Ubuntu Users Looking a Bit Jaunty Today

It's that time again, ladies and gents — time for the biannual release of a new Ubuntu version. This time it's the Jaunty Jackalope, officially Ubuntu 9.04, rolling off the line, and bringing with it a fresh new set of features users have been longing for.

Prime among the features being touted by the Ubuntu camp are improvements in speed, perhaps rather fitting for a release named for the jackalope. Boot speed is reportedly greatly improved, as low as twenty-five seconds in some cases. Hibernation and suspend/resume have been enhanced, including immediate availability post-hibernation. Those we spoke to noted an impressive improvement in boot speed, significant even for virtual machines, as well as dramatic speed improvements in finding and connecting to wireless networks.

Of course, the release incorporates the latest GNOME release, 2.26, which itself incorporates features including: a new disc burning application dubbed Brasero; improvements to the Empathy messenger client, which include enhanced VOIP support; better support for multiple monitors; integration of the volume control tool with PulseAudio; as well as improvements to Evolution, Epiphany, and file sharing. Not to forget that it all rests on the X.Org 1.6 server, likewise the latest release from that project. X.Org 1.6 promises free drivers for many video cards, as well as 2D/3D support for a range of ATI cards.

A new notification system has drawn quite a bit of attention, combining the various notification systems used by applications into one cohesive system, eliminating the mess of notification windows that the current system can become. Notifications are presented in a "simple, unobtrusive manner," and also included is a menu to set preferences for notification icons. Speaking of icons, there is new artwork and new icons for 9.04, though the much-and-ever-so-highly-vocally-bemoaned Human theme remains — yes, that's the brown.

The ext4 filesystem has been added for the 9.04 release, though the ext3 filesystem remains the default — developers say ext4 will be considered for the next release based on community feedback. The release also incorporates the 2.6.28 kernel, on which the 2.6.28-11.37 kernel used by 9.04 is based. Also, the apt package management system will now install all recommended packages when installing an application, in accordance with Debian policy. This change was introduced in Ubuntu 8.10, and continues in 9.04 — those updating from versions prior to 8.10 or installing for the first time may not be aware of this behavior. A full list of features and improvements is available in the Ubuntu 9.04 Technical Overview.

Potential issues with installation include a bug which causes incorrect information to be displayed when both the "Install them side by side" and "Use the largest continuous free space" options are selected. The display showing the disk's appearance after installation is inaccurate, but Ubuntu will be installed correctly. Additionally, if the automatic partitioner allocates a swap partition that is smaller than the amount of available RAM, the system may be unable to enter hibernation. Those intending to use the hibernate feature should ensure the swap partition is of appropriate size.

Those upgrading to 9.04 may face a number of issues as well. Users with D945 motherboards from Intel may experience timeouts leading to a "Gave up waiting for root device" error on boot and leaving the user at a shell prompt — slower-than-normal detection of SATA drives is responsible and a fix is available. Upgrading from either of the 9.04 alpha releases, or the beta release, may result in /etc/fstab utilizing LABEL= rather than the preferred UUID= syntax — as this could cause unexpected results should a filesystem with the same labels be introduced, developers recommend correcting to the preferred syntax.

Also affecting pre-RC versions of 9.04 is a Python bug which results in an import error, while eCryptfs users upgrading from alpha versions of 9.04 are being advised to re-encrypt any encrypted files due to an upstream kernel bug. Wacom tablets — which will now hotplug without the need for xorg.conf modifications — may also experience X server crashes if xorg.conf still contains manual entries for the device. Speaking of X.org, the default logout behavior of ctrl-alt-backspace has been disabled by default in 9.04 — it can be re-enabled either through xorg.conf or the dontzap --disable command.

A few networking-related issues may be encountered in Ubuntu 9.04. Users who in the past have required a kernel module option may find wireless completely nonfunctional due to the CRDA wireless regulatory framework enabled in 9.04 — removing the module option and utilizing the iw reg command should resolve the issue. Also, Kubuntu's Network Management is unable to connect to WPA2 and certain VPNs — switching to knetworkmanager or network-manager-gnome is suggested.

Ubuntu 9.04 users will also discover that update notifications have changed — rather than displaying an icon, as in the past, 9.04 updates will be announced by the update manager launching directly. Also, while security-related updates will continue with daily notifications, other updates will only prompt on a weekly basis. A number of additional issues have been identified and can be viewed in the full Ubuntu 9.04 release notes.

