Dr. Oliver Diedrich
30 October 2009
It’s been a long time since the developers made so many changes in Ubuntu: With Karmic Koala, they have unleashed a whole host of innovations on Ubuntu users.
While recent Ubuntu releases have been more about careful enhancement and distribution maintenance, the current version 9.10 offers a new look as well as a whole range of new technical features – the developers have restructured the distribution’s standard filesystem, boot system and hardware maintenance, and they have introduced new software. Not everything is completely new; many changes were introduced into Ubuntu as part of a gradual development process and have now reached the maturity required for general use.
Changes start at the filesystem level: Ubuntu 9.10 now installs itself on Ext4 by default; in previous versions, users still had to access the text-based installer on the Alternate Installation CD and partition manually to use the Ext3 successor. A tip for those who like to experiment: While Btrfs is available in Ubuntu 9.10, it hasn’t yet made it into the installer – if you want to play around with the “next generation filesystem” for Linux, you have to install it manually.
With the switch to Ext4, the Ubuntu developers also updated the default boot manager, which is now Grub2. The new boot manager in Ubuntu 9.10 is visually the same, but offers several extended features: For instance, it can start the Linux kernel not only from Ext4, but also from LVM and RAID partitions. However, the installation of the latter two is still not supported in the graphic installation wizard of the standard desktop CD, and has to be done via the text-based installer on the Alternate CD.