In September last year, Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind Ubuntu, announced Ubuntu 9.04 aka Jaunty Jackalope. And here you have it. The latest Ubuntu build hits the street.
When it was announced, Shuttleworth stated that Ubuntu will soon surpass Mac OSX and 9.04 will be the first step towards this goal. Though there hasn’t been any big show-stopper additions to Ubuntu 9.04, the neat improvements and tweaks do not disappoint at all.
The new release brings an uber polished user interface, so much so, that CNET even stated that Ubuntu is now as slick and beautiful as Mac OS X or Windows 7With Ubuntu 9.04, you can see for yourself how true is that.
Apart from several new themes installed by default, you also get a new login screen and a new boot screen. Better font rendering has also been added to the pack, so with the bold font on menus, Mac users will (more or less) feel at home.
A newer notification system has also been introduced, which is similar to Growl in Mac OSX. Whether you get a new email or a friend buzzed you, you will be entertained by a slick translucent notification from where you can take further action. See what it feels like (Flash demonstration)
The newer EXT4 partitioning system has been there for quite some time and it had been available in the previous release as well, but it wasn’t well supported and proved buggy for many. In the 9.04, it’s supported well, and works great. If you format your Ubuntu partition with EXT4, expect some significant improvements with handling large files as well as better boot times and wake up times when hibernating. Unlike with the previous version, EXT4 is no more bleeding edge but still is in developing stage. What isn’t in developing stage? Gmail has been for 5 years!
Some days back, Matt Cutts threw an install of Ubuntu 9.04 (beta) on a netbook with a SSD and discovered that Ubuntu boots from cold into a fully functioning desktop in 17.5 seconds and even faster with the EXT4 partition system. Even if you don’t have a SSD hard drive, boot times have been improved noticeably.
On the other hand, there have been several new additions to the softwares that come bundled. OpenOffice 3.0 now comes shipped. It missed the spot in the last release but now comes right by default. There’s a new version of Evolution, the mail client that now allows you to directly import Outlook’s PST file, making it easier for people to port their data and mails onto Ubuntu. You’ll also get Brasero, an all-in-one CD/DVD burning application that is now the default disc burning application. Firefox has also been updated.
Under the hood, Ubuntu has made improvements with an updated desktop environment, Gnome 2.26 and new X.Org server 1.6. With each new release, Ubuntu supports more hardware right out of the box and the list of supported hardware has just increased with the latest X.Org server now backing a lot of new ATI chipsets.
Those who are getting Ubuntu’s server edition will have a new feature to experiment. With this release, Ubuntu is trying to bring cloud computing to users with an easy to deploy and handle setup. This is how Ubuntu explains it:
Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition makes it easy to experiment with cloud computing. Eucalyptus, an open source technology which is included in Ubuntu as a technology preview, enables you to use your own servers to deploy, experiment and test your own private cloud that matches the Amazon EC2 API. You can dynamically create virtual machines, configure multiple clusters into a single Cloud and even provide an EBS (elastic block storage) equivalent and an S3 compatible storage manager.
The feature is added as a technology preview and may not be fully polished though.
9.04 is the first release when a Netbook friendly version of Ubuntu is dispatched with the initial release. Apart from the usual Desktop and Server Editions, you can also try out the latest Netbook edition which supports many popular models.
And remember, enjoy it, share it and pass it on!