For those of you wanting to test out some new software over the weekend (well, if you are not at Oktoberfest in Munich), Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 is now available. Ubuntu 9.10 entered into a feature freeze a month ago so there are major upstream package updates in here, although there is the final Linux 2.6.31 kernel, more recent GNOME 2.28 snapshots, etc. More of the Ubuntu-specific improvements like artwork and enhancements to Ubiquity are visible in Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 too.
Besides the ATI Catalyst Linux driver still lacking public XvBA support (the library is in the driver, but there's no documentation or public implementations of it) even though we exclusively detailed the X-Video Bitstream Acceleration architecture nearly a year ago for enhancing HD video playback on Linux, the other leading problem we usually end up facing with AMD's proprietary Linux driver is their slow response time with supporting new X Server and kernel releases. AMD's policy has been not to focus on providing support for unreleased kernels/X servers, and then to provide the support once out, but while they do provide new releases on a consistent monthly basis, things usually don't end up working out as planned.
Yesterday Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5 was released and besides shipping with a number of updated packages and the Ubuntu One client along with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud images, the Ubiquity installer shipped with its new slide-show feature enabled. Now during the Ubuntu installation process from the desktop LiveCD, rather than just showing a status bar it also advertises various features of this Linux operating system.
In just under two months there will be the release of Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala", but until then, there is the continual stream of new test releases. The latest test release to emerge from the Canonical camp is Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5. This fifth testing release of Mark Shuttleworth's operating system brings the Linux 2.6.31-rc8 kernel, the latest KDE/GNOME packages, a few updated X.Org bits, and many other package updates, although the Karmic Koala is now under a feature freeze.
Introduced last year with Fedora 10 was Plymouth, a project to replace the aging Red Hat Graphical Boot (RHGB) software. From the start, Plymouth leveraged kernel mode-setting to provide a flicker-free boot process and a splash screen that would run at the panel's native resolution. Beyond using KMS, Red Hat designed a nice plug-in architecture for Plymouth to offer different functionality and make it easy to add in new artwork.
Right on schedule, Canonical's Steve Langasek has announced the release of Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4. This fourth development release of the Karmic Koala brings more updated packages (including a kernel based upon Linux 2.6.31-rc5), Ubuntu One file sharing support, and some other new features. Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4 is also the first build to have Kubuntu Netbook Remix support for KDE 4.3 and Ubuntu UEC. Ubuntu UEC is for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud with support for Amazon's EC2 service.
There's twelve days left until the release of X Server 1.7 and X.Org 7.5! Wait, there still is not even an X Server 1.7 Beta, which should have happened last month, so chances are slim to none on seeing a final release this month. The release schedule for X Server 1.7 / X.Org 7.5 has already slipped a few times, after it was supposed to be released back in April.
Intel's Poulsbo driver for their GMA 500 IGP on the SCH U15W is a bloody mess. Unlike their X.Org driver for their other Intel IGPs, the Poulsbo driver is closed-source (since they licensed some of the technologies for this graphics processor), but the problems go beyond just whether or not you like to use a binary blob. Intel hasn't done a good job at maintaining this driver and ensuring it works with the latest kernel and X.Org releases and tracking down all of the components to use the driver on a non-supported distribution can be challenging. In fact, it took quite some work to even get the Poulsbo driver running on Fedora.
Canonical, the parent company behind Ubuntu, has announced this morning that next month they will release Landscape Dedicated Server. Canonical's Landscape provides systems management and monitoring support for Ubuntu systems, but with Landscape Dedicated Server it should be easier to deploy in data-centers and the like.
Right on schedule, Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 3 has been released. This third alpha release brings package updates to the Linux kernel, the desktop (both GNOME and KDE), and other packages throughout the Ubuntu repositories.
Last year on the 22nd of July we were covering the OSCON 2008 event. There really wasn't anything great about that year's open-source conference from O'Reilly (hence it's demise and conversion into LinuxCon in a different state), but Mark Shuttleworth was there and had keynoted at one of the evening events. Among other statements, Mark said that Launchpad would be open-source within 12 months. Well, with tomorrow marking the one-year anniversary, Canonical has early this morning pushed out the source-code to Launchpad.
For those of you still running Ubuntu 8.04 due to its Long-Term Support status rather than upgrading to Ubuntu 8.10 or Ubuntu 9.04, fire up your update manager as Ubuntu 8.04.3 LTS is now available. Ubuntu 8.04.3 LTS is the third maintenance update targeting the Hardy Heron and it includes security updates and fixes for high impact bugs.
On behalf of Canonical and the Ubuntu Technical Board, Scott James Remnant has issued a position statement surrounding Mono, the open-source project that provides a C# compiler for Linux (along with other operating systems) and other components for a free software .NET stack. However, the legality of Mono is frequently a key concern to free software advocates considering patents and other intellectual property that's owned by Microsoft. Richard Stallman has also referred to the use of Mono as "dangerous" due to such possible legal troubles that could ultimately kill this open-source project, which is owned by Novell, if such a situation ever cropped up. With these concerns coming up, the Ubuntu Technical Board has decided to reaffirm its position with Mono.
Last week the first ten Ubuntu paper cuts were exposed via Launchpad, which are small annoying usability problems with Ubuntu (and upstream applications) that are quite easy to address but simply have not been carried out. In time for the release of Ubuntu 9.10, Canonical hopes to have 100 of these "paper cuts" addressed. In less than a week, 100 of these paper cuts have been tagged in Launchpad and there's a few more in there too for the KDE version of Ubuntu, Kubuntu.
