but not right away. I'm still scrubbing the charred flesh from my warm live fingers...

chris
chris

I think lots of managers would read that and say, can you do that with our computers?

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

There are some training video's that have been put on utube. The city I work for has a link in it's main web site. Bill

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Home users would be concerned about these things.

garnerl
garnerl

Funny, I was watching Hulu on my laptop just the other day. It looked fine, though I was running 8.04 rather than 9.04. I rarely look at Youtube, but don't recall any issues.

jlwallen
jlwallen

I wanted to let every one know that next week I will do a real review of the latest Ubuntu. I am planning on installing 9.04 on a standard machine and putting it through the usual tests. I thought I would give everyone a heads up. I realize this entry wasn't really a "review" as much as it was an instant reaction. Anyway - look forward to Ubuntu 9.04 put through the mill next week.

RipVan
RipVan

So I guess my opinion doesn't count. But once I get a chance to pull my machines out of storage I'll give Ubuntu another look. I used it for a short time when you still had to add multimedia support to the base install (it wasn't hard), but I was looking for something with more music and video support, so I switched to PCLinuxOS instead. The family has loved it and doesn't miss Windows a bit. Unless they miss Windows dying periodically. (Yes, kids were going places they shouldn't have gone.) Instead of quitting MS, for about a year, I just made them use Firefox instead of IE and that did the trick. However, the baddies caught up, the kids were still kids, and a couple more extensive cleanings and a final re-install and I was done with MS, their upgrade treadmill and paying for application after application. I just told the kids this is what they will use now. They have iPod support and everything else they used to do, so they have been happy (and 100% uptime) since then. But brothers, sisters and friends are helpless and clueless enough that they make good Bill Gates customers. So I still help the schleps who use MS and cry when it breaks, because most users are NOT able to fix their own computers, despite the tech people on here who are a little more internet savvy, careful and able to troubleshoot their own machines. I used to install Firefox when helpless MS users cried to me, and I would tell them that as long as they used Firefox, I would come and help them when they needed help, but if they went back to IE, then they were guaranteed trouble and they were on their own. Now I think I may just tell them I'll help them only if they want MS wiped off their computer. I don't think it will be Ubuntu, though, but I will take a look at it when I get a chance.

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

to get it to work somewhat properly. First install, could not add items to Gnome menu like Eclipse 3.4.2. Eclipse 3.2.1 is in the repository, but not 3.4.2, which is inexcusable. Second install, some hardware not found that was found int the first install. Computer acted sluggish compared to first install. Third install, it worked. I thought I might have to do a fourth install. Finally it mysteriously started working. I also had problems with libdvdcss and a few other items. I now have the system almost as operational as I did with 8.04. Ubuntu does not always "Just Work. I think Shuttleworth should have kept this one at home for a while. With this version there is much to go to Windows for; it is two Vista/7 ish. I need to get work done, not watch eye candy. I also could not get it to run in a VM.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And even if I sound like an ass, I've never seen a Windows install require 3 tries... At most a power outage might screw up an attempt, but that's it.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

reason or another. But its rare, and usually those boxes are the "possesed" ones that flake for no discoverable reason. you can run every test you know, for days on end with no error. Have a user log on and it BSODs, locks, monitor will blink....

chris
chris

is when you test RAM or HD and they say everything is fine, but it still doesn't work...until you replace them, then it works great. what the heck???

Pringles86
Pringles86

The RAM was producing errors and had to be replaced. Other pieces of hardware can also cause installation errors with any OS or piece of software.

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

The issues I described are not hardware related at all; nothing is wrong with the hardware. The probing that this release uses has problems. There are also problem in how various items are handed off. On example, in Firefox I will enter the first two or three letters of the URL I wish to go to and select the URL from the drop down. It even works in this distro - for a while. After a while, the URL drop down and has a brain fart. If I close FF and reopen it, it works. This is not a FF problem, in spite of the appearance; I use the same version of FF in Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Ubuntu 8.04, Slackware 11, and Debian 4. I do not have that problem with anything but this release. To make a long problem short, I have noticed a fairly long list of problems with this distro release that range from application to hardware utilization.. I will be changing back to 8.04 if the problems are not taken care of soon; for me the change is a swap in an HD and I am up. I knew that this distro had issues from the dev blogs.

john.muskopf
john.muskopf

I have had no luck at all getting OpenSuse11.1 to work on any of pc's. always the video crashed the systems. Ubuntu and all others I tried did the same thing. so far the new Ubuntu works and updates the drivers no problem. I was ready to junk Linux all together. Maybe I will stay with it now. Suse always worked in the past, now it is trash.

chris
chris

you mean video driver or watching some particular video(s)?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Quoting from your article: "I decided to install Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit over the top of openSUSE 11.1 on my HP Pavilion. ... the Synaptic Package Manager, at least the package management part, works better than openSUSE's YaST. ... I think I am going to stay with Ubuntu permanently ... Microsoft has much to be concerned about." Sounds more like openSUSE has much to be concerned about. You weren't running MS before, and I'm guessing you have no intention of ever running it. No business should worry about losing customers it never had and could never get. There are no reasons in your article (or Jack's) why MS should be worried, but both of you make unnecessary references to it. The only details in your article are that the installation went smoothly, except for a video driver you installed manually that Vista may have installed on it's own. A clean install is hardly a reason to celebrate any more. Sorry, the fat lady is still shoveling in bonbons and signing autographs. This opera isn't even to the intermission yet. I glad you like it, but for many MS users, especially business users and gamers the OS of choice will remain the one that runs the apps or games they're interested in.

