Ubuntu 10.04 Alpha 2 Removes HAL

Jan 15, 2010

The development of Ubuntu 10.04 is taking another turn. Lucid Lynx now has a second alpha version that gets rid of HAL.

"HAL" unfortunately isn't the heinous supercomputer from Kubrick's film 2001, but Ubuntu's Hardware Abstraction Layer between Ubuntu's hardware and software. It has now disappeared entirely from the current Ubuntu 10.04 test version, it's function being taken over among other things by DeviceKit. The advantage to this, according to the official announcement, is that Ubuntu has a faster boot and startup from hibernate time.

Alpha 2 provides Kernel version 2.6.32-10.14 and has the newest GNOME and KDE packages on board. The GNOME desktop is version 2.29.4 and KDE is 4.4 RC1. Interestingly, the three proprietary versions of NVIDIA graphics drivers (190.53, 173 and 96) can be installed at the same time without a problem, provided only one is configured for use. In the past the automatic installation of the wrong driver version via Jockey could lead to a failed graphical interface in some applications. Further enhancements went into Ubuntu's Enterprise Cloud (UEC) that is now based on Eucalyptus 1.6.2.

As usual, the announcement warns about known issues with implementing Alpha 2. Removing HAL has the consequence that Wacom drivers can no longer be used for drawing tablets. Desktop ISOs from Kubuntu no longer fit on a CD, so they need to be burned to a DVD or USB stick. A LiveCD reboot can freeze on the boot logo on systems supporting Kernel Mode Setting (KMS), which may indeed be a Plymouth error. The workaround is to boot from USB stick instead of CD. The notification bubbles are rather hideous at the moment, as the notification system is still in debug mode during the development phase.

Debug mode is more or less the state of all of Ubuntu 10.04. The usual message is that the alpha is an unstable system not to be deployed in production. Nevertheless, downloads come in a variety of flavors:

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  • more to linux than ubuntu

    this is frustrating. it's not 'ubuntu's HAL'; HAL is distribution agnostic.
    quit using ubuntu to mean linux!
  • Cloning Linux systems

    Stomfi, I think you'll find that has more to do with the Linux kernel and available modules than HAL.
  • HAL was already removed in the RC1

    <a href="http://digitizor.com/2009/1...lpha-1-released/">This post says</a> that HAL was actually removed in the RC1 itself to make the boot faster. Apparently, there were some performance regressions because of that. It would be interesting to know if the regression has been sorted out.
  • Cloning Drives

    I run a not for profit that refurbishes donated hardware with Ubuntu and gives it away to the digital divide.
    HAL made it relatively easy to clone a configured and updated source drive and install it in different hardware.
    Will DeviceKit give the same functionality?
    I'd hate to have to go back to a base install.
  • HAL is/was NOT heinous...

    Despite what many say about the beloved HAL9000, he was not a heinous psychotic computer that went nutty and killed the crew of the discovery. As you find out in 2010, the second movie, he was PROGRAMMED to do what it did - it was not something HAL did on his own.

    As a sidebar, c'mon people - it's 2010 and no HAL. Let's get with it! HAL should already exist. Of course, he would be Linux-based... Yes, I admit it - I am sickly infatuated with the HAL9000, and also admit that he is my inspiration behind choosing a career of computer programming...
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