back to article Ubuntu's Karmic Koala bares fangs at Windows 7

Ubuntu 9.10 - aka Karmic Koala - is taking the fight to Microsoft and its new Windows 7 operating system. The Koala - due for its official release today - brings faster boot times, a revamped software installer, better disk encryption, online services, and quite a bit more to the popular Linux desktop. We took the release …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    Shuttleworthian s^hcrap

    I'll stick with Slackware, thank you very much.

  2. Adam Williamson 1

    AppArmor in Fedora?

    "Ubuntu has included the AppArmor enhanced access control framework ever since the 7.10 release. However, Ubuntu has never surfaced or promoted AppArmor as much as other distros like Fedora. That continues with Karmic Koala where, for example, there's a new Firefox sandbox policy, but it's disabled by default."

    Huh? Fedora doesn't use AppArmor. AA is most prominent in Ubuntu and OpenSUSE. Fedora uses SELinux.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yes, but is it all still brown?

    I, for one, welcome our new fecal-hued overlords

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. sandman

    Linux Aussie Haters?

    "Given its stability, most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely..."

    OK, so Linux users are major contributors to the global warming which will force Australians to flee their beach properties. QED, Linux users hate Australians. Oh, and since global warming will trash the Antartic sea ice, they will also wipe out their cute little bird mascot - the bastards!

    Note for literalists: Yes, I know that global warming is a slightly contentious issue here, but the above is meant as a weak attempt at humour. Mind you, their electricity bills shouldn't be that funny. Still need an evil Penguin icon (and an evil Google one).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Faster boot times...

    "But of course it's worth asking how often the average user actually boots up Ubuntu. Given its stability, most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely, making the faster boot time of dubious benefit."

    Well I boot my Windows pc every day.

    Oh yeah silly me, it's a laptop, but of course Linux laptop owners leave theirs powered up 24/7, even when on holiday.

  7. Greg J Preece

    Fast, stable, pissing on Kubuntu

    Been using Karmic for donkeys, and yes - it is fast, reliable, and is another noticeable improvement over the previous version in terms of hardware support. However, the guys at Canonical, being GNOME fans, have started to piss in KDE users' cornflakes a little.

    For a start, asoundconf is missing from alsa-utils, apparently because of some new (GNOME-based) tool that's coming in. So for those of us who like KDE, and whose bosses have forced them to change soundcard by accidentally destroying the old one, this causes more than a little annoyance, as we can't set the default soundcard any more - the utility in KDE only sets it for KDE-based apps, such as Amarok. Right now I've got sound in some apps and not in others. What would have been so bad about keeping the script around? I know it was removed from the standard alsa-utils package, but who cares?

    Also, one or two GNOME apps won't start under KDE if you run the two alongside each other. Guess which ones. So if you want to install/modify apps in Kubuntu, you're stuck with KPackage, which really is a nasty interface.

  8. Bas

    Good Article- Ubuntu flying

    This is wonderful article with crisp information. Cheers Ubuntu.


    From India.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Empathy is an atrocious piece of software. Crashes regularly whilst typing simple messages, and it doesn't pop up new windows for incoming messages. Neither of which is a particularly useful for me.

    sudo apt-get remove empathy

    sudo apt-get install pidgin

  10. ratsac11

    blah blah blah

    Blah, Blah, Blah,

    Linux will only win when:

    -You can actually connect to the internet wirelessly, out of the box, or with either the drivers that come with it or those that come with most wireless adapters.

    -Other exotic hardware (like, um Nvidia video cards) works out of the box.

    -Exotic websites (like youtube) work without hours of mucking about (64bit version).