jlwallen
jlwallen

Ubuntu's initial release was October 2004. In that short time it has managed to become what it is today. Four years after Microsofts' initial release of Windows their users were using Windows 3.0. Granted the times are very different now - but if you look at the progress from each company's "then to now" you will see that Ubuntu has made far bigger strides. If they keep that up it won't be long before they do surpass Microsoft in many ways.

chris
chris

with hardware costs so much lower than they used to be, when you buy a new machine the percentage you pay for the OS is higher. What sucks are tactics used to stifle competition by the big fish. Not that most people would take the chance at home since your savings is only x1, but in a business that can add up. Ever wonder why they don't "really" go after offenders of license related issues? Might scare people off

gcaventjr
gcaventjr

First, 99% of all I do is on Windows. I "play" with Linux to keep me sharp. That said, Windows 7 was widely released for free in beta so that savvy techs could stress test it for MS. While it has achieved initial praise, it remains to be seen if that praise continues in the final release once the bloatware is added. Also, if MS is planning on charging $150-$250 for the various Windows iterations, it BETTER be GREAT. People (and companies) are growing more and more reluctant to pay that kind of money for a "new" OS unless it comes bundled on the machine. Linux is finding its way onto more PCs, making it an available option to Windows. That is something we haven't had in the past.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't track distribution numbers, so I'm strictly speculating. Periodically the natural selection process hits on a winner (sharks, cockroaches, horseshoe crabs). That doesn't keep other life forms from evolving successfully. In the '80's DOS hit a serious home run to the detriment of the other desktop operating systems popular at the time. That didn't stop Linux from popping up. I don't see anything driving Linux into a single monolithic distro. While you may be able to run a server, desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone, etc. on the same operating system, each will operate more efficiently if the OS is tweaked to fit the hardware and applications. Maybe reducing everything to a single hardware platform would reduce the need to optimize for hardware and software. Until that happens there will continue to be different distros for different purposes.

jlwallen
jlwallen

imagine if one Linux distribution really hit a serious home run with a release - so much so that the others took a hit on their installations. what would happen? do you think Linux progress would be stymied?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Is Ubuntu's growth coming at Windows expense or that of other distributions? Since everyone keeps telling me it's difficult to track how many Linux installations are in use, I assume it's equally hard to determine who's market share is suffering directly due to Ubuntu.

estcst
estcst

And I find it kind of funny that a tech writer who I assume I'm to take seriously is just installing over an install that they seem to be using as their main to test out a new distro. In the day and age of VM who in their right mind is installing over a main to get a taste of anything? It actually comes off as somewhat amateurish. Secondly, as you had said, why should MS care what people who wear a Tux badge on their sleeve think of anything? From my minor contact with the Linux world there is a whole group of advocates who wouldn't care if MS released an OS that booted in a half a second, only took 4k to run and yet made a Cray supercomputer look like a pocket calculator. They'd still go out of their way to find fault. Not to say there aren't voices that shouldn't be listened to but they're few and far between. And what's really got me wondering at this point is that since I couldn't find any real meat in this article here I went out to see if I could find out what the big deal is about Ubuntu 9.xx and the only things I could find was about the faster booting time and a new log in screen. These is the big advancements that make an entire revision number worthwhile? Sorry, that to me means there is nothing worthwhile going on here. While the boot time reduction is always great news for any OS/distro, when your second bullet point is a new look to your log in screen I'm less than impressed. To hear the OSS crowd talk down Windows 7 as Vista Redux is a joke in comparison. But I will be fair and give it some disk space and VM it but from what I've heard and seen so far I'm going to be looking at a slightly faster Ubuntu 8 with a minor facelift. Big whoop.

chris
chris

Well, enough to sell vendors copies of windows for $15.00 to keep linux off of them. cradle to grave as they say....and ever new thing that comes up

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

tells you nothing about support for odd, old hardware. It just tells you the vendors were smart enough to include drivers for the generic VM hardware. Its not "amateurish," its actually normal. The Linux crowd tends to focus on hardware more so then the Windows crowd (ignoring gamers). And now I point you to the release notes for 9.04. An easy google will pop them up in about 12 seconds. This will tell you whats changed under the hood. 90% of the changes are ones the end user will never notice, other then, "It seems faster" or "Wow thats pretty." This is no different then going from XP to Vista. Aero and UAC are all people seem to notice. Also, keep in mind these releases tend to be less extreme, as they come out every six months as opposed to every 4-6 years. As a fair comparison, install Ubunu 6. That equates to XP. Then install 8.04. That equates to Vista. Comparing Ubuntu 9.04 to 8.04 or even 7.1 is much like comparing XP sp3 to XP sp2.

Pringles86
Pringles86

First, "Secondly, as you had said, why should MS care what people who wear a Tux badge on their sleeve think of anything?" I use Linux on my home computer and if they make enough advancements to make it fast, compatible, and stable then I will definitely take a closer look at deploying it to where I work. I do wear the Tux badge outside of where I work so I do short of qualify for your statement. "These is the big advancements that make an entire revision number worthwhile?" These revision numbers are done every six months. They are constantly working on the operating system and have these revisions every six months. When there is that huge of an improvement in six months then that is something to be proud of. "To hear the OSS crowd talk down Windows 7 as Vista Redux is a joke in comparison." Vista released in January 2007 Windows 7 released, maybe, in January 2010. 3 years to do the kind of tweaks Ubuntu has done in 6 months since their last release. Although I do agree they did do some tweaking in Vista SP1.

Editor's Picks