back to article Next Ubuntu alpha reveals video change

The next Ubuntu should see improved video performance, along with updates to the underlying Linux and open-source infrastructure. A change in the video architecture has been revealed as the Ubuntu development team released alpha code for the next, planned edition: Ubuntu 9.10, codenamed Karmic Koala. Ubuntu 9.10 will feature …


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  1. Quirkafleeg


    Some of us are already happily using UXA with 2.6.30-rc*: Debian packages from testing, unstable & experimental, though admittedly with a custom kernel.

    (Well, mostly happily. The 3D acceleration seems to be in one of its slower phases at present.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    FFS, Why is this news?

    Why is everything that happens in GNU/Linux development always something "Ubuntu" is doing these days?

    The switch to UXA has nothing to do with Ubuntu, it's just what is happening upstream.

    Ubuntu has one of the worst track records of all the distros for contributing code to upstream projects like the Kernel and, so to see news stories about "innovations" in Ubuntu is really quite out of place and does not credit those people who do the real work.

    Where Ubuntu should be praised is in their marketing for getting the news stories into this sorry state.

  3. captain kangaroo

    Alpha Code....

    ,,,Not for newbies...

    As for nasty surprises, that's part of the Linux experience surely ;)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Wait a minute...

    ...linux isn't perfect already? I mean, from what I keep reading...

  5. Steve Roper

    Karmic Koala...

    Looking at Ubuntu's alphabetical version naming convention - Feisty Fawn, Gutsy Gibbon, Hardy Heron, and so on - my question is, where are they going to go after they release Zippy Zebra? ;)

  6. Steven Raith
    Thumb Down


    Tell you what, when VSync actually works on my HD4850 for HD movies under Ubuntu, then I might actually move from Win 7 7077.

    Untill then....well. Win7 works for HD media. Ubuntu don't. Simple as.

    They have to sort out the basics.

    Steven R

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @Wait a minute...

    i think you are confusing OSX with linux

    Flame - cos the appletards are only moments away

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And as soon as the video subsystem will be improved, can anyone start working on the printing subsystem in Linux, please ? Adding printer drivers in Linux is still a major pain and a horrible task. CUPS is ok but why the hell do I have to endure all kind of dependencies, foomatic-like stuff, filter problems and others just to make my one year old HP printer print ? I finally did it (and I almost enjoyed it) because I'm a Linux enthusiast but I'm afraid a lot of people would go strait away to other platforms without ever looking back. Come on guys, we're the laughing stock of the Windows crowd and we have nothing to bring to our defense.

    @David Wiernicki : No, and I suggest you should stop reading whatever you were reading unless you really want to understand Linux.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 22:54

    Well, it's news to anyone who doesn't keep an eye on what's happening upstream.

    i.e. Almost everyone who has a life.

    OK, so perhaps the stories should say where the innovation comes from, but let's be honest, most Linux users are now Ubuntu users, so a story with Ubuntu in the title gets to the greatest number of readers.

  10. elderlybloke

    FFS, Why is this news

    Dear Anon,

    I expect it has something to do with Ubuntu being about five times more popular than any other Linux OS.

    A happy Ubuntu user.

  11. LaeMi Qian

    I use Kubuntu

    Kubuntu Karmic Koala.

    Should I start making a white pointy face-concealing hat?

    (And nice to see Konqueror can finally handle this comment board again!)

  12. Tom Silver badge

    Nasty Surprises?

    What like DRM or having to upgrade my kitchen sink to the latest MS version and finding out that my latest version of office cant even read the old versions OOXML standards MS fought so hard for, or worse still I have the fastest computer I've ever bought and its slower than the 16Mhz W3.11 I had when I was in nappies?

  13. Tim Bates


    This is hardly big news. It's been coming for some time...

    Both changes are things everyone is doing anyway.

  14. Macka

    Can't happen soon enough for me

    I'm one of the unfortunates who upgraded to 9.04 and got caught with the Intel graphics mess. My workstation went from a relatively slick setup to under 8.10 to a system that will no longer run Compiz, won't play any video formats unless I run the progs from the command line with flags to get round it, which is terribly slow. And scrolling down a lengthy slashdot discussion now whacks my 3GHz P4 cpu usage up to 50% and it lags visibly. Basically it's unusable. At least I had the foresight to backup my 8.10 build first, and will probably restore that this weekend. I had been thinking recently about purchasing a new laptop, with particular interest in those with Intel graphics chips as I thought they were well supported. No longer.

