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Canonical releases a new version of its Linux distribution, Ubuntu, every six months. Sometimes new versions, like 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” are definitely worth the time investment, while others, like 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” should be avoided. So, where does version 9.10 stand? Is the free download worth your time and bandwidth, or should you stick with the (still) cutting-edge 9.04, or even the rock-solid 8.04 LTS release? We've had a month to really get to know the Karmic Koala. We've put it through the paces and now have our final verdict.
Going against all prior experience and common sense, I decided to install Ubuntu 9.10 onto my main production machine, as well as my secondary desktop. Normally, I would use a tertiary box to test a new distro, but Ubuntu is my current OS of choice, so chances are good that I'm going to want the latest version. First, I backed up all my data because I wanted to do a fresh installation. I would have been stuck with the ext3 filesystem and the legacy version of the GRUB bootloader had I opted to simply upgrade my current 9.04 installations.
Along with the standard review of the latest Ubuntu, this article debuts the Tom's Hardware cross-platform benchmarks. The suite is made up of a few time-based tests, some application-based benchmarks, as well as two popular synthetics. Besides being cross-platform, these benchmarks are all free (as in gratis) to download, so there is nothing stopping you from testing out your own boxes.
The Desktop Edition of Ubuntu is the main focus of this review. While I do include a section on Ubuntu Netbook Remix, only the Desktop Edition is benchmarked and covered in detail. Variants, like Kubuntu and Ubuntu Studio, aren't covered here either.
It seems that Ubuntu Moblin Remix (UMR) has not yet reached a final release, and therefore will not be reviewed. UMR is available from Ubuntu's Web site, but only as a daily development build. If you want to give it a whirl, head on over here. Just don't expect too much from it at this point in time.