Saturday, September 04, 2010

Maverick Meerkat Beta release

Maverick Beta release has arrived and once more there's a big focus on server and netbook improvements. That's not to say the desktop is being neglected. Far from it. Some of the low-level architectural work will of course benefit all users. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

Feature Freeze has been in effect since before the Beta so nothing new is likely to make it into Maverick. It’s safe to assume we’ll not be seeing the much anticipated windicators Mark blogged about at the beginning of the Maverick cycle. Better luck with Natty.

On the other hand, Unity has made it into the netbook edition bringing some joy to netbook users. I assume the smaller screen size provides plenty of motivation to consolidate GUI widgets as much as possible. The usual GNOME desktop just doesn't cut it.

Btrfs support didn’t make it into Maverick in time at least not in the form we hoped it would. Btrfs is supported by the kernel and is bootable with caveats (you need to manually create a separate /boot partition using ext2/3/4). All the necessary tools have been in Maverick since Alpha 3. There’s also a performance regression going on that hasn’t been fixed yet. Grub2 support for btrfs has been deferred meaning we’ll need another cycle at least before btrfs is bootable without a separate /boot.

The Ubiquity redesign has made it into Maverick bringing a fresh new look to an already wonderful installer. It's still very much in development so expect rough spots here and there. With the I/O bug in the kernel I'm not so sure installing Ubuntu parallel to user information input is such a good idea, but there's still time to fine tune Ubiquity. In the worst case, the developers can revert to the tried and true older Ubiquity.

Finally, there's uTouch which needs lots of love from the community. Touch devices are becoming ubiquitous so it's a good idea to lay the foundation for future support. I have limited experience with multi-touch but it certainly is an interesting development. Ubuntu needs to support it to continue growing.

As always please have a look at the technical overview for further details. Pay particular attention to the known issues section for potential problems on your particular setup.

Happy testing!