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Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 5 released

Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 5 released

The Wubi installer included with this build allows for installation within Windows, no partitioning required.

The latest alpha release of Ubuntu Linux, 8.04 “Hardy Heron”, was made available for download this weekend and it's looking mighty fine.

This latest alpha – version 5 – comes ahead of the official release of the new version of the popular desktop Linux distribution due in April this year, and has some luscious new features.

In the background, the new build has switched to the latest 2.6.24 Linux kernel for improved compatibility with newer hardware and now ships with Xorg 7.3 to drive the GUI, promising better autoconfiguration with a simpler configuration file. The audio system has been switched to PulseAudio which offers the user the ability to perform advanced operations on the audio output of any application that is configured to use PulseAudio as an output.

Things have had a shakeup on the desktop side of things, too. The web browser has been updated to Firefox 3 Beta 3, presumably demonstrating a plan to include the finished version of Firefox 3 with Ubuntu 8.04. The old Gnome BitTorrent client has been ditched, too – file sharers will now be treated to the rather more up-to-date Transmission client. Additionally, CD/DVD burning has been switched to Brasero for a more polished interface.

Remote desktop users will be pleased to see the rather simplistic xvnc4viewer switched out for Vinagre – an advanced VNC viewer which includes the ability to connect to multiple machines from a single instance and has the ability to auto-discover available VNC servers on connected networks.

Performance enhancements have been added to this latest version of the OS, with GVFS replacing GnomeVFS as the filesystem abstraction layer. This new virtual filesystem driver promises a significant boost to the speed of file access from all drives, no matter what the host format.

Perhaps the most important change for users wanting to make the move from Microsoft Windows comes in the integration with Wubi: the Live CD now allows you to install Ubuntu within Windows without any partitioning or potential risk to your host operating system. Aimed at users who want to experiment with desktop Linux but need better performance when trialling things out than is available from a live CD boot, the Wubi installer allows Ubuntu to run as a virtualised OS within Windows without any technical jiggery-pokery on your part.

Things aren't all plain sailing with this latest build, however – hey, it is an alpha release. Known issues with 8.04 Alpha 5 include an inability to access certain models of CD-ROM drive, graphical issues with older ATi Radeon graphics cards, the Network Places menu item failing due to the switch to GVFS (fix coming soon, apparently), a broken Firefox icon on the desktop, and no printing from within Firefox. Oh, and 64-bit users might want to steer clear of the Wubi installer – or at least plump for the 32-bit version for now.

Still, if you can't wait until April for the finished release a few bugs are a small price to pay for a sneak-peak at the future of the popular desktop Linux OS.

Tempted to try an in-Windows install via Wubi to see how the other half live, or do you try to steer clear of alpha versions of critical programs like operating systems? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

16 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
badders 25th February 2008, 17:10 Quote
AITO Radeon?

Never heard of them!

I might give this a try, I think!
Gareth Halfacree 25th February 2008, 17:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by badders
AITO Radeon? Never heard of them!
From the Old MacDonald school of hardware. They use an enhanced AEGP for better EI-EI-IO.

Alternatively: whoops.
lamboman 25th February 2008, 17:35 Quote
Mmm, sounds good. Going to try this now...
Hugo 25th February 2008, 18:11 Quote
Aito is Finnish for "real/authentic" apparently.

Real Radeon graphics, as opposed to those fake ones.

Looks like some decent upgrades with this release though.
Cthippo 25th February 2008, 20:17 Quote
Cool, I think I'll be upgrading when this one comes out.
C-Sniper 25th February 2008, 21:12 Quote
i think i will stick with my slackware box. Never really cared for Ubuntu. but then again to each his own
DXR_13KE 25th February 2008, 21:46 Quote
this looks very interesting.....
UncertainGod 25th February 2008, 21:53 Quote
The Wubi integration is a nice touch to let people trial a system, it would be great if they could then convert that installation into a "full-fat" partitioned ubuntu if they decided to make the change at a later date. And the changes to the default app's are all welcome.
Woodstock 25th February 2008, 22:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wubi FAQ
How do I run Ubuntu?

You have to reboot and choose "Ubuntu".

How do I run Windows?

You have to reboot and choose "Windows".

so may as well just do a normal duel-boot
Cupboard 25th February 2008, 23:33 Quote
Good good, not long to wait before I can get my mits on something new to try and hopefully not break like my current install. I don't know why they thought that dual screen stuff had been fixed in the current version - it has just completely killed all my graphics drivers!
leexgx 26th February 2008, 00:02 Quote
as this one is an LTS one it should work out of box this time

the current one was an bit off an mess as if the livecd installer was online when you tryed to install it (or even worse when upgrading) it would try and download an 9mb file but due to the mirrors been overwhelmed the install would stall due to time out and there is No recovery so if it was an upgrade you just trashed you ubuntu setup if it was fresh it just not boot up

the fix for that was make sure the cable was unplugged but that made an second problem (if your new to ubuntu that is) all repositories would be turned off, so thay could not get Any updates or security updates or use add/remove programs (all you have to do is just enable them)

last problem was it was bundled with some sort of Beta 3d stuff that was silly turnd on by default so you most likey ened up with console only or randome crashes or lock ups (and to turn it off the manager was Not installed)

you just better off useing 7.04 for now for new users (give 7.10 an miss as it give you more problems than it needs to for first time users) or wait for 8.04 as that is an LTS rel so it Has to be right from the start if not thay make an new disk (7.04.1 for e.g.) as it has to be supported for an longer time

dual booting with linux pass times has resulted it the disk been wiped so id realy never have my windows disks even connected when an linux boot is around just in case it wants to mess with the hdd CHS settings or do something very bad like del the partition
Spaceraver 26th February 2008, 03:47 Quote
So Linux is almost ready for the masses... Now we just need DX10 porting to the platform.. I need more game than it gives atm..
completemadness 26th February 2008, 11:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceraver
So Linux is almost ready for the masses... Now we just need DX10 porting to the platform.. I need more game than it gives atm..
proper DX9 support is probably higher up the list :p
Kipman725 26th February 2008, 23:41 Quote
hmm I don't like ubuntu anymore everything rarley works how I want it so I mayaswell start from a very basic install like debian floppies and build up a system how I want it as it saves removing things already there. But I used to use ubuntu and one of my servers still does and I know why people like it.
Kamakazie! 27th February 2008, 00:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipman725
hmm I don't like ubuntu anymore everything rarley works how I want it so I mayaswell start from a very basic install like debian floppies and build up a system how I want it as it saves removing things already there. But I used to use ubuntu and one of my servers still does and I know why people like it.

Yeah it is not the best distro for people that know what they want and how to tinker really. I like it because i can't be bothered with all that. The less i have to do, the better. 7.10 was a huge improvement for me simply because it installed the restricted graphics module by default meaning i didn't have to go through the alternative convoluted process just to get my card working. These new improvement look even better and it is great to hear about the new sound backend they are gonna use. Almost all of my Ubuntu problems have stemmed from sound issues due to using digital output to an AV Receiver.
completemadness 27th February 2008, 18:17 Quote
7.04 has the same button to install restricted drivers, maybe only nvidia though? i dunno
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