Ubuntu 9.10: The Karmic Koala Benchmarked And Reviewed

An Extreme Make-Over

Along with the new default software and integrated services, Ubuntu 9.10 has undergone a complete makeover. Major updates to the overall look of the OS have been promised since version 8.10, but never materialized. The bootsplash and login screen did change in 9.04, and optional themes were also added to that release. However, the full overhaul we have all been waiting for is just happening now with 9.10.

Installation Slide Show

If you have already installed 9.10, you probably noticed the addition of a slideshow during installation. It highlights some of the features found in Ubuntu, but thankfully it also retains the status bar from earlier versions.

Bootsplash

Even though the bootsplash was touched-up for the previous release, Canonical has decided to redo it again for 9.10. Instead of another variation on the usual red, orange, and yellow Ubuntu logo and a progress bar, there are actually two very different splash screens this time around. The first to appear is uber-minimalist, with a simple all-white Ubuntu logo in the middle of the screen. The logo pulses bright to dark and back again in place of the conventional status bar.

The second bootsplash is the opposite of minimalist. A spotlight appears over the Ubuntu logo and name, all in front of a grand curtain bathed in the typical brown color scheme.

Login Screen

The all-new login screen from 9.04 was also short-lived. It has been replaced by a new login screen that Fedora users might find very familiar. It includes a drop-down menu to select the user, whereas you would have to enter it manually in Jaunty.

The options to switch GUI, languages, and keyboard layouts now appear only after first selecting your user. After typing in your password, the second brand-new login splash screen briefly re-appears before the desktop. Of course, you can choose to skip this entire process by selecting Login Automatically during the fifth step of installation, or via System/Administration/Login Screen.

Wallpapers

With this version of Ubuntu, users finally have a decent selection of wallpapers to choose from upon installation. It's not a massive change, but other desktop distributions, such as Mandriva, have included little touches like this for years. Along with new wallpapers, the ability to use a slideshow of wallpapers as your Desktop background has also been added.

Theme

The orange Human theme that has been a part of Ubuntu since the first LTS Edition (version 6.06 “Dapper Drake”) is no more. But instead of throwing out Human for a new theme, the creators of Ubuntu decided to update Human into a dark theme. Fans of the familiar orange window borders can still use the old Human theme by selecting the Human-Clearlooks theme from the Theme tab in System/Preferences/Appearance.

Icons

The default icon theme has changed from the minimalist Human icon set, to the more polished Humanity icon set.

Even many of the icons that remain mostly the same from Human to Humanity have gotten a little coat of gloss.

System Tray

Along with the rest of the icons, the system tray icons in Ubuntu 9.10 have been completely changed. Gone are the slightly miniature versions of the larger system icons. Karmic has made the move to the minimalist, one-color system tray icons a la Windows 7.

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    Top Comments
  • burnley14
    The new Upstart feature sounds terrific. Windows needs to take notes, I hate the awkward limbo of seeing your desktop but not being able to do anything.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • burnley14
    The new Upstart feature sounds terrific. Windows needs to take notes, I hate the awkward limbo of seeing your desktop but not being able to do anything.
    10
  • Anonymous
    Hi,

    I was a bit surprised to read your slaughter of Ubuntu 9.10, because that does not reflect my experience with it. My first thoughts when reading this were related to the (possible lack of) integrity and technical skills of the author (sorry about that). Then I remembered that I experience a few minor issues when upgrading from 9.04 to 9.10 as well and that I read about people which were unhappy with it. However, none of these would IMHO deserve the label "epic fail".

    Spending four days for installing 9.10 and reinstalling 9.04 seems like way more time than you should need. I upgraded my computers running Ubunutu in less than an hour. I have not tried a clean install but it would surprise me that this would be any harder. My parents have also been using Ubuntu for more than a year now without any complaints (this includes an upgrade to 9.10). Maybe I have been lucky?

    I have been using Ubuntu at work and at home for the last 3-4 years and I am pretty happy with it. I am also happy with the fact that you (Tomshardware) have been writing about Linux a bit more frequently. Keep it up, but don't be so harsh :)
    5
  • jj463rd
    I tried it on one PC.Had constant problems with the Mouse not working,system locking up etc.I went back to installing rock solid older 8.04 LTS on it which worked without problems (except for the time consuming (about) 450 updates).
    4
  • rsmith13
    I also got the Kernel problem error messages after installing Xubuntu 9.10 on an AMD 64 system. They went away after doing an update. I now have Xubuntu 9.10 on 5 single and dual core AMD 64 systems. with no problems.

    Do the update!
    5
  • cyberkuberiah
    hardware driver support from the hardware makers themselves is lacking , i installed ubuntu , could not connect to belkin wifi even after using the prop drivers , and then uninstalled it . patience over .
    1
  • haplo602
    nice article ... I mostly skimmed through it :-) anyway can you include a windows 7/vista benchmark base for the same hardware ?