Overall, it would appear that despite some potential pitfalls and the usual long wait to download, Ubuntu 9.04 has lived up to its promised impressiveness. All that remains is to get down to using — and, of course, to developing 9.10.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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Check out the Ubuntu hardware

Anonymous's picture

Check out the Ubuntu hardware compatibility list at http://www.ubuntuhcl.org/.

Ubuntu 9.04 is great... unless you've got an ATI Radeon 9200 SE

Alfonso Romero's picture

I used an Ubuntu 9.04 Live CD on a PIV 2.66 GHz, 2GB RAM with a Radeon 9200 SE AGP card, and the only thing I got was a messed-up screen. After tweaking xorg.conf for about 6 hours, I finally gave up and used my AMD Sempron machine with an NVIDIA integrated card. It's working good, but I was very disappointed because I love to work with my ATI card... I know it's a bit outdated, but I have no problems in Windows XP... I'm trying to convince other people to use Ubuntu because it's a good candidate against Windows, but this problem with my ATI card worries me... It didn't even work with a generic driver!!!

problem with radeon 9200se video card

sbh's picture

I have the same problem. The screen displays goble-dee-gook instead of a login screen with my radeon 9200se video card, which works fine in Win xp. So now I need to figure out how to downgrade back to gutsy.

intel X performance doesn't look good

erno's picture

It seems they won't get the performance problems of the Intel graphics driver fixed, so a lot of people will have a really slow X experience. See https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/342923

25 seconds?

Christian Dannie Storgaard's picture

Boot speed is reportedly greatly improved, as low as twenty-five seconds in some cases. - twenty-five?!
My machine boots in as low as 7 seconds on 9.04, and that's with a slow hard drive!

This really is a great release, zero problems so far and everything works beautifully!

Did the writer actually test Ubuntu 9.04?

Anonymous's picture

"Boot speed is reportedly greatly improved..." did the writer not actually experience this?

"...a new disc burning application dubbed Brasero..." - not not new, just the default for the first time.

"...the apt package management system will now install all recommended packages when installing an application, in accordance with Debian policy. This change was introduced in Ubuntu 8.10..." this isn't new, it's two releases old

"Overall, it would appear that despite some potential pitfalls and the usual long wait to download, Ubuntu 9.04 has lived up to its promised impressiveness..."

That's not the end of it; every description of a feature or bug is taken from some web page or the other. A good cut and paste job. And there is no word like "impressiveness".

Reviews of distributions without using them -- boy, how does one expect to be taken seriously? And LJ claims to be the oldest and most trustworthy Linux magazine?

I like the interface, but......

JimmyTheGeek's picture

......anytime I tried to use any app or transfer more than 500 MB of files, the computer would hang. This is after either a distro upgrade from Intrepid AMD64 to Jaunty AMD64, or from a clean install. Bummer for me -- went back to Intrepid. My system: AMD Phenom X4, 6GB RAM, ATI 3850HD, 2x320GB WD HDD RAID 1, 2x19" Widescreen monitors. My hardware is quite new (built system later last year), so there _shouldn't_ be a problem. But for now, I'll be sticking with Intrepid.

hardware compatibility

Tuxly_Tuxford_McTuxtington's picture

A guy I know tried to install Intrepid last weekend, but ran into some hardware incompatibility that proved to be a showstopper. I had suggested to wait the extra couple days to download the newer version and hope that compatibility was improved, but I honestly didn't know if he'd be in luck. He installed Jaunty without a problem. This is very nice to see. :)


PJT's picture

Every two years? I thought Ubuntu had two releases a year, and hence is semi-annual...

Actually Correct

Anonymous's picture

Actually the author is correct in his use of bi-annual. According to my dictionary:

biannual = semi-annual or twice a year
biennial = once every two years

Upgraded to Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

Wei-Yee Chan's picture

I upgraded to Jaunty about a week ago. Simply awesome!!! Love it!!!

Jaunty is fast as hell!

Paul Snider's picture

I'm loving the new Ubuntu 9.04 I downloaded it and installed ASAP yesterday! I got everything setup in about an hour. Now I'm just copying all my music files. :)

I'm only using Ubuntu no Windows whatsoever been Windows free since 2007.

My PC has increased in boot up time tremendously as well it used to take about 55-59 seconds now its anywhere between 20-25 seconds!

Haven't really had time to play around with any other new features yet.

Anyway much improved since 8.10.


waparmley's picture

Hey, I LIKE the Human theme! Makes my laptops immediately recognizable as "not Windows," if nothing else.

"What can Brown do for you?"



Tuxly_Tuxford_McTuxtington's picture

Jaunty is great! I installed the release candidate when it came out and just did an update today, everything got up to date nice and quickly. :)