A few minutes ago, the Ubuntu development team unleashed the Beta release of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system, due for launch in late October this year. As usual, we've downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.10 development.
What's new in Ubuntu 9.10 Beta? Well, as you probably already know, there is now a revamped Human theme, the Humanity icons and lots of wallpapers! Moreover, the Ubuntu Software Store has been renamed to Ubuntu Software Center and updated several times in the last two weeks. And... in order to improve the boot performance, the Ubuntu developers have now transitioned to Upstart.
A new security feature included in the 32-bit Linux kernel that Ubuntu uses is Non-eXecutable memory protection, which has been enabled by default for quite a while now on processors that support the NX feature, but it has been useless for systems that have lacked support. From now on, the kernel provides an emulation of the NX feature for all these other processors, potentially blocking many exploits targeting the stack or heap memory.
A lot of the applications in the repository have been compiled using compilation flags that create Position-Independent Executables, which enable them to take advantage of the Address Space Layout Randomization function that is available in the Ubuntu kernel. That way, when the programs load themselves into memory, they don't always use the same layout, so an attacker can't redirect the program's execution in the same way every time to run exploit code.
"We've done some work on improving the overall look and feel of booting the system. Please open bugs with the tag 'ubuntu-boot-experience' on any messages you see flashed after grub loads and before the new Ubuntu Splash screen (xsplash) displays. If you have trouble catching them before the splash screen loads, you can also check vt1 or dmesg output for copies of these messages. We also accept photos or video attachments if that's easier, however please make sure the text is readable." - was said in the announcement.
The home folder encryption option in the installer is back, and after the installation, when the desktop appears, you will be prompted by a dialog to set up the encryption passphrase, in case you will ever need to recover your data from the encrypted partition. See the picture below...
Other than that, the desktop environment is powered by GNOME 2.28.0, the Linux kernel packages are now at version 2.6.31-11.22 and they are based on the Linux kernel 188.8.131.52. All we can say is, test... test... test and report bugs.
What's new in Kubuntu and Xubuntu 9.10 Beta? Kubuntu 9.10 Beta is built on top of the KDE 4.3.1 desktop environment and it includes the following applications and features:
· Konqueror Web Browser;
· Amarok 2.2 RC;
· KPackageKit 0.4.2;
· K3b 2 (Alpha 2);
· Userconfig 0.9;
· QtCurve 0.68.0;
· kcm-gtk 0.5.2;
· NetworkManager applet improvements;
· KDE microblogging Plasma widget;
· OpenOffice KDE integration;
· Firefox installer;
· Message Indicator.
On the other hand, Xubuntu 9.10 Beta is built on top of the lightweight XFCE 4.6.1 desktop environment and has some updated applications. Moreover, it appears that the user interface is becoming really really ridiculously good looking. We really like the new color scheme and artwork. See the pictures below...
On October 29th, Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) will become the eleventh release of the Ubuntu operating system. See you again in exactly three weeks (October 22nd), for the Release Candidate version of the upcoming Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala).
The Karmic Koala Release Schedule:
May 14th, 2009 - Alpha 1 release June 11th, 2009 - Alpha 2 release July 23rd, 2009 - Alpha 3 release August 13th, 2009 - Alpha 4 release September 3rd, 2009 - Alpha 5 release September 17th, 2009 - Alpha 6 release October 1st, 2009 - Beta release
October 22nd, 2009 - Release Candidate
October 29th, 2009 - Final release of Ubuntu 9.10
Download Ubuntu 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Server 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Kubuntu 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Kubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Xubuntu 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Edubuntu 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Studio 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Download Mythbuntu 9.10 Beta (Karmic Koala) right now from Softpedia.
Remember that this is a beta release and it should NOT be installed on production machines. It is intended to be used for testing purposes only. Please report bugs to the Ubuntu Bug Tracker.