I’ve looked at hundreds of Linux distributions over the years. Some of them have been awful. Many have been OK. And, a few have been great. Based on my early look at Karmic Koala, Ubuntu 9.10, I think we’ve got a very strong Linux desktop distribution coming down the way.
Before jumping into my early review, let me say that while I like Ubuntu, I’m not an Ubuntu fanboy. I also like Fedora, openSUSE, Mint, and MEPIS to name a few Linux distributions that I use on a regular basis.
What caught my eye with this version of Ubuntu is that, especially for a beta, it’s a remarkably attractive and smooth-running Linux distribution. I first installed it as a virtual machine with Sun’s VirtualBox on a Gateway DX4710-09. This computer uses an Intel Dual Core 2.5GHz E5200 processor. I have the 64-bit version of the new Ubuntu 2GBs of RAM and a 10GB virtual drive. In addition, I installed the Koala on a Dell Inspiron 530S. This low-end PC is powered by a 2.2-GHz Intel Pentium E2200 dual-core processor with an 800-MHz front-side bus. The test machine had 4GB of RAM, a 500GB SATA (Serial ATA) drive, and an Integrated Intel 3100 GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) chip set.
On both systems, I was very impressed by installation program. Not only did it look great, it automatically detected and set-up all the hardware. Linux distributions, in general, have gotten much better with this kind of thing, but Ubuntu 9.10 not only worked great at taking a PC from a lifeless pile of chips to a living and useful PC, it looked great doing so.