  15. Paul M

    (With acknowledgement to...)

    "...linux isn't perfect already? I mean, from what I keep reading..."

    Of course not silly boy...

    Linux is the worst possible choice for an Operating System, apart from all of the others....

  16. Jonathan

    @Anon Coward

    Because despite the lack of upstream code contributions, Ubuntu has done more for Linux than any other distro.

    It would be impossible to get Linux on a laptop/notebook were it not for Ubuntu. Ubuntu is easy enough to use and robust enough to convince even the likes of Dell to offer it on their laptops. Were it not for Ubuntu, Linux would not be in the user friendly state it is, and it would not have reached as many people as it has. It would still be dependent on the f'ing terminal for everything.

    Ubuntu may not rewrite the kernel every 6 months, but they introduce more people to Linux than any other distro has.

    Oh wait - you liked Linux before it was mainstream. I get it.

  17. Arnold Lieberman
    Gates Halo

    That's one more mile along the road

    Suspend/resume times is one of the issues that made me give up on xubuntu 9.04. All they need to do is sort out power management (like, putting the wifi card into battery mode when on battery), bluetooth and CIFS and I'll be happy to give it another spin when Windows 7 RC is due for uninstallation (which by the way has run brilliantly on some pretty old hardware).

  18. Colin Guthrie


    My god, some of the comments here are so fanboi biased towards Ubuntu.

    Here was me thinking the Linux community was a nice place where people worked together for a common good (spats between KDE and GNOME not withstanding :p). The whole "Ubuntu made it possible for linux to work on laptops" is just so staggeringly untrue that it beggars belief. If you want to drink their marketing kool aid that's fine, but don't spread it about for goodness sake!

    Ubuntu take open standards and cripple them for their own use, they don't play nice with the wider community and all their users are blind to these approaches and sing passionate praises... hmmm, Ubuntu is the new Windows and Canonical the new MS.

    Sorry, but for someone involved in the actual development of upstream projects (tho' admittedly not in a big way), Ubuntu as a contributor to the linux ecosystem still has a very long way to go. Please note that I'm not taking about Ubuntu *users* who contribute to upstream projects - which distro you use is your own choice, I'm talking about it from a corporate involvement basis here. For all his billions Shuttleworth could have made Linux better, instead he's create a distro that exists in a bubble of ignorance. Companies such as Redhat, Mandriva and Suse/Novell have done far, far more for the greater good. I really do hope this changes in the future - I do believe a billionaire can change it's spots :p

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Roper

    I believe that, after Zippy Zebra, the next one is gonna be called Acorn Antiques...

    As for all you guys wondering why Ubuntu gets all the publicity, it's surely the most popular and easy to use distro? At least, that's what they claim...speaking as a Fedora Freak myself, I'd love to see some kind of definitive ranking.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Not being picky, i agree about Ubuntu, but my early experiences with Redhat 6 were painful on an IBM thinkpad.... that pushed me to Debian when Ubuntu was still a random thought in a not yet spacemans brain.

    Debian was always surprisingly easy to run on laptops... maybe that is why Ubuntu is?

  21. Fred

    Video problem? What video problem?

    I've been using 9.04 for a few weeks now and not noticed ANY video problems!

    The system is fast (on 1100Mhz and 794Mb ram), and the graphics are tidy and slick, even with the 'jelly windows' turned on.

    If you've got suggestions just find Ubuntu Brain storm...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    System with bugs in it?

    Funny I don't see all the MStards flaming Your-Favourite-Distro for releasing an operating system that seems to have bigger holes in it that the ozone layer, and then announcing these will be fixed in the next release...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jonathan: Linux on notebooks

    "It would be impossible to get Linux on a laptop/notebook were it not for Ubuntu."

    Are you saying that Ubuntu is responsible for Linpus (Acer) and Xanderos (Asus)?

    "It would still be dependent on the f'ing terminal for everything."

    There were many GUI-based Linux distributions available long before Ubuntu came on the scene.

    I'm a happy Ubuntu user too, but your claims for it are outrageous.

  24. Mark McC
    Gates Halo

    I don't care who is credited with the improvements...

    ... just so long as they work.

