First Alpha of the New Ubuntu

Nov 24, 2008

Just a month after the release of Ubuntu 8.10, the first alpha of Ubuntu 9.04 has become available. The next distro version should boot more quickly, require less power, integrate more web services and include a backup solution.

The Ubuntu developers decided to move from Intrepid Ibex to Jaunty Jackalope, the fabled "killer rabbit" of North America.

Ubuntu certainly has fabulous plans for its new release. For one thing, 9.04 should boot much faster, mainly because it will be loaded on netbooks and mobile devices with decreasing hardware resources. Maybe a recent performance benchmark from Phoronix, where Ubuntu 8.04 booted more slowly than its predecessor, had something to do with it as well.

At the same time, Ubuntu wants to integrate Canonical's Netbook Remix package, a special Ubuntu variant that, thanks to its support of Intel's Moblin Atom processor, is especially designed for netbooks and other small display devices. A further goal is to integrate more web services in desktop applications. Totem currently supports YouTube videos and Banshee integrates radio. Apparently Ubuntu wants to capitalize on this trend.

Strange that an improved power management is just now on the agenda, considering that the power-saving theme was current about a year and a half ago. Now wireless will be deactivated with a cable connection and a power module reduces USB consumption. Users are recommended to shut off WiFi and Bluetooth when not being used.

Not least of all, Ubuntu 9.04 should include an integrated backup solution. Securing data hasn't always been a priority, considering that a definitive solution is still in planning stages. Timevault seems to be a viable candidate.

ISO images for 32-bit and 64-bit systems for testing the alpha are available for Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Studio. Just be aware that these versions are not yet ready for a production environment.

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