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Table of Contents
The Ubuntu developers are moving quickly to bring you the absolute latest and greatest software the Open Source Community has to offer. The Karmic Koala Alpha 4 is the forth alpha release of Ubuntu 9.10, bringing with it the earliest new features for the next version of Ubuntu.
This is an alpha release. Do not install it on production machines. The final stable version will be released on October 29th, 2009.
Upgrading from Ubuntu 9.04
To upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 on a desktop system, press Alt+F2 and type in "update-manager -d" (without the quotes) into the command box. Update Manager should open up and tell you: New distribution release '9.10' is available. Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.
To upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 on a server system: install the update-manager-core package if it is not already installed; edit /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades and set Prompt=normal; launch the upgrade tool with the command sudo do-release-upgrade; and follow the on-screen instructions.
New features in Karmic
Feature development for Karmic is happening with full speed. Please see the Karmic blueprint list for details.
Please test and report any bugs you find:
As with every new release, packages--applications and software of all kinds--are being updated at a rapid pace. Many of these packages come from an automatic sync from Debian's Unstable branch. For a list of all packages being accepted for 9.10 Karmic Koala, please subscribe to karmic-changes:
Ubuntu Karmic Alpha 4 includes the latest GNOME 2.27.4 development release.
The gdm 2.27.4 login manager is a complete rewrite compared to the version in earlier Ubuntu releases.
Alpha 4 brings with it the first Karmic alpha images for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon's EC2. You can try out the latest Karmic server alpha instantly on EC2 using a preconfigured AMI, or download an image and put it into your own cloud with UEC. For information on using Ubuntu UEC on Amazon EC2, see the EC2 Starter's Guide.
Ubuntu One file sharing
Ubuntu Karmic Alpha 4 ships the Ubuntu One file sharing service by default, providing tightly integrated file synchronization of your computer with other computers and the Ubuntu One network storage service.
Linux kernel 2.6.31
Alpha 4 includes the 2.6.31-5.24 kernel based on 2.6.31-rc5. The kernel ships with Kernel Mode Setting enabled for Intel graphics (see below). linux-restricted-modules is deprecated in favour of DKMS packages.
Karmic Alpha 4's underlying technology for power management, laptop Hotkeys, and handling storage devices and cameras maps was moved from "hal" (which is going to be deprecated soon) to "DeviceKit-power", "DeviceKit-disks" and "udev". When testing Alpha 4, please pay particular attention to regressions in those two areas and report bugs.
New Intel video driver architecture available for testing
The Intel video driver has switched from the "EXA" acceleration method to the new "UXA". This solves major performance problems of Ubuntu 9.04, but could use further testing to flag any regressions it may bring.
Feedback about the new "kernel mode setting" feature is also heavily appreciated. This will reduce video mode switching flicker at booting, and dramatically speed up suspend/resume. Please see the instructions and feedback page for details.
New default compiler
Karmic uses GCC-4.4 as the default compiler, which in some parts is more strict than GCC-4.3, see list of changes. Please make sure to test packages on karmic or in a karmic chroot before upload.
ext4 by default
The new "ext4" filesystem is used by default for new installations of Karmic; of course, other filesystems are still available via the manual partitioner. Existing filesystems will not be upgraded.
If you have full backups and are confident, you can upgrade an existing ext3 filesystem to ext4 by following directions in the Ext4 Howto (note that the comments on that page at the time of writing about Ubuntu's use of vol_id vs. blkid are out of date and are not applicable to Karmic). Maximum performance will typically only be achieved on new filesystems, not on filesystems that have been upgraded from ext3.
GRUB 2 by default
GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for new installations of Karmic, replacing the previous GRUB "Legacy" boot loader. Existing systems will not be upgraded to GRUB 2 at this time, as automatically reinstalling the boot loader is an inherently risky operation.
Some features are still missing relative to GRUB Legacy. Notable among these are lock/password support, an equivalent of grub-reboot, and Xen handling.
The iSCSI installation process has been improved, and no longer requires iscsi=true as a boot parameter; the installer will offer you the option of logging into iSCSI targets if there are no local disks, or you can select "Configure iSCSI" in the manual partitioner.
Putting the root filesystem on iSCSI is now supported.
Download Alpha 4
Get it while it's hot. ISOs and torrents are available at:
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/karmic/alpha-4/ (Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and Netbook Remix)
http://uec-images.ubuntu.com/releases/karmic/alpha-4/ (Ubuntu Server UEC)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/karmic/alpha-4/ (Kubuntu Desktop and Netbook)
As is to be expected at this stage of the release process, there are several known bugs that users are likely to run into with Karmic Alpha 4. 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:
If you have internal hard disk partitions aside from Ubuntu itself, GNOME will attempt to automatically mount them at startup and ask for your password. Just cancel the dialog, unless you actually want to work with them. (396448)
The Ubuntu Netbook Launcher crashes on shutdown. (395468)
The Ubuntu Netbook Launcher is also reported to crash on logout. As a workaround, users can use Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart their systems. (404283)
When using the OEM installation option, the desktop fails to come up after reboot. Investigation of this issue is ongoing. (403021)
In Karmic Alpha 4, the "install" option is missing from the Favorites list in Ubuntu Netbook Remix. To install to disk from the USB image, you must navigate to the System->Administration menu instead. (411616)
It should come as no surprise that this alpha release of Karmic Koala contains other bugs. Your comments, bug reports, patches and suggestions will help fix bugs and improve future releases. Please report bugs using the tools provided.
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: