Archive for May, 2009

Karmic Release Schedule

The release schedule for Karmic is now available. The main dates are as follows:

May 14 Alpha 1
June 11 Alpha 2
July 23 Alpha 3
August 13 Alpha 4
August 27 Feature Freeze
September 3 Alpha 5
September 17 Alpha 6
October 1 Beta
October 22 Release Candidate
October 29 Final Release

Karmic Koala is in alpha form – not recommended for people who need a stable system or who are not comfortable running into breakage. The alpha releases are recommended for people who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs.

How to Restore Ctrl+Alt+Backspace

In older versions of Ubuntu, Ctrl+Alt+Backspace ended the present x session and brought a person back to the login screen. This was very useful when an unfortunate piece of software froze the screen. Unfortunately, it sometimes led to data loss when files were shut down so suddenly. In the past two versions of Ubuntu, it has been turned off.

Since it is only used when the available alternative is to go for the power button, I feel that it should be turned back on. I have recently found out about a way to do so. It involves installing the software “dontzap” from the Ubuntu repository:

sudo aptitude install dontzap.

Then, in your terminal or from the Alt+F2 run line, type sudo dontzap –disable.

If for some reason you find you wish to put an end to the ability to use Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, you can then type:

sudo dontzap –enable.

Personally, I’m a zapper. It can be too hard to remember Alt+SysReq+REISUB, and that string does not always work.

Karmic Koala Alpha 1

Karmic Koala Alpha 1 has been released. You can download it here. Otherwise, to upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 on a desktop system, press Alt + F2 and type in “update-manager -d” without the quotes. When Update Manager informs you that “new dsitribution release 9.10 is available,” click upgrade and follow the instructions.

Karmic Alpha 1 includes the latest Gnome 2.27.1 development release, and the 2.6.30-5.6 Linux kernel. As part of Karmic, the Intel video driver will most probably switch from the current “EXA” accelleration to the new “UXA.” This will solve performance problems with Jaunty.

Needless to say, if you don’t have a tolerance for breakage, feel free to stay with Jaunty Jackalope, I will be staying with it for now, since this is only the very first Alpha release.


Getdeb is a web site where you can download the latest and greatest of packages, some of which are in an older form in the regular Ubuntu repository, some of which (like Ubuntu Tweak) have their own repository separately. I find it a very good place to look for new software that has not yet made it into the Ubuntu repository, or is proprietary (like Songbird) and will not be included. Think of it as a heap of goodies, all in one place!

On the home page, I find the Daily Top 10 (on the left hand side under the About link) to be a good place to start. As I am typing this, it contains links to Songbird and Second Life, just two examples of the great things to be found here.

Getdeb automatically recognises the version of Ubuntu you are using, and loads the software which has been built for your version. I find this exceptionally helpful when I am switching from one version to the next. I can tell immediately what is available for the new version. (The versions currently covered are Jaunty, Intrepid and the LTS version, Hardy. All these are covered for both 32 bit and 62 bit systems.)

The software is divided into categories to make searching easy. These are: Audio Tools, Games, Info Management, Productivity, Utilities, Development, Graphics & Design, Internet & Network, System Tools, and Video Tools.

Happy Mother’s Day – and I wish you a joyful software hunt.


Cedega, from TransGaming, is a proprietary compatability layer that allows kWindows games to run transparently on several different Linux distributions right out of the box. There is a Games Database that will let you know if your particular game will run seamlessly. Cedega is based on Wine (Wine is Not an Emulator), the open source compatability layer that enables some Windows software to be run on Linux.

I’ll tell you right up front – the current fee for Cedega runs $60 per year. This is because, in addition to running the programs that Wine will run, Cedega keeps up to date with the latest Windows games, as well as being the best Windows 95 emulator I have personally experienced. I used Windows before I started with Linux, so there are Windows 95 games I am hooked on. For me, that $60 permits playing the one game that I’ve never found simulated for Linux, Master of Orion II.

Cedega has a FAQ that tells how it supports Windows games. It also gives further information on how to sign up, as well as listing system requirements and much more.


May 2009

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