    I know some of the test will be irrelevant (like the timed installation) but most should work.
    2
  • DGriffin
    I had 9.04 and upgraded to 9.10 with out any problems at all... I have a AMD 64 processor and had no problems with the 64bit vir... ..idk maybe I got lucky, but I sorta doubt it..
    2
  • MaxTesla
    The screensaver starts after 5 min so when you install Ubuntu the screen saver will start and the screen will go black you need to move your mouse too see the instalation again, this could of course be mistaken for a crash
    0
  • MaxTesla
    The screen saver starts after 5 min so when you install Ubuntu the screen saver will start and the screen will go black you need to move your mouse too see the installation again, this could of course be mistaken for a crash
    -6
  • Anonymous
    I tried installing Ubuntu 9.10 via Wubi, immediately after rebooting from Windows and seeing the Ubuntu bootscreen it gave me a black screen, with my monitor reporting that there was no signal. Back to Windows I go, I suppose. :/
    0
  • techguy378
    Windows is the most advanced desktop OS ever created. Unless you have a really, really old computer that can't run anything past Windows 98 there is never a reason not to run Windows on a PC. Don't waste your time with this Linux crap. Free isn't always better.
    -9
  • Anonymous
    Oh! Please!

    All these installation crashes sound like memory failures. Did you run memtest before installing?
    -3
  • ibnsina
    Simplicity + smooth Graphics UI = Great Linux

    Great Linux + industry support (drivers+gaming) = Great Operating System
    6
  • Anonymous
    Techguy378- Depends what you want it for. I use both OSes extensively. I quite enjoy not having to run an antivirus on my Ubuntu machine for instance. The responsiveness of Ubuntu is much better on the same machine when compared to windows, It's just unfortunate that some hardware isn't fully supported. That situation has improved a lot over the last few years but it's still there- my laptop would run ubuntu but the ACPI code in the bios is buggy (this is a hardware issue NOT a software issue- Microsoft just hasn't implemented the layer correctly which, oddly, circumvented the issue. Lucky! That said, i'd like to question what a proper implementation is if the one done incorrectly is the one that works....)

    I use Vista for my audio stuff, mainly because Fruityloops lags in Ubuntu. I also use Vista on my laptop for the ACPI issue, but I use ubuntu on my Desktop and server, because it's just less of a monster and requires less aftermarket tools to keep running. (Antivirus.)
    3
  • Anonymous
    I just spent the entire night trying to get Ubuntu 9.10 to get my USB devices to work in high speed mode. And I still haven't got it to work yet. Looks like there are a LOT of issues with Ubuntu. I only need to copy some stuff out of my ext4 partitions and using Ubuntu seems to be the wrong choice.
    -3
  • rean24
    I had no problem with 9.10 .
    Installed it through "Wubi" Not sure should i make the major change with a clean install.

    But soo far I havnt had any complains , all the effects are working , oline , workwise its Top-Notch.

    And Yes i am a Unbutu N00d..But Windows PRO...And if after a month of no problem will make the major change in OS.

    Only Complain I had was with my Logitic wireless mouse , but a quick change to the Microsoft one solved it all...
    2
  • dimitrik
    Good review. The fact is that about half the reviews of 9.10 are either negative or neutral due to problems encountered. Compared to the near universal positive reception of 9.04 this does warrant the words Epic Fail, especially since it squanders much of the goodwill built up by the success of 9.04.

    Based on all the reviews, I'm not even going to bother trying to run 9.10.
    I will give Linux Mint 8 a try instead which is based on 9.10 but has been customized for even more user-friendly operation and stability.
    The previous release Mint 7 was a nice improvement on 9.04 (which was great too) so I hope the Mint guys can pull the rabbit out of the hat again.

    Either way, I'll dual boot the new OS with my old one before even thinking of making it my main desktop.
    5
  • tvel
    I had no problems installing my 9.10 64 bit and I was surprised to read all the trouble you had.
    I'm using it for a month now with no problems at all.
    1
  • JimmiG
    Well, I've tried Ubuntu 9.04 previously, and it installed without a hitch on both my desktop and laptop systems.

    9.10 however just gives me a black screen when trying to use the bootable CD on my laptop. On my desktop system it installs fine, but doesn't detect my wireless adapter. 9.04 detected it automatically.

    I could probably fix both issues with patience, but it proves that Linux still isn't ready for desktop/laptop use, even though Linuxtremists have been claiming that for a decade.
    2
  • nevertell
    I've been using it since it went beta, and I haven't experienced any issues with the out-of-the box stuff. I do hate, the new media manager, I just want a tool to switch from alsa to PA when I want either gaming with wine or regular day-to-day use.
    1