What’s New In Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

23rd April 2009 is the day when Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope will be released. I am sure many of you have already marked down the date and prepare yourselves for the launch.

I have been using Ubuntu 9.04 since the beta release and I must admit that I am really impressed with it. Not only is it faster, it is also more stable, user-friendly and definitely more elegant.

To better prepare all of you for Ubuntu Jaunty, I will be publishing a 5-part series, covering tips and tricks and some points to take note when dealing with Ubuntu Jaunty. This series will be published every day, for the next 5 days.

For the first part of the series, we are going to look at the new features of Ubuntu Jaunty and why is it a must-have for existing (and future) Ubuntu users.

The kernel is not a part of the system that we meddle with everyday, but it is the most important part that determines how well your system runs. In 9.04, the the 2.6.28-11.37 kernel based on 2.6.28.8 was used. In simple term, this kernel supports Ext 4 filesystem, has a better memory management , provide better disk shock protection and many more useful features that you won’t see it in the frontend.

For Ubuntu, the latest Gnome 2.26 is included as the main desktop manager. Gnome 2.26 comes with plenty of improvements. The more notable ones include:

  • Brasero as the default disc burning utility in Nautilus
  • Improved handling of multiple monitors
  • Evolution now supports Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (PST files) including E-mail, contacts, appointments, tasks and journal entries. It also added support for the Microsoft Exchange’s MAPI protocol, which makes Evolution’s integration with hosting Exchange servers a much easier task.
  • Movie player now comes with several more new plugins such as sutbitle downloader, video disc recorder and Jamendo

Ubuntu 9.04 officially supports the Ext4 filesystem. In case you are not aware, Ext4 has a bigger files support (supports volume up to 1 exabytes and file of size 16 terabytes), backward compatible, making it possible to mount ext3 and ext2 filesystems as ext4 and a faster filesystem checking.

While the default filesystem in Ubuntu Jaunty is still ext3, there is an option to format your hard disk to ext4 during the installation process. Those who are adventurous enough can try it out. For your information, I have reformated my system to ext4 and it works great.

ext4-partition

Open Office 3.0

Open Office 3.0 did not make it in time for the previous 8.10 release. This time, OpenOffice 3.0.1 was included as the default office suite in Ubuntu 9.04.

Session Manager renamed as Startup Applications

Previously, if you need to make changes to the startup applications, you need to go to the Session Manager and add/delete the entries. In Ubuntu 9.04, the Session Manager is renamed as Startup Applications, probably to avoid confusion and provide more clarity to new users.

Computer Janitor

This application is a new inclusion in Ubuntu. What it does is to help you find and remove software packages you might not need anymore. It also suggests configuration changes that might benefit you.

computer-janitor

There have been a lot of improvement on the look and feel in this version.

New usplash screen

new-usplash-screen

New login screen

Ubuntu 9.04 new-login-screen

New notification style

notification-style

New default wallpapers

Even though the background color is still the dull brown, they are definitely a radical change from the previous series of wallpapers.

new-wallpaper1new-wallpaper2

New desktop themes

Dust theme

dust-theme

Dust Sand theme

dust-sand-theme

New Wave theme

new-wave-theme

If there is anything that I am extremely impress with this new release, it must be the fast boot-up speed. The boot up (and shut down) speed is much faster. If you have installed Ubuntu 9.04 in ext4 format, enable automatic login and disable most startup applications, you should be able to boot up to your desktop in less than 18 seconds, as experimented by Matt Cutts. That is really fast!

Ubuntu 9.04 will be released on 23rd April 2009. You can download the LiveCD from the download site. To upgrade your current version of Ubuntu, simply run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Even though the Ubuntu site stated that the beta and RC release are not meant to use on production machine, I have installed and tested them out and they both work fine on my computer. For those who can’t wait for the actual release, you might want to upgrade to the RC version. One thing though, do remember to run the Update Manager everyday to get the latest software update.

Image credit: notebooknotes

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