    -(most importantly for newbies) you can change settings without having to type stuff into terminal. This is how most help advice comes as of writing

  11. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Boot times...

    agree that most ubuntu boxes don't get rebooted very often, but same applies to netbooks. I've got an AA1 (running their own Linux) and I fully reboot about once a month - usually I just shut the lid and it suspends. Open the lid and it's 30secs until I'm checking mail - and most of that time is waiting for the WiFi to connect. Fast boot is good, but probably not THAT important - main thing is will the boot times stay constant over time? unlike my old XP box that now takes 5+ mins 'cos there's so much junk on it!

    Ubuntu good!

  12. Neil Hoskins

    "...most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely..."

    Really? What planet do they live on, then? Presumably one where energy prices haven't been rising well over the rate of inflation for the last few years, and aren't likely to increase by 50% in the next few years.

    Our home computers now get turned off when not in use. At work, this isn't feasible due to the half-hour-to-usable times we have to put up with on our crappy old machines, but as new fast-boot workstations start to come through, I shall be issuing instructions to turn them completely off at night.

  13. GilbertFilbert

    Karmic Koala?

    Who comes up with these names? I think I'll wait for the Boisterous Badger version.

  14. JP Strauss
    Thumb Up

    never would have thought...

    ... that I'd live to see something this awesome come out of South Africa.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Given its stability, most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely, making the faster boot time of dubious benefit."

    Yeah I only turn off my windows box when it crashes, oh and when I go to work, and sleep, and eat, and watch TV, shower, clean, etc

  16. Anonymous Coward

    i see no ships

    If Linux is to get anywhere on the desktop it needs to improve it's looks and interface.

    From these screenshots it still looks little improved over an early version of CDE in the interface department.

    At present the penguin should be replaced by a warthog.

  17. Peter Kay

    Pidgin does have some video support

    The front page at says '2.6.1 adds XMPP Voice and Video support (but not on Windows yet)'

    OK, so that's limited protocol support, but it's still inaccurate to say it doesn't have any.

    Then again, even though pidgin is my IM client of choice so far, I'd have to admit it needs a bit of work, especially on some of the interface and also the non multithreaded nature of the app. IRC support is still crap - even with some of the addons to improve things, and the initial IRC window hangs the entire pidgin app when loading on a slowish machine.

  18. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Pleateau d?

    With Win 7 being little more than a service pack for XP, with some new eye-candy and incorporation of applications that used to only be available as freeware, this new version of Linux seems to be following a similar line. It looks to be a fairly minor tweak of the previous version - which was itself only slightly different from the preceding release - which was .....

    While the developers tend to add some support for a few new devices, maybe the latest N-core processors and roll the applications to the next version number, it's still the same old Linux we've had for 5 or 10 years.


    Have we reached the point where this is pretty much all there is: some incremental improvements in boot times (to negate the huge amount of bloat?) different coloured GUIs and themes and another sickeningly cutesy name, designed to chip even further at Linux's credibility in the business world? Or is everyone just too scared of FAIL to experiment with dramatic new user interface paradigms.

    How about slapping a bit of AI into the O/S and maybe something to help users search their por^H^H^Hvideo collections - a sort of SQL for pictures.

    If Ubuntu/Linux/Gnome/KDE <whatever> really wanted to set itself apart from the other desktop systems, an interface that just asked the user "what do you want to do?" and took real-language inputs (written or spoken), rather than having to click a series of buttons to walk an application towards the result you want, would be so radical that it would almost certainly crash and burn. However, if it did succeed, it would leave the others in the dirt.

  19. J.Wild

    10 what?

    "for the price of 10 per month. " That must be 10 pingus, quite cheap really :)

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Most users in general can leave their systems 'on' indefinitely

    ...ever hear of hibernating your machine?

    For the person that mentioned wireless on Linux working "out of the box", I'd have to say that in my experience it always has, or with very little tinkering. I use a Windows driver on my Linux system with no problem. However, Windows 7 sees the wireless card but won't connect to anything. Known issue with my model of card. Seriously, if you have a computer, tinkering is going to be involved to some extent sometimes.

