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Ubuntu 9.10: The Karmic Koala Benchmarked And Reviewed

Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Although it's not being offered pre-installed on very many new netbooks, Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) has struck a chord with developers. Netbook distributions with growing user bases such as EasyPeasy, Eeebuntu, and the upcoming JoliCloud all use the interface from UNR.

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For version 9.10, UNR ditches the three-paned home screen from 9.04 and instead goes for a much more logical (and better-looking) two-paned approach.

Other than the extremely minor beef about the small band of opacity in the home screen's sidebar, UNR seems to have dodged every bullet that hit the Desktop Edition of Ubuntu 9.10. This second iteration of UNR is faster to boot, wake, and resume than the 9.04 version. Menus also have a much snappier feel, rounding out a generally more responsive user interface. Even the awful all-in-one trackpad of the Dell Mini 10v works better on a fresh installation, though disabling the tap-to-click option is still probably the first thing Mini 10v owners should do after installing any Linux distro. Simply click on System in the left pane on the home screen, then select the Mouse option and un-check the box for Enable mouse clicks with touchpad.

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WiFi did not work out-of-the-box, which isn't unusual for Linux. However, Karmic quickly found the proper Broadcom drivers and alerted me to their availability via a system tray icon and pop-up notification. Just click the notification icon and choose one of the drivers (there is an open source and a proprietary option). This is about the most hassle-free way to install a WiFi driver yet.

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With the 64-bit Desktop Edition being completely unusable and the 32-bit version marred by bugs and poor choices, UNR becomes the real winner for the Karmic release. Despite what I say in the Conclusion regarding Karmic, UNR 9.10 is definitely worth a download. Because JoliCloud, Moblin, and Chrome are still not quite ready for prime-time, I have to give UNR 9.10 the Tom's Hardware recommendation for this round of Linux netbook OSes.

  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 :)
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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 .
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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..
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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. :/
    Reply