Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

The new edition of the friendly Linux desktop OS -- Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope -- is more maintenance release than upgrade.

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
  • Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
  • Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
  • Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • UI enhancements

Cons

  • Hardware support remains mixed, some installation issues

Bottom Line

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope brings minor cosmetic and UI enhancements to this easy-to-use desktop distribution. On the downside, installation was marred by some missteps, and hardware support remains mixed. Highlights include new versions of OpenOffice.org and Gnome, as well as a new desktop notification feature.

Would you buy this?

Having rocketed to prominence in just a few years as probably the most popular desktop Linux distributions, Ubuntu has earned a reputation for stability and ease-of-use. The latest edition — Ubuntu 9.04, aka, "Jaunty Jackalope" — continues that tradition and is mostly a maintenance release, but it brings a number of updates that should enhance its appeal.

The list of bundled applications is largely unchanged, but they're all new versions. Chief among these is OpenOffice.org 3.0, which should appease those who were disappointed that it didn't make the previous release. The new version of the free office suite maintains the same look and feel, and it still launches slowly, but it brings some new features, including improved compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007.

Under Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope's bonnet, there's a new Linux kernel that promises improved stability, and support for the latest Ext4 files system.

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has hinted that big changes to the system's look and feel are coming with the next release in October — changes that might even include abandoning its traditional, but controversial, brown colour scheme — but the cosmetic updates in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope are minor.

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope has new boot and log-in screens, two alternative desktop backgrounds, and a few UI improvements that came free with the upgrade to the Gnome 2.26 interface; but nothing that should surprise anyone who has used an earlier version of Ubuntu.

Perhaps the most significant UI addition, one unique to Ubuntu, is the new desktop notification mechanism. Application messages — anything from audio volume changes to alerts from your IM client — now appear in black pop-up boxes in the upper-right corner of the screen.

The idea is to make these messages as unobtrusive as possible by avoiding the distractions of unwanted dialogue boxes. Whether it succeeds will probably depend on the user. This system is new to Linux, but it resembles features available on Windows and Mac OS X.

What might annoy some Linux users, however, is the fact that it's not configurable. There's no preference panel to change its behaviour and no way to switch back to the old notification system. Even if you hate it, you're stuck with it.

This is not unusual for Ubuntu, which often sacrifices some configurability for the sake of ease-of-use. For example, while Ubuntu includes support for GUI bling by way of Compiz Fusion, some of the more talked-about effects — including the famed "desktop cube" — are disabled by default. To enable them, users have to install an unsupported software package that provides a new control panel.

Ubuntu 9.04 is guilty of worse sins, however. When we booted the installation CD, it cheerfully informed us that our computer had no operating systems installed on it and offered to partition the entire drive. In reality, the PC contained not just a previous version of Ubuntu, but Windows Vista and an abortive installation of Mac OS X as well. Luckily for us, we knew how to manage partitions manually, but that won't be the case with all potential upgraders.

During installation, the system offered to migrate user information from the Windows drive that it failed to detect earlier, but upon logging in, no data seemed to have been transferred. Firefox showed only the default bookmark entries and nothing from either Internet Explorer or the Windows installation of Mozilla Firefox. On the positive side, Ubuntu recognised our NTFS partitions after boot and made them available for mounting without a hitch.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?