Windows 7 and Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

Ubuntu 9.10 which is also widely known as Karmic Koala is taking the battle to Microsoft and its new Windows 7 operating system. The Koala brings faster boot times, a new software installer, better disk encryption, online services, and quite a bit more to the popular Linux desktop. The release candidate was taken for a spin and users are happy to report that while work remains, Ubuntu 9.10 has plenty of improvements and that it's worthy upgrading on your current system. For long-time Ubuntu fans, the most recent noticeable change in Karmic Koala will likely be the new Software Center, the graphical utility for package management which come as a replacement for the traditional GNOME Add/Remove tool.

As it stands with the 9.10 release Software Center actually does not really do anything Add/Remove, but the interface is slightly cleaner and will likely be easier for Linux newbies to navigate. More interesting is where Canonical plans to go with Software Center in later releases. The goal is to eventually replace Synaptic, gdebi, some parts of the Computer Janitor, and also the possibility of the Update Manager as well, with the all-in-one Software Center. Ubuntu also plans to offer commercial software via Software Center, though that won't likely happen until version 3.0 - currently Software Center is a 1.0 release. Software Center is considerably cleaner and more seemingly easier for Linux newbies While Software Center looks awesome as is, and Canonical's plans call for an even brighter future, at this time Software Center is essentially a prettier version of the familiar old Add/Remove. Another bright spot in Karmic Koala is distinctively faster boot times. This is an issue which goes beyond Ubuntu, with Microsoft making much of the improvements in Windows to make its latest operating system - Widows 7 - start faster than Windows Vista.

The founder of Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth has been looking forward to a scrap with Windows 7 on netbooks and, earlier this year, his company Canonical declared plans to optimize Ubuntu's boot performance. The goal being to get the system up and running a lot faster. But then unfortunately, one won't get to enjoy the fruits in Karmic Koala, but the end goal is to deliver 10-second startups by the time Ubuntu 10.04 is released in 2010. The boot time tests for the final release of Ubuntu 9.10 reflected our earlier experience with the beta release - the average startup time was 26 seconds, with the Xorg starting around the 15-second mark. It can be a little disappointing at times, given that the eventual goal is ten seconds. But then of course it's worth inquiring how often the average user actually boots up Ubuntu. Given its stability, the bulk of Linux users tend to just leave the system running indefinitely, and making the faster boot time of dubious benefit. It could be that the most common use case for quicker boot times are netbooks, where Solid-State hard drives are becoming very common. Netbooks are an area Microsoft banks Windows 7 will do well, compared to Windows Vista. Given that SSDs boot faster anyway, keeping them with Ubuntu's boot optimizations will likely make for some quicker and faster boot times.