Ubuntu 9.10 'Karmic Koala' release gives KDE a boost

Open source software vendor Canonical has released the new version of its Linux-based Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu 9.10 -- codenamed "Karmic Koala" -- and with it comes a number of updates to improve the KDE experience.

Ubuntu has been a GNOME-centric Linux distribution since its initial release, and has been criticised for treating KDE like a "second-class citizen" on the desktop with the Kubuntu distribution playing "catch up" to the standard Ubuntu.

Canonical has even included a KDE-friendly installer for the Firefox Web browser

With Karmic Koala, however, Kubuntu sports a host of new features; the base KDE version has been upgraded to 4.3 to improve the user experience over 4.2, a new installer has been added; integration of social media services like Facebook and Twitter is included thanks to Plasma; OpenOffice.org has been integrated for a native look and feel on KDE; and the old user account manager from KDE 3 has been ported to KDE 4's System Settings.

Popular KDE applications also revised and added to Kubuntu Karmic include the optical disc burning tool K3B and the Amarok music player, which has reached version 2.2.

The release also paves the way for more KDE on netbooks with the inclusion of KDE's new netbook interface in the Kubuntu 9.10 Netbook Edition.

Canonical has even included a KDE-friendly installer for the Firefox Web browser.

General enhancements

Of course, Ubuntu 9.10 also updates the GNOME experience by including version 2.28 the desktop environment

Among the GNOME changes include Empathy replacing Pidgin as the default instant messaging client and a new login manager that is more "integrated".

Ubuntu's new Software Center and integrated online backup utilities will also go a long way to helping new users be more productive without needing to use the command line.

At the lower level of the stack, Karmic ships with Linux kernel 2.6.31 and all the driver updates that come with it, including a new Intel video driver architecture that aims to eliminate video problems experienced with the 9.04 release.

The more scalable Ext4 file system is now Ubuntu's default, but this will only be applied to new installations, not upgrades.

For the full list of changes see the Ubuntu 9.10 release notes.

Ubuntu's aggressive six-month release schedule has produced Karmic Koala in October, 2009.

The next release of Ubuntu and Kubuntu is codenamed Lucid Lynx and slated for April 2010.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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