Feeds

Ubuntu 8.10 - All Hail new Network Manager

The good kind of UI theft

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Review Canonical, the developers behind Ubuntu Linux have release Intrepid Ibex, the successor to last spring's Hardy Heron release. Ibex isn't a long-term support release - which might put off some large organizations - but for Ubuntu desktop fans, version 8.10 makes a worthwhile upgrade.

If you made the leap to Ubuntu 8.10 when it was released last week you may be scratching your head wondering what the fuss is about. The answer is that it might be a few days before you appreciate the small tweaks and overall streamlining in this release. Naturally, there are a slew of new and updated packages - GNOME 2.24, GIMP 2.6, and more - but much of what we love about 8.10 is more subtle.

That said, there are two major changes likely to have an impact on almost all users - the updated NetworkManager app and the new X.org 0.7.

First the positive stuff: The new network manager rocks. Ubuntu has completely revamped the network config panel, and you can now manage wired, wireless, and 3G (GSM/CDMA) connections all in one spot. The 3G features offer a nice wizard that will walk you through tethering to your phone (note that we aren't blessed with compatible 3G phone, so we couldn't test this feature). Presumably the 3G features would work with onboard devices as well, which should be good news for any Ubuntu loving netbook hackers out there.

Another very nice touch - network setup via NetworkManager starts during boot up, which means you don't have to wait for your desktop to load and then wait again while it connects to the web.

The new NetworkManager is a huge win for Ubuntu, and it offers the slickest, simplest network setup tools we've seen in a Linux distro.

Ubuntu Network Manager (small)

Ubuntu 8.10 NetworkManager (Click to enlarge)

Unfortunately we can't say the same for the latest version of X.org. X.org .7 looks nice at first glance. It offers much better support for hot-swappable devices like tablets, keyboards, and mice. As an added bonus, there's no need to mess with the config files - everything should just work.

Normally we'd call that a good thing, but Ubuntu isn't just deprecating the X.org configuration file. It's gone - as in not there, nada, zip, zilch. It'd be nice if everything did just work, but somehow that seems unlikely. Minus the power of hand editing, your config files flies in the face of Linux's fabled customizability. Even if it does just work, what if you want it to just work your way?

It'll be interesting to see how this fully-automated X.org feature goes over with the Linux power users who've been hand-tweaking their files since before most of us knew how to pronounce Ubuntu.

Also worth noting is that Ubuntu 8.10 drops support for some older, proprietary nVidia video drivers. The 71 and 96 series of nVidia drivers (previously available in the nvidia-glx-legacy and nvidia-glx packages) are not compatible with the version of X.Org that ships with Ubuntu 8.10.

If you've got an affected nVidia card, there is a free nVidia driver available instead, but unfortunately that driver does not support 3D acceleration. It would have been nice if Ubuntu had waited for driver parity before dropping the old, but they didn't so if you're affected and you don't want to lose 3-D support, don't upgrade to 8.10.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Next page: Bring out the GIMP

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.