| The next release of Ubuntu (8.10 Intrepid Ibex) is just round the corner. So it’s time again to upgrade the Ubuntu release that you are using and a good time to consider trying out Ubuntu if you have never done so before.
Let’s take a look at some of the options you have and then we will have a brief look at what the new things are and the anticipated additions to Ubuntu Intrepid as well as where we can find them.
If you are new to Ubuntu
1. Download the flavor according to your choice. (The Intrepid images might not show until they are officially released on 30th October 2008, in that case visit here).
2. Run the installer. You can either completely wipe away all your data, configure a dual boot system or even install Ubuntu just like you install any other software in Windows. Whatever you choose to do, remember to take a backup of all your important files.
Updating your Ubuntu Installation
If you are using 8.04 (Hardy) then you can update directly to 8.10 (Intrepid). In other cases you should follow a sequential upgrade path and not skip any of the releases (unless you are on a LTS release).
1. “Backup important files”. Although the upgrades preserve your data and settings, it’s always wise to backup at least your home directory in case Murphy’s law comes into play. This includes copying (or tar-ring) the desired files to an external drive or a server some place safe. If you plan to do incremental backups in future as well then use something like rsync to help you out. (Backup Tutorial)
2. Make sure your system is up to date. This means that you should have applied all the available updates for your present version of Ubuntu (these updates are different from the actual upgrade. So be careful you don’t skip this step).
3. Read the Release Notes to find out if there are some issues and possible workarounds and to know what’s the new release all about.
4. Upgrade by running the Update Manager (Note that before 30th October you will have to run ‘update-manager –devel-release’ to let it know you want to install the developmental release)
Points to Keep in Mind When Upgrading / Downloading
If you are keen to upgrade or don’t want to spend time downloading the image/upgrade when the majority of users are also doing the same then you can download and use the Release Candidate. A release candidate is the closest you can get to the real thing, basically if no more bugs are found till the official release then RC would essentially be the same as the actual release.
If you want to be absolutely certain that you don’t miss anything, you can use jigdo to download the ISO and then update the downloaded ISO when the final release becomes available.
Jigdo or JIGsaw Download is a download manager that makes downloading of large files easier. In our context we will be using it to compare two images and then download only those packages that are new in the recent image available on the servers. This means that if you are totally paranoid to have the latest image but don’t want to download it all over again after you have downloaded the Release Candidate then Jigdo is for you.
See how to update ubuntu images using jigdo. However, this step is not necessary if you are not burning Intrepid to a disc because if something is updated in the final release it will most likely trickle down to you via software updates.
If you are actually downloading on the D-Day then you should consider using BitTorrent for your downloads. Not only is it faster but it also reduces burden on the servers.
If you decide to go against BitTorrent for some reason, then choose the server closest to your location when you download the image. If you are upgrading via the update-manager, then this has most likely already been taken care of.
Things to check out in Ubuntu Intrepid
Here are a couple of things that are new and you might want to check them out as soon as you log into Intrepid for the first time!
An alternate Dark Theme
There was a lot of hype over the Artwork overhaul in Intrepid. While its not a complete revamp that we all hoped for, there are some changes nevertheless. First and foremost, Intrepid will come with a Dark Theme. It will not be applied by default.
Where to find: System > Preferences > Appearance
Intrepid introduces Guest Sessions, which can be accessed via the user switcher applet. Guest sessions allow you to do basic things like surfing the web, email etc. However they don’t allow any modification to the system.
Excellent for allowing access to “guests” on your system without having to worry about data and settings.
Where to find: User Switcher Applet generally on the top panel
Encrypted private directory
Considering your data to be secure with just a login password? Think again.
Anyone with a live CD can mount the file systems and not only have a look at but can also walk way with your data. BIOS password gives some additional security but how about encryption? Intrepid includes a ~/Private directory. All the files you put in here will be encrypted. How to set up private directory and what all to include in it?
Where to find: ~/Private
Improved Network Manager
Network Manager now bundles up all types of network connections including Wired, wireless, DSL, VPN in one central management tool.
Nautilus Tabs and Eject Icons
Nautilus the default file manager/ file browser gets Tabs. Allows you to open multiple folders as tabs without too much cluttering. Also the devices listed in the left pane get Eject icons when supported.
Where to find: Just fire up Nautilus (Open any folder)
USB Live Disk Creator
The tool allows you to create a bootable USB stick. Just fire it up, choose the device and that’s it. As easy as that, no more Googling and workarounds.
Where to find: System > Administration > Create Startup Disk
No fuss tool to help remove packages that you no longer need. Provides an intuitive list of all the packages that are installed all in one place and lets you take appropriate actions.
Where to find: Applications > System Tools > System Cleaner
“Last successful boot” recovery entry
On each successful boot, Intrepid will retain a copy of your running kernel and make it available from the boot loader as a “Last successful boot” option. This makes it possible for old kernel packages to be safely auto-removed by the package manager, instead of being kept indefinitely.
Allows kernel drivers to be automatically rebuilt when new kernels are released.
Some not so obvious changes
Persistent Permissions: When asked for a password you can choose to remember the password and never be asked again in the session.
Access BBC content and High Quality Youtube videos with Totem
X.Org 7.04: With the new release, most users will be able to operate with an empty xorg.conf, letting the OS detect and choose the proper driver, and detect monitor resolutions and input devices automatically, without requiring user input.
File Roller now supports ALZ, RZIP, CAB and TAR.7Z file types as well.
Linux Kernel 2.6.27-7
Did I miss something that you found interesting in Intrepid? Have you already installed Intrepid or are you waiting for the actual release? Lets us know in the comments.