Thursday, September 3, 2009

Karmic Koala Alpha5

I downloaded Ubuntu Karmic Koala Alpha 5 today and gave it a test in my laptop. This laptop has Intel 945 graphics chip and it performed horribly with Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04). For this reason, I still use Ubuntu 8.10 in that laptop and in my desktop I use 9.04.

The Live-USB booted with no issues. The boot process now uses Xsplash instead of Usplash and it is different than the previous version. The rest of the artwork is still the same, but it should change a lot until September 24th when the Artwork deadline exprires. The notification system dims & blurs when you hover the mouse over it and it simply looks awesome!!!

Default desktop, showing the cool notification system

The first thing I wanted to check was of course the performance of Intel graphics chip. Compiz worked flawlessly and glxgears run at about 1000fps, which was almost equal to 8.10 installed on the HDD. In 9.04, it had regressed several times slower.

I connected using an ethernet cable and as usual it worked fine.
Sound was fine too and after 5 hours of running from the Live USB, it didn't crash (some applets crashed here and there, but the X system never)so I guess I could even upgrade now to this ALPHA version and start using it for my everyday computing!! After installation it will boot and run a lot faster compared to the live-USB and previous versions, since it uses the ext4 filesystem by default. By the time the stable version is released, the stable kernel and the tweaks by Ubuntu developers will probably give it another boost to speed along with stability.

I noticed a bug, the workspace switcher won't allow you to increase the number of virtual desktops, It was already submitted to Ubuntu's Launchpad, but not to Gnome bugzilla, so I filled it in the latter(copied Ubuntu's bug report actually...)
So, that makes me a Gnome developer now, I guess...LOL!

Update: The bug is marked as fixed in Gnome bugzilla.

Summary of tests I performed on my laptop:
  • Graphics card:
  • Sound:
  • Ethernet:
  • wireless: not tested
  • Microphone:
  • Touchpad, usb ports:
  • Function keys:

So does an upgrade to Karmic Koala seem a good choice?
For those with Intel graphics, it is an absolute must, since the driver in Jaunty was slow & broken and made many Ubuntu users skip that version or switch to other distros. For everyone else, it is a welcome (and free...) upgrade which includes a new kernel, ext4 by default, Firefox 3.5, Openoffice 3.1 and Gnome 2.28.

Next Alpha ver.6 will be available in September 17 and it will probably include new artwork, since the Artwork Second Drop, will take place in September 10th.


rokytnji said...

Curious as to why wireless wasn't tested L4.

I have Mint 7 XFCE 4.6 which is based on Jaunty running wireless on my Panasonic CF-48 with Intel 2915 chipset. At first wireless would drop in and out every few seconds with ipw 2500 (default kernel) module installed. Found that Mint/Ubuntu didn't have dhcpcd installed by default. Had to install it myself with apt-get via land line to fix it. Works like a champ now.

rokytnji said...

LOL, just hit me. One needs a wifi spot.