    If you could liken progress in computing to the auto industry, we're only just beginning to move beyond the age of the Model-T.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Is it me? (probably is)

    Looking at this, and all the goodies that Ubuntu have done for this release, new things, actual development things. Better file systems, encryption, boot times, cleaning up and making menus easier to read.

    Then compare actual new and development things that Win7 has brought. That come as standard (not a download) Pay extra for bitlocker, control panel is even more reliant on menus and sub menus, boot time is still no better than XP and half the "new options" were in vista or copied from Linux. Same rubbish indexing, chewing resources. Only the task bar is "new". (And not that great to be honest)

    And it's all free. No MS tax, no odd exchange rates for pricing, no lock ins, no anti virus scans daily. No WGA. (The biggest benefit I can see)

  22. Anonymous Coward

    First Windows 7 and now the great god Ubuntu

    Far too much hype here on el Reg. More brown stuff(sorry over hyped crap) from Canonical. No thanks.

    Ok, mines the one with a copy of Slackware 1.1 in the pocket. On 3.5in Floppy naturally.

  23. Greg J Preece

    @AC 08:08

    "What is it with the Linux fraternity and their stupid effing names for things?"

    Two words: Snow Leopard.

  24. alien anthropologist
    Thumb Up


    "You can actually connect to the internet wirelessly, out of the box, or with either the drivers that come with it or those that come with most wireless adapters."

    Try Linpus as default installed on the Aspire One Netbook.

    Took me mere minutes to setup Wireless ADSL connections for the Net and the office Network.

    Why minutes? I type a bit slow and my Wifi router encryption key is a tad long.. And it works fine.. seamlessly. Every time. Even reset at startup to the last Wifi connection I had running at shutdown. I also have fixed line configs in Network Manager for my home LAN, office LAN and when hooked via copper to my DSL router. Switching between networks is as simple as a mouse click.

    As far as networking goes... Awesome. Better than Windows even! As far as Linux goes and my experience with Linux GUI and systray network managers? F*cking awesome!!

    I have tried Ubuntu Remix (USB boot stick same netbook). IT SUCKS AT NETWORKING. Which comes as no surprise as I have yet to see (with the exception of Linpus), an easy to use and working Linux GUI net tool that pops up on the system tray and actually works.

    That said, Ubuntu Remix's web cam and games s/w are loads better that those included with Linpus. But that is minor ito networking .. that's simply working. Out of the box. First time. Every time. The reason why I'm staying with Linpus on my netbook and not using Remix.

    Mark and the boys can learn (and should borrow) from how well Linpus does it.. and how easy Linpus makes it.

  25. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


    Hmm... Have you guys ever observed a Koala?

    They're ... err.. karmic alright, what with all the eucalyptus leaves they eat.

    And yes.. why is faecal hue still there ? If ever OS's become scratch and sniff will we get the whiff of a zoo as well?

  26. Greg J Preece


    >>>-You can actually connect to the internet wirelessly, out of the box, or with either the drivers that come with it or those that come with most wireless adapters.

    >>>-Other exotic hardware (like, um Nvidia video cards) works out of the box.

    >>>-Exotic websites (like youtube) work without hours of mucking about (64bit version).

    Err, the answers to that are:

    1) You already can.

    2) They already do.

    3) That works fine too.

    When exactly was the last time you used Ubuntu?

  27. Harry Pearce

    Why the excitement

    All this seems avilable on my iMac at home, and that's running 10.3.9 Panther from around five years or so ago.

  28. Chris Reynolds

    This is the bit I wanted to hear...

    "Ubuntu also plans to offer commercial software through Software Center..."

    What Linux has failed to offer so far is premium software. Adobe's CSx suite is a prime example. One of Ubuntu's core aims is to promote free software, but I firmly believe that they must open the doors to closed-source to encourage mainstream acceptance.

    If they can get MS Office and iTunes available through their app store, they'll be the dominant OS.

  29. alien anthropologist

    @JP Strauss

    Seeing something awesome from good ol' SA?

