Friday, April 24, 2009

Jaunty is here!

The new version of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope, has arrived. It brings with it a few interesting new features such as:
*Support for the ext4 file system (which is supposed to be faster than ext3)
*the latest version of X.org
*the latest version of Gnome
*a new slick looking notification system
*a Janitor tool to help get rid of stuff you don't need anymore
*faster boot times
*Other stuff I don't know about

All that makes upgrading to Jaunty tempting, but for me it did not come without problems. (Note that I tried out the beta, but these issues should all be relevant to the final release.)
*The proprietary driver for my graphics card does not (and has no plans to) support the new X.org, so I was automatically switched to the open driver. Some people have reported good performance with the open driver (even better than that of the proprietary one), but for me some games ceased to work with the open driver. A big issue for me.
*cGmail (and presumably other packages) was not ready for the new notification system. There is a version of cGmail out there that does support it, but it's not in the repos yet. However, the new notification system does not allow actions on notifications, so I could no longer click "open in browser" if I saw a new email notification that looked interesting. A minor inconvenience.
*My sound buttons stopped working. Note that they did work on the live CD, so this issue was likely caused by doing an upgrade rather than a clean install. Just something to keep in mind when deciding between the two options of how to transistion to Jaunty.
*There's this really annoying system beep whenever I shutdown or restart. You can get rid of it by editing a configuration file, but I'm not sure why it was there in the first place. And the lack of a gui way to get rid of it is annoying. The Sound Preferences check box to not play alerts and sounds did not get rid of it, which makes me think this might be corrected as a bug in the future. So, while it was annoying, it was fixable.
*Ctrl+alt+backspace is disabled by default. The logic is to prevent you accidentally triggering it (and losing all your work). Personally, I think that's a lot of keys to press accidentally at the same time, and I found it's functionality quite useful. However, this can be re-enabled, although once again you have to edit a configuration file.

So, I encourage you to think a little bit before upgrading. Are the new features worth the hassle of the issues you might face? Try out a liveCD to see what problems you encounter. For me, it was only the graphics driver issue that really prompted me to stick with Intrepid for now, but those with other graphics card might not have any problem.

Any other major features or problems I've missed? Feel free to comment.