    I went back to Linux recently and the graphics subsystem was utterly abysmal compared to the complicated (but reliable) XFree86 days. I discovered my laptop's Radeon chipset is no longer supported by ATI's current drivers, while the last supported version won't compile against 2.6.29 or higher kernels,

    Switching to the open-source radeon driver (which claimed to support my chipset) resulted in my laptop booting to a blank screen. It later turned out that the driver cleverly defaults to the external VGA port on laptops, even when no VGA monitor is connected. Turning to xrandr got my laptop's panel activated but then disabled the external monitor when I finally connected it. GNOME's display manager applet insisted I had only one monitor. xrandr reported both monitors, but telling it via the command line to activate the second monitor reported success but did nothing except flicker the display slightly.

    After dropping to a command line and editing xorg.conf by hand (you know, the step all these 'improvements' were supposed to negate) I finally got a dual-screen setup. Well, for about 5 minutes until the graphics subsystem locked up completely while trying to open a video on the second screen. 3 days of endless configuration resulting in zero success was not the new user-friendly Linux I'd hoped for.

    Final solution: reinstalled XP, clicked the single checkbox "Extend my desktop to this monitor". End of story, not a single lockup or crash in the months since. I don't care who gets credit for improving the abomination that is Linux video, just so long as someone does it.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Vid issues

    I run three Ubuntu set-ups (one desktop, one virtual and one laptop). The desktop suffers from the vid issue as it has an Intel chipset. 9.04 has serious issues with Intel chipsets.

    As to Ubuntu being easy to use...I'd say yes and no. It still suffers from the usual Linux foibles:

    1) Random documentation (poorly cross-referenced, often out of date etc; the amount of crap still kicking about for Dapper is depressing)

    2) Obscure/Poorly explained architecture (GDM, X11, decorators, gstreamer, pulseaudio...ARG! What is all this crap?)

    3) Needing a degree in computer science to get networking going

    4) Needing a PhD in computer science to try (note the word "try") and set-up a firewall!

    5) Terrible printer support

    Now, for some of these people will say "It is not the fault of Linux if hardware manufacturers don't release drivers!" And that may well be true. But it does not change that fact that Linux has terrible printer support, and that is a serious issue.

    On the whole I like Ubuntu (Windows has issues too) but I think I may try a few different distros before making the switch. If they every get their printer support sorted that is....

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Huh... the Joke Alert icon broken, or something?

  27. Mark Fraser

    @Steve Roper

    Why is that any time an article mentions Ubuntu then everyone starts going on about their code names? It's not as if they're the only ones - Debian uses characters from Toy Story and I've no idea where Fedora gets its from.

  28. Joe Burmeister


    No secret docs could be better, but it's always best to go to the documentation/faq on the site of the tool if possible anyway.

    GDM, X11, etc etc are all explained if you just look them up on Wikipedia.

    Networking? I'm assuming you don't mean a straight forward IP network. That should just work. Never seen otherwise. If you mean Samba, it's not too bad once you read the docs or someones quick summary (use my smb.conf file for instance). If you mean wireless, no idea, I'm a wire fan. ;-)

    PhD for firewalling? God how do I apply for this PhD! I could do with some extra letters to my name! ;-) iptables are fine, and Gufw makes it even easier.

    Terrible printer support? Depends on the manufacturer of the printer, and that's not CUPS/Linux fault. HP seam to work fine, just plug and play. No installing driver with crappy branded bundled apps.

    I miss Ubuntu when I'm at work, especially Bash and Guake. :-(

  29. Adam Williamson

    File a bug

    "Switching to the open-source radeon driver (which claimed to support my chipset) resulted in my laptop booting to a blank screen. It later turned out that the driver cleverly defaults to the external VGA port on laptops, even when no VGA monitor is connected."

    No, it doesn't. This is called a 'bug'. (It's usually caused by psychotically terribly designed hardware / video BIOSes which, quelle surprise, get worked around in the proprietary ATI driver and then carefully not documented anywhere...)

    Did you file a bug on the problem, with logs, at ? If no-one does that, it's not going to get fixed. The radeon driver developers aren't psychic, and can't tell what exactly the crack-addled monkeys at your graphics card manufacturer did to fuck the thing up until you send them a report.

  30. J

    Re: System with bugs in it? AC

    That's right, AC. People should definitely ask Canonical for their money back. Just like the MStards do ask MS when they have the same experience and have to wait years for the next release of their favorite OS, I suppose?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Unexpected changes...

    KDE 4.X is a good example of what not to do. Cool new stuff that average users (business types) have no use (or patience) for.

