Ubuntu’s 9.10 Karmic Koala release dropped yesterday, and I dove right in, downloaded it (via BitTorrent), and installed it on my aging Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop.

I didn’t do an upgrade, I reformatted my primary partition, and installed it clean. I keep my /home directory on a separate partition precisely so that I can do this easily, every 6 months as a new release comes out.

Installation was quick and easy, and so far, I’ve seen no major problems.

Notes so far:

  • As expected, the "Extra" visual effects (Compiz) does not work properly (the laptop has an ATI Mobility Radeon X300). "Normal" visual effects mode works fine.
  • The base installation is missing just about every useful codec. This blog post is a nice guide to installing all of the media "goodies" in Karmic.When I first installed all of the packages listed here, none of the video codecs seemed to work properly, including "Movie Player" crashing whenever I tried to open a video of any type. I figured that I'd either have to uninstall the packages, or maybe just re-install Karmic, and then install one package at a time, until I found the culprit. Fortunately, at this point, I powered the laptop off. When I started it again, everything worked fine, and has continued to do so.
  • I was seriously impressed with the short boot time in Jaunty Jackalope, and Karmic's boot time is even faster. All I can say is, "Wow!"
  • Karmic has a new login screen, that lists the user names, and has you pick one. Frankly, I don't care for it. First, my fingers are "trained" to type my user name and password to log in, and now I frequently type my user name in the password field. Second, not that I need to worry about it so much on my home laptop, but displaying a list of the user names lowers the barrier for someone attempting to log in who shouldn't be able to. Third, I think that the new screen is very ugly. I like Ubuntu, but their themes always seem to suck bigtime. Brown themes, black login page with blocky graphics...ugh. Fortunately, this stuff is easy to change.
  • I don't do a wide variety of things with this laptop - basically web browsing and Java programming. Occaisional audio editing. Occaisional image editing. Not too much else, so I can't really comment on the range of applications that ship with this version. I'll report more as I find anything interesting.