The Ubuntu developers are moving very quickly to bring you the absolute latest and greatest software the Open Source Community has to offer. Hardy Heron Alpha 5 is the fifth alpha release of Ubuntu 8.04, and with this new alpha release comes a whole host of excellent new features.
Note: This is still an alpha release. Do not install it on production machines. The final stable version will be released in April 2008.
These features are showcased for your attention. Please test them and report any bugs you find. If you want to see what the developers have cooking for the next alpha release, take a look through the Hardy blueprints page: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/hardy
Upgrading from Ubuntu 7.10
To upgrade from Ubuntu 7.10, press Alt+f2 and run "update-manager -d". Then click on "update".
The latest Xorg is available in Hardy, Xorg 7.3, with an emphasis on better autoconfiguration with a minimal configuration file.
Linux kernel 2.6.24
Alpha 5 includes the 2.6.24-8.14 (22.214.171.124-based) kernel. This brings in significant enhancements and fixes that have been merged in the last few months into the mainline kernel. Among these is the introduction of dynticks support for amd64, bringing the same power savings already available on 32-bit systems to 64-bit laptops and desktops.
Alpha 5 includes PulseAudio enabled by default. Some non-GNOME applications still need to be changed to output to pulse/esd by default and the volume control tools are still not integrated. https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/cleanup-audio-jumble
With Alpha 5, PolicyKit integration is visible in the administrative user interfaces. PolicyKit makes it possible to run administrative applications as a normal user, and have them get a particular set of extra privileges for certain operations, which allows fine-grained control over user permissions and enhances usability, as well as eliminating the security implications of running the whole application as root.
For details of PolicyKit integration in Hardy, refer to the policykit-integration blueprint.
Firefox 3 Beta 3
Firefox 3 Beta 3 replaces Firefox 2 as the default browser in Alpha 5, bringing much better system integration including icon and colour theming that matches the system, as well as GTK2 form buttons and open dialog.
The GTK version of the popular Transmission BitTorrent client comes with Alpha 5. It's set to replace the Gnome BitTorrent downloader.
The new Vinagre VNC client is installed by default in Alpha 5, replacing xvnc4viewer.
Vinagre allows the user to view multiple machines simultaneously, can discover VNC servers on the network via Avahi, and can keep track of recently used and favorite connections.
The Brasero CD/DVD burning application, which will complement the CD/DVD burning functions of Nautilus and replace the Serpentine audio CD burning utility, is installed by default in Alpha 5.
World Clock Applet
Integrating the features of the intlclock applet, the GNOME panel clock in Alpha 5 can display the time and weather in multiple locations.
Nautilus 2.21.6 in Alpha 5 uses GVFS, the virtual filesystem abstraction layer that's set to replace the aging GnomeVFS in GNOME 2.22, as its backend. In the near future, GVFS will make it possible to fix shortcomings of Nautilus such as the inability to restore files from trash, pause and undo file operations, and make it possible to escalate user privileges for certain operations using PolicyKit for authentication. It also brings a significant performance boost to many operations.
GNOME System Monitor
The GNOME System Monitor has a revamped "Resources" tab, with Cairo graphs that scroll and scale smoothly, and brand new widgets.
- KVM is now officially maintained within the Ubuntu kernel.
- libvirt and virt-manager have been adapted to Ubuntu. They allow for easy guest creation and basic management out of the box. Virt-manager can be used to remotely administer guests on a remote server. They also work with XEN, even though it is not officially maintained.
- The kernel also includes the virtio modifications which should greatly improve guest I/O access.
ufw (Uncomplicated Firewall) is a new firewall application designed to make administering a firewall easier for end-users while not getting in the way of network administrators. Currently, ufw is a command-line interface for administering host-based firewalls.
For more details, read the UbuntuFirewall specification.
WinFOSS and the Windows open source software have been replaced by umenu, a simple launcher that lets the user install Ubuntu from Windows using Wubi (see below), install Ubuntu to a partition without having to make their CD-ROM the first boot device, and find out more about Ubuntu at the www.ubuntu.com website.
There is a new installation option for Windows users. Wubi allows users to install and uninstall Ubuntu like any other Windows application. It does not require a dedicated partition, nor does it affect the existing bootloader, yet users can experience a dual-boot setup almost identical to a full installation. Wubi works with a physical CD or in stand-alone mode, by downloading an appropriate ISO to install from. It can be found on the root of the CD as Wubi.exe. A full installation within a dedicated partition is still recommended, but Wubi is a great way to try Ubuntu for a few days and weeks before committing dedicated disk resources.
Download Alpha 5
Get it while it's hot. ISOs and torrents are available at:
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/jeos/releases/hardy/alpha-5/ (Ubuntu JeOS)
There are several known bugs that users are likely to run into with Hardy Alpha 5. We have documented them here for your convenience along with any known workarounds, so that you don't need to spend time reporting these bugs again:
The kernel in Alpha 5 is unable to access CD-ROM devices in some configurations, which means some users who were previously able to install Ubuntu will not be able to install this alpha from CD media. As a workaround, users can boot the installer with the additional "all_generic_ide" boot option. https://launchpad.net/bugs/181561
Video problems have been reported with the 64-bit (amd64) version of Edubuntu desktop. As a workaround, users can manually specify a video resolution at the boot menu. https://launchpad.net/bugs/173130
Video problems have been reported with the 64-bit (amd64) versions of Ubuntu desktops and some NVIDIA graphics cards. As a workaround, users can remove the "splash" boot option at the boot menu. https://launchpad.net/bugs/147623
Users with an older ATI Radeon graphics card might have video problems. As a workaround, you can boot the livecd with a failsafe mode, and after installation add 'Option "AGPMode" "4"' to the "Device" section of your /etc/X11/xorg.conf. https://launchpad.net/bugs/133192
Due to the switch to GVFS, which is not feature complete, the "Network" item in the Places menu doesn't work, and Nautilus can behave erratically, especially in trash operations. Refrain from operating on valuable files with this version. https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/185756
The desktop launcher for Firefox does not work in Alpha 5, as a consequence of the change from Firefox 2 to Firefox 3. The fix for this issue is in progress. As a workaround, Firefox can be launched from the Applications -> Internet menu. https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/193902
Printing from Firefox beta 3 does not work. Investigation of this problem is ongoing. https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/194486
- Problems running Wubi, the Windows Ubuntu installer, with the 64-bit (amd64) version of Ubuntu have been reported. As a workaround, users should run Wubi from the i386 CD images.
- Suspend (to ram) and hibernation do not work in a Wubi installation. Even if those options are available on the desktop, you should avoid using them.
- When running Wubi from a Kubuntu CD, the KDE desktop will crash and the user will be left with just a X cursor, however the install will continue and it will reboot automatically upon completion.
It should come as no surprise that this alpha release of Hardy Heron contains other bugs. Your comments, bug reports, patches and suggestions will help fix bugs and improve future releases. Please report bugs through the Ubuntu bug tracker
If you want to help out with bugs, the Bug Squad is always looking for help.
Participate in Ubuntu
If you would like to help shape Ubuntu, take a look at the list of ways you can participate at
To sign up for future Ubuntu development announcements, please subscribe to Ubuntu's development announcement list at:
The Alpha 5 release notes were brought to you by:
- Murat Güneş
- Timo Aaltonen
- Corey Burger
- Steve Langasek
- Agostino Russo
- Evan Dandrea