    Then you only need to look at our Julius Melama. A more awesome example of a giant asshole you won't find anywhere else on this planet. Even that magnificent example of asshole-hood, George W. Bush, fades to a tiny little balloon knot in comparison.

  30. Greg J Preece

    @Pete 2 - A little unfair, mate

    "With Win 7 being little more than a service pack for XP, with some new eye-candy and incorporation of applications that used to only be available as freeware, this new version of Linux seems to be following a similar line. It looks to be a fairly minor tweak of the previous version - which was itself only slightly different from the preceding release - which was ....."

    Windows releases come out every 5 years or so (or every 18 months if you fuck one up and desperately need to re-release it). Ubuntu comes out every 6 months - it's designed to be a series of incremental steps.

  31. Defiant

    And yet you can't give linux away

    No digs when it comes to a Linux story again I see

  32. Gaius


    Running indefinitely and fast boot times are important when you realize that suspend/hibernate on laptops simply isn't usable on Linux.

    This apparently is due to a conspiracy of motherboard manufacturers in the pay of Microsoft who won't keep rewriting their firmware for every new kernel.

  33. Jason Bloomberg

    Re : "Wanky Whale"

    That's got legs and I'd vote for it, though they'll probably go with something much more mundane like Wacky Walrus.

    But where do they go after Zippy Zebra ? Assuming they can make it past "X".

  34. steogede


    I hope they manage to sort out some instructions for installing the UNR from a flash drive - now that they have done away with .img files in favour of .iso (seems a little retarded for UNR - seeing as how they don't have CD drives).

  35. Llanfair

    One good thing about 8 bit computers

    At least with the Amstrads and the Spectrums, you did not have to wait to start up the machine :-) You could start using it immediately. When you had software like Protext on the CPC on ROM, you had a word processor immediately :-)

  36. Anonymous Coward


    You mean Wifi drivers like any Intel ones? I've run Ubuntu on Thinkpads and I'm currently running it on Medion S5610 and the wireless just worked out of the box. The only typing I had to do was to enter my WPA2 key. That was the case on the Toshiba I had as well, it just worked- a Tosh which dual booted into Vista where the wireless card would work once and then lock you out claiming that the wireless hub hadn't responded in a "timely manner". There was NO fix for that so it was bye bye Vista.

    Video card on the Medion is a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400. Ubuntu found it and offered to download and activate the closed source drivers from ATI.

    So no command line there....

    My wife's XP laptop has suddenly decided NOT to allow her to upgrade iTunes.

    The fix?

    1. On the Start menu, click Run.

    2. In the "Open" field dialog box, enter the following command and click OK:

    regsvr32 vbscript.dll

    3. A message should appear stating that the "DllRegisterServer in vbscript.dll succeeded."

    4. Click OK and try installing iTunes or QuickTime again.

    So apparently its OK to expect people to use the command line on Windows, but when it comes to Linux its wrong and shows how old fashioned and user unfriendly it is.

  37. The BigYin

    It's that time again

    After the RC install totally hosed a laptop, I backed-up the home folder (yes, I should have done that first...but there was nothing essential on this laptop; just stuff that would have taken a while to copy over/install. Anyway, the fact I could still do this on a hosed system shows how resilient the underlying architecture of Linux is) and will be hitting it with a full, ext4 release install. It's an old lappy and it'll be interesting to see how it behaves.

    I'm curious about UbuntuOne, but I don't get the whole cloud thing to be honest. It smacks of the whole fat-server/thin-client ethos of yesteryear. And unless UbuntuOne can *do* something for is it any better to an FTP site and some local scripts? Still, everyone seems to have a hard-on for "cloud" these a bit of dicking around is probably a good thing.

    The encryptions is interesting. I am a fan of TrueCrypt, but if the baked-in encryption allows me to move files about (encrypted) and then de-crypt them in a more seamless way, then that should be good. I wonder if there is a Windows app for working with the encrypted folders?

