Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) Beta First Impressions

As far as I can tell, jackalopes aren’t even real animals. I still remember the first time I got a jackalope postcard over ten years ago. Well, the Ubuntu folks have decided to name the next Ubuntu Linux release Jaunty Jackalope. I’ve used every single Ubuntu release since its second one (Hoary Hedgehog). That would be 5.04, 5.10, 6.06, 6.10, 7.04, 7.10, 8.04, and 8.10. Eight releases. And I can honestly say that Ubuntu 9.04 is the smoothest, most polished release I have ever seen from Ubuntu.

I installed Ubuntu 9.04 beta (yes, it is beta, so it not guaranteed to be bug-free) on my Eee PC 701 (which, only a year after I’ve purchased it, already feels like a netbook dinosaur), and I have only one complaint (which I’ve filed a bug report on).

At first glance, it looks pretty much like any of the recent releases, but some nice little touches are in there:

  • Boot up time and general responsiveness are significantly increased, even with still the Ext3 filesystem (I don’t want to risk Ext4 at this point).
  • When the package manager is interrupted, you’re told to use the command sudo dpkg –configure -a to fix it (instead of the incorrect previously given command dpkg –configure -a
  • Hotkeys, sound, touchpad tapping, and wireless all work out of the box with the Eee PC. No tweaking or special kernels necessary.
  • Time zone selection during installation actually is by time zone and not by city.
  • More themes are included.

I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head, but it just feels good. I wanted to file as many bugs as I could before final release. I could find only one bug to file so far, though.

Good job, Ubuntu folks!


  1. What’s your take on the new notification system? Is it usable? Does it work as in the demo video? (Like continous chat enlarges the bubble etc.)

  2. I don’t know what continuous chat means, but the new notification system is okay. Not too annoying. Not that unobtrusive. The notifications are a bit large relative to the size of my tiny 7″ screen (if there are two notifications happening at once, they take up almost half the vertical height of my screen). I wish there were some settings to tweak the transparency, font size, and duration of time for the notifications. Maybe in a future release.

    Oh, and yes, the general responsiveness being better is always a good thing… and really something I haven’t experienced in any Ubuntu release.

  3. I meant, that if there’s a message from someone in Pidgin, who already has a notification bubble on screen, then the bubble enlarges itself and adds the new text.

  4. In case you are interested there is another early Jaunty beta review out by Ryan Paul of Ars Technica at:

    “Jackalope sighting: first look at Ubuntu 9.04 beta” http://arstechnica.com/open-source/reviews/2009/03/jackalope-sighting-first-look-at-ubuntu-904-beta.ars

    He concludes: “All things considered, Ubuntu 9.04 is shaping up to be a pretty good release, albeit a bit light on new features. I’ve been running the it since the beginning of the month, when I installed it from a daily CD image. I’ve only had a few minor problems with it and it’s definitely on track to be much more robust than the last two versions. I’m having significantly fewer problems with Compiz and PulseAudio. I’ve also noticed that boot performance in 9.04 is excellent, as my system starts up much faster.”

  5. Does anyone have any info/updates on the issues with Intel graphics regressions in Jaunty?
    I’m using an Intel G35 chipset with onboard GMA X3500 and I’d rather not go back to nVidia and proprietary drivers.

  6. AY: I wanted to ask you how the speed is running Jaunty on your EEE.

    I had asked Mark Shuttleworth at http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/265#comments if the new notification feature “notify-osd” would increase the recommended RAM above the current 384 MB and Mark replied:

    Mark Shuttleworth says: It’s a fair question, thanks Adam. At the moment, notify-osd seems to take about 20MB RAM which is about the same amount as gnome-panel. I’ll ask the team whether they expect to streamline that.

    An additional constant 20 MB of RAM seems like a lot for this one feature!

    So do you notice that operations, particularly the file system run slower on Jaunty?

  7. I have an underclocked 900 MHz processor and 1 GB of RAM on my Eee PC, and Jaunty is speedier than any other Ubuntu release I’ve used on this thing (7.10, 8.04, and 8.10)—and that’s with the new notifications running. So I can’t say it really makes anything slower.

    I haven’t run any official benchmarks, but nothing appears at all to be slower. Everything seems faster, as a matter of fact (boot time, application load time, general responsiveness of windows and mouse clicks).

  8. Thanks for that info – perhaps the other improvements incorporated have made up for the use of RAM by “notify-osd”?

    I have an AMD Antalon 1.8 Ghz processor and 512 MB of RAM, so it sounds like it should work okay. I’m waiting until the official release to install it.

  9. I am also interested about info/updates on the issues with Intel graphics regressions in Jaunty?

    (I think 3D performance is very important for Linux future as of nearly 2010)

  10. Compiz works, but…
    – GoogleEarth used to work in Xandros (or Windows XP), but it is UNUSUBLE in intrepid.
    – glxgears fps droped from 1500fps in Ubuntu 7.04 to 600fps in intrepid.
    – Planet Penguin racer (the 3d game) does only 3-4fps, not nice to play.
    Should I continue?…
    Phoronix has some article regarding this performance regression, that is lasting TOO long (over a year already)
    3D is very important as most modern graphics, even 2D ones, rely on 3D hw functions of the graphics processors. (Ie. zoom effects in small iphones and their competitors, etc)

  11. I went with EXT4 and it really seems to be stable and quick. I am very impressed with it right now. Ofcourse I have updated through RC so far for both my Ubuntu box and Kubuntu box.

  12. I’m glad to hear that 9.04 will run on such a low setup as a 900mhz computer. I have a 1ghz p3 with 512mb of ram I’m just dying to update from 8.04 to 9.04.

    The only killer may be my intel graphics…..

  13. Hearing everyone say that Jaunty is the “Best Ubuntu Evar” really got me excited about it. I tried the LiveCD before committing, of course, but while in that environment, a critical issue holds me back: wireless. My HWP54G (rt2500-pci) wireless card works fine in Hardy , but starting with Intrepid, it just hasn’t been working; it sees my wireless network just fine, but after filling out the security info, it never connects. Instead, it has the gall to ask for the password again and again!

    I’m sure this is never an issue for those wired folks, but this is a serious regression, and it worries me that future Ubuntu releases won’t have this fixed. Until I can get wireless, I just can’t agree that this is a good release.

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