Ubuntu 9.04 beta: quick look

So far there have been six alpha releases of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04, due for final release next month.

So far there have been six alpha releases of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04, due for final release next month.

So far there have been six alpha releases of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04, due for final release next month.

So far there have been six alpha releases of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.04, due for final release next month, and late yesterday the one and only beta release was made available for download. From this point forward there's a release candidate in mid-April, before the final release is made on the 23rd.

With this beta release everything should be shaping up nicely, and (theoretically) the work from this point onwards should be bug-fixing and polish.

Let's find out how the release is shaping up.

Performance

One of the things demanded by Ubuntu head honcho Mark Shuttleworth in his announcement of 9.04 was that boot times should be improved. This certainly seems to have happened, and in my tests 9.04 booted pretty quickly. In fact, booting to the login prompt was actually quicker than resuming the machine from hibernation. (My test machine was a crappy budget laptop with a Celeron chip and 1.5GB of memory; I did a full hard disk install.)

Additionally, the ext4 filesystem driver is now included, although isn't used by default, and must be deliberately selected by the user during partitioning. The big boasts of ext4 as far as end-users are concerned include support for insanely large file systems of up to one exabyte, but the feature that's got most people excited is a performance boost compared to the older ext3. I ran some quick and unscientific tests on an ext3 installation of Ubuntu, and then repeated the tests of an ext4 install. The testbed was the aforementioned budget laptop, and the highly-accurate timing device was myself, my thumb, and the stopwatch mode of my wristwatch. In other words, don't hold too much store by these results.

There were some marginal improvements with ext4, especially in boot times and when copying significant amounts of files, but perhaps not enough to overcome the potential risks of using ext4 this early in its life. (You might be wondering if the hibernate to disk performance is improved but remember that Ubuntu hibernates to the swap partition, not the filesystem, so this is unaffected; I realized this after performing my tests, but it was borne out in my results which were virtually identical between filesystems).

Ext3

Boot from cold: 25.93 seconds

Start Firefox on a cold machine: 4.64 seconds

Start OO.org Writer on a cold machine: 7.11 seconds

Copy /usr directory to the desktop (1.5GB; using cp command): 6 minutes, 6.62 seconds

Hibernate to disk: 29.21 seconds

Hibernate wake-up from cold: 30.86

Ext4

Boot from cold: 22.23 seconds

Start Firefox on a cold machine: 4.35 seconds

Start OO.org Writer on a cold machine: 7.74 seconds

Copy /usr directory to the desktop (1.5GB; using cp command): 5 minutes, 21.48 seconds

Hibernate to disk: 29.56 seconds

Hibernate wake-up from cold: 29.91 seconds

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Linuxubuntu

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Keir Thomas

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?