What's in store for Ubuntu 9.04?

Jack Wallen
Apr 22, 2009
Updated • Dec 28, 2012

The latest greatest version of Ubuntu is about ready to drop (The predicted date for release is April 23). With this new release there is plenty to get excited about. But with all of these new features will come a good deal of new issues. As most who have followed Ubuntu know, the .04 releases are not nearly as stable as the .10 release. Couple that with the new features and Ubuntu 9.04 might see less production installations than previous releases. But that doesn't mean you should shy away from this release. The list of improvements alone should be enough to get you excited about installing Jaunty Jakalope.

Some of these improvements will be very obvious to the users and some of them will not. In this article I will detail the major changes so you can decide if this update is for you.

This will be the first release to support the extension 4 file system. This support is option (as 9.04 will default to ext3). The biggest advantage to ext4 is the support for larger volumes (up to 1 exabyte) and larger files (16 terabytes). There are other improvements that ext4 regarding allocation. Both pre-allocation and delayed allocation have been added. These improvements deal with how space is allocated for files. The former will boost performance for systems like streaming media and databases. The latter will improve fragmentation.

Depending upon user feedback, ext4 may become the default in 9.10.

Cloud computing

With the release of 9.04, cloud computing will become much easier with the help of Eucalyptus. This application will allow you to test and deploy your own clouds matching Amazon EC2 API.

GNOME 2.26.0

The latest release of GNOME will bring some positive changes to the desktop. The Brasero CD burning utility will bring probably the easiest CD burning ever to the Linux desktop. The latest GNOME will also be able to handle multiple monitors much better thanks to gnome-display-properties.


Probably the one issue that will excite people the most is that a number of card drivers have been transitioned to free. Also many improvements to the ATI drivers as well. One important improvement here is the use of EXA acceleration. One 3D bug that caught me off guard was a mismatch between the kernel and fglrx that rendered 3D non-existent for NVidia drivers...this has been fixed. 3D performance in 9.04 should be greatly improved for all supported video chip sets.

Boot time

Ubuntu is slowly creeping toward its promise of a 20 second boot time. I have actually seen Ubuntu 9.04 (with a solid state hard drive) boot up in 17.4 seconds. Of course the solid state drive is an unfair advantage over most mortal computers. But 17.4 seconds! Ubuntu is doing something right with their boot process.


A number of kernel bug fixes have been applied. Particular to this release are numerous USB fixes, PCI subsystem fixes, and firewire fixes. These improvements will be a real boost to multimedia usage on Linux.

More architecture support

As of 9.04 ubuntu will now support ARM processors. This will be a large step in further gaining ground in the netbook market. This is also significant with Freescale releasing a sub-$200.00 ARM-based netbook in the near future.


Ubuntu has been called on one major issue: Performance. A drastic decline in performance has been noticed from 7.04 to 8.10. This has been one of the major focal points for the Ubuntu development team. To resolve this issue Ubuntu has focused their efforts on a kernel and process level. Hopefully this will result in serious improvements in performance and reliability.

It is my feeling? that this release will be a typical .04 Ubuntu release with a few areas that will very possibly draw in non-Linux users. In particular the file system size limitations and the boot times will draw a more tech-savvy crowd (especially to the server release) and the drastic 3D improvements will draw more end users in.

The most important choice for a 9.04 installation will be to use ext4 or not. If you are installing on a production machine you should probably avoid this file system. But I wouldn't hestitate to install 9.04 with the ext 4 file system on SOME machine - just to see how much it improves over all performance.


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  1. Genisis said on April 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks Kirk! Much appreciated.

  2. Kirk M said on April 23, 2009 at 7:30 pm


    I recently ditched Windows altogether for Ubuntu 8.10 and yes, you can upgrade to 9.04 right from the 8.10’s Update Manager. In fact you may have already gotten the notification that 9.04 is available?

    Although I usually recommend the clean install of any new OS version I performed the upgrade to 9.04 and I pleased to say it went flawlessly. No troubles whatsoever with the minor exception that the “Root terminal” no longer functions but from what I’ve been hearing on the forums and bugzilla, this may have been intentional.

    One caveat. If you have a lot of third party software stuffed into 8.10, you might run into a few glitches. Just make sure the software is fully up to date.

    Edit: Firefox runs a heck of a lot better in 9.04 and much better Java and Java script performance all around.

  3. Genisis said on April 23, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Jack, great stuff! Thanks for everything.
    Question I have is, I have been using v8.10 since its release and its my first Linux distro that I have ever used, what would I need to do to update to v9.xx? Would need to do a complete re-install or is there and update feature? Looking forward to next release, however, I have been looking at Linux-Mint as well since you posted your article on that version as well.
    Any info on “How to update versions” in a reply or post would be GREATLY appreciated!

  4. Cheryl said on April 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Jack, I’m a Linux newbie looking to install Ubuntu on a 2002 model laptop. Should I go ahead with installing Jaunty or stick to Intrepid for now? Does it really matter what version I install?

  5. yehoni said on April 23, 2009 at 4:50 am

    It’s not a matter of intuitive or not, it’s just that Ubuntu isn’t *on* that release cycle. Canonical makes those large changes for two versions in a row, in its short term support (STS) releases, and then gets all the bugs worked out for the *third*, long term support (LTS) release. Same concept you were thinking of, but different timing. Ubuntu tends to be pretty light on bugs even on STS releases, so you’d probably never notice, but if you really want that extra bit of stability, it’s not specifically the .10 versions you want (for example, compiz integration was introduced in 7.10, and that had huge bug potential), it’s the LTS releases (8.04 wasn’t noticeable different from 7.10). This year it’s the same thing (9.10 will be LTS), but next year, there won”t *be* a LTS version.

  6. jack said on April 23, 2009 at 1:40 am

    here’s why I tend to say the .04 releases are less stable. it’s very similar to the old Red Hat release process. when a .0 release was out generally it was large changes. then the .2 releases fixed a lot that was wrong in the .0 releases. i have found the same with ubuntu .04 and .10. i usually skip the .04 releases because i know all of the bugs from the major changes will have been worked out by the time the .10 release is out.

    it may be a bit counter-intuitive, but it has worked like clockwork for me.

  7. Roman ShaRP said on April 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for the news, Jack, they a great. Of course, better wait till 9.10, but the news a great anyway.

  8. Alex said on April 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I agree with yehoni. The *.04 releases have never been less stable than other versions. The numbers following the dot represent which month the version was released. Therefore, the version numbers always go .04, then .10. Then, the first number represents the year: 8 was 2008, 9 is 2009, and so on.

  9. Doc said on April 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    With all the furor over ext4 losing data (by saving the *journaling* information before the *data* – something even Linus Torvalds has said was “incredibly stupid”) I doubt that ext4 will become the default filesystem for 9.10 – at least until the problem is fixed.

    The .04 releases, as Yehoni said, are the LTS (Long Term Support) versions, with the *unstable* goodies in the .10 releases. 9.04 should be as stable as any version of Ubuntu yet released.

  10. MartinJB said on April 22, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    The RC version is proving to be stable on my machine. Installing dual boot is now even easier and if it weren’t for a couple of 3D apps I use a lot I’d make the switch completely.
    Keep up the good work Jack – I’ve learned quite a bit from your contributions to gHacks

  11. yehoni said on April 22, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Since when are the .04 releases less stable? The current long term support release (the ones that are supposed to be the *most* stable) of Ubuntu is 8.04.

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