    The KDE guys went all-out and changed their entire UI experience, turning the desktop user's world upside down and shaking it. This is OK for those who are experimenting, but there are ALOT of Linux desktops out there in small offices and when a Distro switches out something that is as W2K and XP-Like as KDE 3.5X, for something as totally weird as KDE 4.X (being incomplete also did not help), it made life as a support person a living hell. So, out with KDE and in with Gnome, returning the user to some stability in their UI experience with an environment that is at least quasi-familiar to them.

    Users like stability. Evolutionary changes are good; improving performance and useability. Users don't like radical paradigm shifts in their UI, it drops their productivity forcing them to spend time re-learning the environment, perhaps forcing them to change how they work. Small steps, are needed, not massive upheavals.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Roper

    Aggravated Apertyx

  33. Martin Owens

    The Basics

    >> They have to sort out the basics.

    Do they now, who died and made you boss of volunteer land?

    Damn pesky freetards, just because they think Freedom means charity they think they can order around people who they have absolutely no business relationship with. Get you wallets out and PAY for the fixes and improvements you want, or your just going to have to hope that someone else can save your arse (and watch as they do it their way).

    What's wrong with people today? No social majesty in their souls.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @Joe Burmeister

    "miss Ubuntu when I'm at work, especially Bash and Guake. :-(" might ease the pain a bit

  35. Daniel Palmer

    @AC 13:47

    > 1) Random documentation (poorly cross-referenced, often out of date etc;

    > the amount of crap still kicking about for Dapper is depressing)

    Well, the documentation in Debian is one of it's strong points,... So I wouldn't say Ubuntu's problem (according to you) is consistent across all the distributions..

    > 2) Obscure/Poorly explained architecture (GDM, X11, decorators,

    > gstreamer, pulseaudio...ARG! What is all this crap?)

    Eh? The X11 stuff is an industry standard and has been for decades. There is also tons of documentation specific to Xorg's X11 implementation. GDM, Window decorators etc are pretty simple things in comparison to X.

    > 3) Needing a degree in computer science to get networking going

    You can't operate <insert some network manager frontend here>???

    >4) Needing a PhD in computer science to try (note the word "try") and set-up a firewall!

    There are literally hundreds of iptables scripts that simplify the process, there are even GUI tools. I suggest you look up firehol which is a very good example of an iptables script.

    > 5) Terrible printer support

    Do a test print from a recent version of CUPS and read along the bottom where the copyright notices are. Look out for a certain type of fruit.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    I must be doing something wrong

    I've installed Ubuntu on several, quite different machines and had no trouble whatsoever.

    As for printing, that bugbear of yesteryear, well I didn't set anything up at all -- the printer on my server shows up without me having to do anything.

    My server, incidentally, is running Fedora 10 because I needed the recent printer drivers for a fairly new printer and setting that up was just a question of pointing and clicking. And drivers for recent (and indeed, old) printers are there largely because Apple look after cups and have enough clout to actually get vendors to supply enough details for drivers.

    There's far too much of people assuming that because they tried to put some ancient distro on new hardware that it doesn't work. Or equally that they tried some distro 10 years ago (Red Hat 6?) that things haven't moved along a little.

    Linux is not Windows: it moves along quite quickly and quite publicly. The speed means that experiences of 10 years ago aren't applicable to what's happening now. The public visibility means that bugs are seen, but more to the point, are fixed, because sure as eggs are eggs there's going to be someone, somewhere with the requisite knowledge who's suffering this problem and is willing to fix it. Sometimes that's been known to be me :-)

  37. Steven Raith

    @The Basics

    I guess that comment is directed at me.

    I don't count being able to tell OpenGL to be able to vSync with hardware acceleration as something that needs specialist development for - vSync is a very, very basic premise of video play backa nd 3D rendering that has worked for decades on all systems.

    So why is it so horrifically broken with the ATI drivers?

    I apreciate that this is something that ATI need to look at, as well as the open source community [who could probably teach ATIs *nix buffs a thing or two given access to the hardware spec] but it's pretty tragic that it's not working.

    Frankly, if I could give someone £20 to tell me how to fix it permanently, I would, be they an upstream developer or just a random in the pub.

    I've managed to almost sort it using a few dirty hacks, but now when playback isn't fullscreen it flickers white, and when it is fullscreen, the flickering goes, but ti still tears, although less so.


    Anyway, this rant was provided by Hoegaarden, lovely stuff :-)

    Steven R

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