    Oh yeah, Windows. I'm going to have to fight with Samba again. Oh god. To be fair, I think there is something up with my home Windows network, but Samba is a total ARSE to get going and set-up so it works seamlessly with Windows (then again, I don't have a lot of spare time).

    At least on the lappy I'll be able to test the multi-screen support. I wonder if that is still totally bollocks? If there are three things that are light-years ahead on Windows, it's multi-screen support*, RDP and printer support (although the last is not the fault of the Linux community).

    Still, I've been really happy with 9.04 on various systems and whilst there are still usability issues with Linux when compared to Windows (some are simply the fact that Windows is familiar, others are Linux still being geek-centric), Linux is rapidly becoming a viable contender in niche areas (small PCs, netbooks).

    Will Karmic make an impact on Win7? No. Not to the average consumer anyway. Perhaps on the back-end, but almost all new desktop PCs will still come with Win7 and what Linux kit you can buy will be lower-spec'd crap when compared to the Win7 stuff. Unless the Linux-distros can find a way to break MS's restrictions on the supply chain, I seriously doubt they will ever hit consumer mainstream.

    *Yes, I know it can be done on a Linux distro, but it sucks. You cannot guarantee that you can control which desktop is primary (random driver issues), and you have the whole "square" virtual desktop thing to contend with which can also be an arse (one desktop left scrolling). Oh yeah, and you need to manually install xrandr and hack scripts to have a hope of getting anything even half working. That's been my experience any way. On Windows...Desktop Properties/Settings/a few clicks/job done. Linux distros *MUST* make it that easy. End of gripe.

  38. Kevin Bailey


    'leave them running indefinitely' isn't really clear.

    When you leave an Ubuntu machine is goes to sleep and uses barely no electricity. For me, I just shut the lid when finishing and the laptop suspends to disk - then when starting work I just open the lid, enter password and carry on from where I left off.

    You're probably only used to Windows poor way of trying to do the same - for modern OS's things are much better - after all the guys who can write such a brilliant OS can also sort out sleeping and suspending properly.

    This is why the boot times aren't that important - I hardly ever reboot. And I don't think my wife has rebooted her Mac in months!

  39. The Commenter formally known as Matt

    faster boot times

    >Given its stability, most Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely, making the faster boot time of dubious benefit.

    This maybe true, but seems to inply Windows users turn their pc off because Windows needs it, which I think is false. I think most windows users turn their pc's off because they have finished using it and there is no reason to leave it running! If home users started using Linux mainstream I doubt this behaviour would change.

    I turn my pc off at night not because Windows is in some way less stable than Linux, but because:

    a) it's in my bedroom and I can't sleep with the flashing leds and fan noise!

    b) it's a waste of power

    and c) it's not nessesary

    Linux wont change any of those reasons except possibly point c: my old ubuntu box takes about a fucking month to boot up - if Linux is to go mainstream this is one thing they really need to address, so I have to disagree with your assertion that this is of dubious benefit, as this is clearly the market Shuttlecock are aiming for.

  40. Kevin Bailey


    If fact, it's the millions and millions of PC's servers running bloated Windows OS which is part of the problem of excessive energy consumption. Most Windows PC's seem to be running at full pelt just to be on and doing nothing. This has been pointed out about MS so often in the past.

    Modern OS's are part of the solution - so I would suggest that Australians start shifting over asap and get everyone else to do the same!

  41. Rich 2 Silver badge

    @ratsac11 - nVidia hardware

    "Linux will only win when.... Other exotic hardware (like, um Nvidia video cards) works out of the box."

    nVidia refuse to release details of how to talk to their hardware. How are you supposed to develop a driver for it? The OpenBSD people have been trying for years to get info from nVidia without any success.

    It's an utterly stupid attitude from a hardware manufacturer - "we would like to sell you our hardware but we're not going to tell you how to use it".

