Ubuntu 9.10 Released

Tombuntu has been pretty quiet lately, but a new Ubuntu release definitely requires a post! Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” has been released. I haven’t had a chance to upgrade my main desktop system yet, but I have been running 9.10 on my netbook since the late alpha releases as well as in a virtual machine. Here are my thought on the new release.

There were many problems with Intel’s graphics drivers in Ubuntu 9.04. My only system using Intel graphics is my Eee PC netbook, which worked fine with 9.04, and is working better than ever with 9.10. Kernel mode setting is enabled by default, which means that the display’s native resolution is set early in the boot process and does not change even when switching to a terminal. Compiz works great, and windows with 3D rendering will no longer have the 3D area render on top of other windows or in the wrong location. Performance is good enough to play Quake Live (with Compiz disabled).

Since Ubuntu started using PulseAudio by default, it has never worked properly for me. On my netbook, the new version of Skype and PulseAudio are working much better than in 9.04. Most of the problems have been on my main system which I have not upgraded yet, but I’m hopeful. The new sound preferences looks great, and finally exposes the application-specific volume controls that PulseAudio supports.

The boot experience has been improved significantly. I rarely reboot my desktop, but my netbook boots fast enough now that I don’t bother with standby mode and am booting and shutting down often. Booting starts with usplash, just as in previous releases, but now with just a simple white Ubuntu logo and no progress bar. If a disk check is needed, its progress is displayed in usplash. X now starts much earlier to display the brand-new xsplash. xsplash features a fancy spinning progress animation. Next, the newly re-written GDM login screen is displayed with a dark theme matching xsplash. After logging in xsplash is displayed again until the desktop is loaded. The plan is that usplash will not be needed when X/xsplash is able to start early and fast enough. My only complaint with the boot experience is that the xsplash animation stutters a lot.

The new Human theme and Humanity icons are still brown, but look fantastic. The Dust theme, as well as a few nice wallpapers are installed by default.

I’ve finally adopted Ubuntu’s netbook remix interface on my netbook. In previous releases, I’ve always used the full desktop. The auto-maximization and compact window switcher work great for me. The netbook launcher is handy and looks great, but is sorely missing a text box for launching apps. Also, in large categories scrolling is too fast, while in categories with few entries scrolling is very slow. I also wish that the netbook remix left out some applications to save disk space because the smaller SSD in my Eee PC is only 4 GB (and who needs a CD burning application on a netbook?).

OMG Ubuntu has a visual tour of some of the new features. If you’ve installed 9.10, here’s a great post with a ton of things you can do next.

Archived Comments


Good to see you are still posting!

On the surface, I found performing a clean install of Karmic to be a smoother experience than it was for Jaunty. Having used it for a few days now I am aware of a few annoying issues:
1. crackling sound - initially, I thought oh no!! pulse audio but Xubuntu didn’t have it this time around. It was a problem with the Intel HDA chip easily fixed by commenting out a line in a config file);
2. Firefox hangs frequently after suffering a CPU spike (it doesn’t appear to be flash or a corrupt profile though);
3. Laptop fan frequently maxes out even when CPU is doing nothing (I suspect something to do with Intel drivers again - can you blame me after Jaunty!!);
4. generally sluggish feel…noticably more sluggish having come from Xubuntu Jaunty

I think Karmic is a step forward but I still think Canonical should slow down and make sure things are right first!


Hi slumbergod,
You wrote you had crackling sound and you fixed it “by commenting out a line in a config file”

I have the same problem. What did you do? What did you comment?


Good review!
It’s strange that the improvements to the sound in are barely mentioned in the release notes. In my opinion, it is the biggest improvement in this version. The sound ‘Just Works’ and the settings are easy to use. It used to take me hours of twitching the settings to get the sound working after each upgrade, even before pulse audio was introduced. This is big!

For me, finally having the much faster Firefox 3.5 is also a big plus of Ubuntu 9.10 (Chromium is still quite unstable on my machine).


I am really like 9.10 a lot, but on my HP notebook it didn’t give good battery life so I rolled back to 9.04. Other than that, I love Pulse audio as it actually works with my card well, love new boot up and the log on screen. What I am looking forward to is boxee to be updated as I want to update my eeebox so it can take advantage of teh kernel mode setting. I think the new software center is awesome and puts a foundataion down for what Canonical want to do with it with later release. Overall it an excellent release, by far the best Ubuntu release IMHO.

HP 6730S

Im really sorry that i have to agree with Mohan who said that the battery life is bad for karmic koala version, im consider also to return back to 9.04 and the only reason for that is the BAD BAD BAD battery life


My favorite feature of 9.10 is bluetooth A2DP support! It finally works out the box, and it works really well w/ PulseAudio. It was extremely easy to setup too!


I Performed a Clean Installation of Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” In My EeePC 901 Using Ext4 Filesystem, Works Great So Far And The PulseAudio Is Fantastic “Loud & Clear” But The Touch Pad Gesture Functions “Like Scroll Up & Down Using Two Fingers” Is Not Functioning In This Version. Overall Performance is Good.


i’m still waiting for the next LTS release…
but, this koala is a temptation…need to learn more about this release..


Nice, I like it..
Firefox hangs frequently after suffering a CPU spike (it doesn’t appear to be flash or a corrupt profile though);

Laptop fan frequently maxes out even when CPU is doing nothing (I suspect something to do with Intel drivers again – can you blame me after Jaunty!!);

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