Canonical's X.Org guy, Bryce Harrington, has announced the switch to using Intel kernel mode-setting by default beginning with the new Linux 2.6.30 kernel update that was just committed to the Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" repository. Cheers! For those unfamiliar with what Intel kernel mode-setting means or would like more information, check out the mailing list announcement.
With the release of Ubuntu 9.10, which is due out this October, Canonical and the Ubuntu developers hope to fix at least 100 "paper cuts" on the Ubuntu Linux desktop. Paper cuts are rather trivial usability bugs that are small, but in one way or another could impair the Linux desktop or increase the burden placed on a new Linux user ever so slightly. They are likely bugs that a new user of the Ubuntu desktop may encounter immediately but is something that may go unnoticed by a veteran Ubuntu user or developer since they have grown accustomed to the Linux desktop and its small flaws.
Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" Alpha 2 is now available. This second testing release for the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.10 doesn't bring too much in the way of exciting features or major changes since the release of Alpha 1. There is, however, GRUB2 as the default boot-loader.
We shared two weeks ago that Plymouth would not be making its way to Ubuntu with the next 9.10 release as was once planned. Instead Canonical is putting their focus on improving the boot time so that there is less rationale for spending time on making a fashionable boot experience. With Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Canonical is looking to achieve a ten second or less boot when using the Dell Mini 9 or similar devices. With Ubuntu 9.10, they hope to be on their way to accomplishing this goal.
Starting with Ubuntu 9.10 (and beginning with tomorrow's daily CD builds), GRUB2 will be the default boot-loader on new Ubuntu installations. GRUB2 will bring internationalization support, support for newer systems, and many other improvements considering this GNU boot-loader has been in development for a number of years.
Plymouth, a project spawned by Red Hat to replace RHGB in Fedora with a much cleaner boot splash program that leverages newer technologies like kernel mode-setting, will not be finding its way into Ubuntu. Originally, it was considered that Plymouth could replace USplash in Ubuntu 9.04, but then Canonical and other developers decided to push that transition off to Ubuntu 9.10. They planned to integrate Plymouth in Ubuntu 9.10 (and offered up a PPA) to provide a clean, professional boot experience. However, this week at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Barcelona that decision has been reversed. Plymouth will not be finding its way into Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu release team has announced the first alpha release for Ubuntu 9.10 (a.k.a. The Karmic Koala). Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 1 has a horde of Debian packages that were upgraded, but most prominently this release is tracking the Linux 2.6.30 kernel, GCC 4.4, and GNOME 2.27/2.28. Besides that there is not a whole lot of new features to be found in this very early alpha release.
Ubuntu 9.04 has been released this morning along with the 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" updates to Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, and Ubuntu Studio. With Ubuntu 9.04 there also remain the server and Netbook Remix spins.
We are just one week away from the release of Ubuntu 9.04 and with that it is now time for the Jaunty Jackalope release candidate. Ubuntu 9.04 features the GNOME 2.26 desktop, X Server 1.6, and the Linux 2.6.28 kernel. There are also numerous new features on the Ubuntu desktop with the new notification system, a speedier boot process, EXT4 installation support, and more.
Ubuntu has arguably changed the landscape of desktop Linux since its initial release of Warty Warthog in 2004. Since then, its momentum has inspired the creation of numerous Ubuntu-based derivatives---Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu---just to name a few. These newcomers typically offer alternative desktop environments or sets of packages that differ from the standard Ubuntu selection. All target specific sub-audiences; be it KDE-folks, multimedia users, footprint minimalists, economic stimulus recipients, or Barrack Obama.
While there is about a month to go until the release of Ubuntu 9.04, this evening Canonical has released the only beta release for this next Ubuntu release known as the Jaunty Jackalope. Among the features in Ubuntu 9.04 are the GNOME 2.26 desktop, Linux 2.6.28 kernel, X Server 1.6, KDE 4.2, and various other updated packages. Ubuntu 9.04 also has a new desktop notification system, improved boot performance, and various other features.
In August of last year Intel had introduced the UMA Acceleration Architecture (commonly referred to as UXA). UXA is based upon the very common EXA acceleration API but it handles the pixmap management using GEM objects. With its use of the Graphics Execution Manager it's more optimal as more open-source graphics drivers turn to kernel memory management.
Pushed into the Jaunty repository this morning for Ubuntu 9.04 was a new theme for USplash. This Canonical project for providing a splash screen at boot-up on Ubuntu is being replaced by Plymouth with Ubuntu 9.10 (the Karmic Koala release), but there is a new Ubuntu theme as one last hurrah. This new USplash theme has a fixed-size Ubuntu logo centered in the middle of the display and a new progress bar. From our feelings at least, this new theme looks more professional than its predecessor, but it's not exactly a complete overhaul. Below is a video of this newly-pushed theme.
Last year when Ubuntu 8.10 was released it had shipped with an unpublished ATI Catalyst driver since the proprietary ATI drivers available to the public were not compatible with X Server 1.5, which was used by this Ubuntu release. Now with Ubuntu 9.04 coming around the corner and the ATI Catalyst driver lacking X Server 1.6 support, we have run into a similar situation.
We are just a little more than a month away until Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope) will be released. With the release getting near, Canonical has today put forth the final alpha release of Jaunty. Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 6 carries a few updated packages (particularly with the imminent release of GNOME 2.26) and various bug-fixing.
Canonical's Scott James Remnant recently set out to explore why X.Org started up so much faster on Moblin than on Ubuntu (particularly, the latest 9.04 development code). On an Atom-based netbook (the Dell Mini 9) he found it took Ubuntu's X Server about four seconds to start before the session manager was called. With Moblin on the same hardware it took just about a second and a half.
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