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Last year when Ubuntu 8.10 was released it had shipped with an unpublished ATI Catalyst driver since the proprietary ATI drivers available to the public were not compatible with X Server 1.5, which was used by this Ubuntu release.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.
Last November we learned that Plymouth would replace USplash in Ubuntu, but the official graphical boot splash screen change wouldn't come until Ubuntu 9.10 (a.k.a. the Karmic Koala). However, for those not interested in trying out Fedora to see Red Hat's Plymouth, there is a package repository of Plymouth packages for Ubuntu available. You can now run Plymouth on Ubuntu 9.04 by installing the Plymouth packages from the Launchpad PPA, but the full benefits will not come until the Ubuntu kernel has enabled kernel mode-setting.
Ubuntu 9.04 will not even be out for another month and a half, but Ubuntu enthusiasts can already start getting excited for its successor, Ubuntu 9.10. Ubuntu 9.10 has been codenamed the Karmic Koala and this release from Canonical will integrate Plymouth to provide a rich kernel mode-setting experience, feature performance improvements, and contain enhancements for Ubuntu cloud computing. In time for Ubuntu 9.10 we may even see some Gallium3D drivers and the latest innovations in the Linux stack as of the Linux 2.6.31 kernel or thereabouts.
If you are interested in checking out some of the improvements in Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 5 first hand, Alpha 5 has been officially released this evening. The Alpha 5 announcement can be read on the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list and additional details are available on the Ubuntu.com web-site.
Due out tomorrow is the fifth alpha release for Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope). Ubuntu 9.04 is now in a feature freeze so there isn't much to expect in Jaunty Alpha 5, but there are a few items worth highlighting.
With Ubuntu 9.04, the Jaunty Jackalope, now in a feature freeze for the April release of this distribution update, Mark Shuttleworth has announced the Ubuntu 9.04 successor.
The Phoronix Test Suite was accepted into the Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) universe repository this morning. What this means is that it's now drop-dead simple to benchmark your system running Ubuntu 9.04 or later. The step of having to go to the Phoronix Test Suite web-site to download the source or Debian package is no more (well, unless you want to grab the latest snapshot). To start benchmarking on Ubuntu it is as easy as running:
Ubuntu 9.04, the next Linux operating system release due out by Canonical in April, will not be shipping with the Linux 2.6.29 kernel like many had hoped for. The feature freeze for the Jaunty Jackalope is not until next week and the Linux 2.6.29 kernel will certainly be released by April (right now it's at -rc4 stage), but Canonical's kernel team has decided to stick with using the current Linux 2.6.28 stable series.
Not only did Fedora 11 Alpha make it out the door today, but so did the fourth alpha release for Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope). Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4 continues to build upon a bleeding-edge set of Linux packages (though still tracking the Linux 2.6.28 kernel) and has installation support for the EXT4 file-system and new notification capabilities.
Ubuntu 8.04 was released nearly a year ago with Ubuntu 8.04.1 arriving a few months later. Now this afternoon as part of Canonical's commitment to offering Long-Term Support to the Hardy Heron we have Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS.
The last Ubuntu 9.04 development update was in the middle of December (Alpha 2), but today Mark Shuttleworth's development posse has come out with a new update for the Jaunty Jackalope.
Ubuntu 7.10 had introduced support for install-time encryption to provide a fully encrypted LVM. However, this feature was only available through Ubuntu's alternate CD installer and not Ubiquity, Ubuntu's popular LiveCD installer. We had hoped the disk encryption support would be added in Ubuntu 8.04 and then later Ubuntu 8.10, but that never occurred.
On July 22nd of 2008 we shared that the source-code to Launchpad.net would be released by Canonical within the next twelve months. Mark Shuttleworth had made this announcement during OSCON 2008.
When checking out a recent daily LiveCD of Ubuntu 9.04 (the Jaunty Jackalope), the migration wizard found in the Ubiquity installer now supports migrating files from an Ubuntu installation.
It's coming a day late but Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" Alpha 2 is now available. The release announcement for this second test release can be read on ubuntu-devel-announce. This release carries a number of updates including the Linux kernel and X.Org. For more on the Ubuntu 9.04 features, check out this link.
Mark Shuttleworth, the space tourist and founder of Canonical, has made a special request: he wants to see your desktop. Mark is requesting that everyone send him screenshots of your desktop in action. He would like as many pictures of computer desktops as possible in order to study the desktop experience and design, which in turn will hopefully lead to some Ubuntu interface improvements down the road.
Late last month we shared that Plymouth may replace USplash in Ubuntu and that this matter was to be discussed further at the Jaunty UDS. With the Ubuntu Developer Summit now over, there are a few items to note from their Plymouth discussion.
Canonical's Rick Clark has announced today that the server build of Ubuntu is now available through Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service. Canonical has optimized a build of the Ubuntu Server edition for the EC2 environment and it's currently in a open beta program. Using Ubuntu in Amazon's cloud computing service is free, except for the normal costs incurred when using Amazon Web Services.
X Server 1.6 isn't being released until next month but the latest Git snapshot of it plus a slew of other updated X.Org packages have just made their way into the Jaunty repository for Ubuntu 9.04.
Scott Ritchie, an Ubuntu MOTU, has proposed that WINE be moved into Ubuntu's Main repository thereby making it shipping with Ubuntu by default in some form. This proposal is coming after he and several Ubuntu developers had discussed this idea last week at the Ubuntu Developer Summit. What he is proposing is that by default on new installations of Ubuntu, when clicking on an Windows executable file to come up with some prompt informing them of the possible actions, and then to setup WINE by default.
The Nouveau driver has been in development for several years now but with limited developers that are reverse-engineering NVIDIA's GPUs and there being no public documentation or support from NVIDIA, it has taken quite a while to come up with a reputable open-source driver that supports all of NVIDIA's hardware. Nouveau still doesn't have a stable released version of its 2D DDX or Mesa 3D driver, but development snapshots of it have appeared in Fedora and a few other distributions. With the release of Ubuntu 9.04 next April, a packaged version of Nouveau will finally appear in Ubuntu's repositories.
Launchpad, the web portal launched by Canonical for managing many different areas of Ubuntu work such as bug tracking, translation handling, and sharing of blueprints, now has a public API to expose its plug-in capabilities. Recently there were some official Launchpad plug-ins made available for integrating with Trac and Bugzilla, but now with this public API, anyone can write their own Launchpad plug-ins to provide for better integration with different bug tracking systems.
The first alpha build for Ubuntu 9.04 was released a week ago and there wasn't too much to take note of in this inaugural development release for the Jaunty Jackalope. Many of the packages were the same as what can be found in Ubuntu 8.10, there was the same theme, and the exciting Ubuntu 9.04 features have yet to be implemented. However, since that release several new packages have been accepted into Jaunty that begin to show change.
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