After more than a month since Ubuntu/Kubuntu 9.10 codename Karmic Koala was released, here are some thoughts and noteworthy things about it:
Ubuntu 9.10, among other recent Linux distros, now uses Grub2. I didn’t read all the release notes, and when I suddenly became curious at taking a look at my menu.lst to see what Grub2 has in store for me, I was in for a surprise. Grub2 doesn’t use menu.lst anymore. It seems menu.lst is already part of legacy Grub. Initially I disliked this, having used menu.lst since I started Linux (6 years ago). The menu.lst has now been superseded by the /boot/grub/grub.cfg file. However, the grub.cfg file is preferably not to be edited by the user, as it is automatically generated by other scripts such as grub-mkconfig. Now I think it’s a good idea to have this boot file editable by a script, which has rigid syntax and rules in order to properly create a boot config file. Of course, nobody is really stopping the hacker inside any of us to not edit the file, nor to create our own menu.lst, or even to revert to legacy Grub versions.
- man file of grub-mkconfig
Ubuntu 9.10 also uses the updated version of Xorg (as of typing this I use version 1.6.4) doesn’t use an xorg.conf anymore. As Ben Grim/The Thing puts it, “What a revoltin’ development!”. Again initially I was irked by this, but later I also realized it was for the better, since xorg.conf was becoming too cryptic for newer users of Linux. Now the xorg.conf tasks are being handled by several other config files and scripts.
Which got me thinking, since xorg.conf has already been deprecated, what of the ctrl+alt+backspace that we (or at least I) have grown to love when restarting X? It turns out, the ‘dontzap’ option didn’t work anymore, I tried it. The ‘dontzap’ directive worked for 9.04, but apparently not so for 9.10 onwards. As a result, one way to turn on ‘ctrl+alt+backspace’ back in Kubuntu via graphical method is as follows:
Enabling Ctrl-Alt-Backspace for Kubuntu
- Click on the Application launcher and select “System Settings”
- Click on “Regional & Language”.
- Select “Keyboard Layout”.
- Click on “Enable keyboard layouts” (in the Layout tab).
- Select the “Advanced” tab. Then select “Key sequence to kill the X server” and enable “Control + Alt + Backspace”.
Or, for command line folks like me, by doing
setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp
Deprecation of hal
Several scripts, including devkit-power and devkit-disks are being used as replacements for hal. So far no issues here, and I think so far power as well as disk management in 9.10 is doing great. I do still see hald running in my machine, wonder why that is.
Some caveats and surprises
I’ve had several issues regarding my initial install of Kubuntu 9.10 32 bit desktop. One was Dolphin crashed a few times while I was dragging and dropping files to VLC’s playlist window. These crashes happened in the first 2 to 3 weeks of my installation, regardless of my constant updating of the system. The great thing however is that KDE wallet, coupled with the revamped bug reporting of KDE 4.3.X/Kubuntu 9.10 makes it so much easier to report bugs nowadays. Eat your heart out Micro$oft. I do wish they’d fix and close the bug soon.
I haven’t really been using Konqueror a lot lately since Kubuntu 9.10 now has an ‘Install Mozilla Firefox browser’ option included, even in the live version of the OS, which is nice. In the KDE 3.5.X era I used Konqueror a lot, not as a browser but as a very useful file, ssh, ftp, samba, whathaveyou browser. Nowadays Dolphin is all that except a browser. I can still use Konqueror as my main file browser though, I might try that some time. But I’ve grown to slowly accept Dolphin in my day to day computing tasks. The previews, zoom in/out sliders, different panels, and the widget make of Dolphin make it a delight to use. So so far no issues with Konquer in 9.10 yet.
Dolphin also makes management of drives a breeze, whether they be internal (IDE, SATA etc.) or external (USB drives, media players etc.). The Oxygen theme also looks very sleek and futuristic.
As with my installation of Ubuntu 9.04, ext4 was a marvel to behold, more so since the 9.10 version uses ext4 by default. Even with apache2 and mysql running at boot, my boot time is well under 30 seconds, even with older single core procs. Scripts like ureadahead make booting much faster.
Conclusion – for now
Other than perhaps minor setbacks I forgot to mention, plus the introduction of some new technologies I listed above, the 9.10 version of Ubuntu/Kubuntu is a marvelous piece of work, stability, dependability, and usability wise in my opinion. So far. Can’t wait for 10.04/Lucid Lynx.