  42. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Thumb Up


    MSN a/v chat! finally, I'm switching to Linux now...

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    will it work with Microsoft ACPI ?

    Making (microsoft) ACPI not work with Linux ..

    "Foxconn .. have several different tables, a group for Windws XP and Vista, a group for 2000, a group for NT, Me, 95, 98, etc. that just errors out, and one for LINUX"

    The one for Linux points to a badly written table that does not correspond to the board's ACPI implementation, causing weird kernel errors, strange system freezing, no suspend or hibernate, and other problems"

    'You are incorrect in that the motherboard is not ACPI complaint. If it were not, then it would not have received Microsoft Certification for WHQL', Foxconn


    'One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn’t try and make the “ACPI” extensions somehow Windows specific', billg Jan 1999

  44. Kevin Reader
    Paris Hilton

    Have they fixed/replace the attrocious network manager?

    After playing with Ubuntu in its last incarnation that's the best question I can ask.

    Crazily it worked fine in the live-CD mode, but once installed it relied on "Network Manager" which ought to be called "Notwork Manager" instead of the old linux (unix like) configuration files. Nothing could get it on our network without disabling this atrocious tool and using the old style configuration.

    Oh - and the design of the manager is so poor that it ignores the standard configuration files - and it does not even comment them out or add a comment to explain why they will be ignored - before not working. I thought perhaps we'd done something odd, but no there were loads of complaints about the shoddyness of NM in the support forums. For the last 2 or 3 releases! Who does that remind me of. Apparently there is a much better tool but its ignored for not being Gnomic enough....

    Paris - due the the ill conceived tools ofcourse.

  45. Clive Harris

    They wanted to call it Loathsome Longhorn...

    but Microsoft beat them to it!

  46. wjake
    Dead Vulture

    Ubuntu One?

    "Sadly, in our limited testing the Ubuntu One site continually timed out and threw proxy errors so we never able to login and sync our files. If nothing else, we take that as a sign that the service is popular with Ubuntu users."

    If you replaced "Ubuntu" with "Microsoft" it would read like this:

    Sadly, in our limited testing the MicrosoftOne site continually timed out and threw proxy errors so we never able to login and sync our files. If nothing else, we take that as a sign that the service is COMPLETE AND UTTER BOLLOCKS, AND MS CAN'T CODE THEIR WAY OUT OF A PAPER BAG!!

    Really, why can't you just tell us Ubuntu One isn't working, or do a little actual investigating to find out why it isn't working, instead of MAKING THINGS UP?

  47. Anonymous Coward


    It's been a long time since I saw any Linux distro that didn't work with an Nvidia card out of the box. Maybe even a decade.

    Ububtu's wireless system has come along leaps and bounds and now seems to actually work better than Windows in many common cases.

    My wife's very happy with Ubuntu, although I'm still not convinced and I'll stick to Gentoo for now.

  48. Arthur McGiven

    It's today now - so where is it?

    It has been today for more than 12 hours now and still the website says "Coming soon"

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    author- please read your article before publishing..

    You talk about newbie users who will love the new app store... then say that most linux people dont reboot and within a couple of paragraphs are telling us about encrypting our laptops.

    Sounds to me like you have an idea of what a linux user is (a stereotype maybe) and then talk about the new users coming in their droves from windows, only to change again by talking about linux on laptops.

    Perhaps, just perhaps linux is very versatile and there is not so much as a linux stereo type anymore?

  50. Qux
    Thumb Up

    Nice work, Canonical!

    Ubuntu Netbook Remix installed with no hassles and works very nicely on a brand new ASUS 1005HA for the mother-in-law. Much faster, and easier to use than the Win 7 netbook I test-drove. Amazon even refunded me $58 for the pre-installed copy of Windows whose EULA I rejected. If Win 7 is the best that Microsoft can come up with, I'm going to stick with my OSX and Linux boxes.


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