Monday, November 2, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 Upgrade - The Best Upgrade Experience

Last night, I upgraded my main development machine from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10.  Wow!  What a great experience and I'm not being facetious here.  Anybody who's ever done an upgrade on any operating system knows that upgrades tend to be a bit nail biting. I recall my first service pack 1 upgrade for Windows XP system.  Ouch!

So upgrading my Ubuntu installation was simply as easy as click upgrade and entering my system privilege password.  It took about an hour, but admittedly about 45 minutes of it downloading about 1500 packages over my slow internet connection.  The other option was to get a torrent file and that would have taken about 15 minutes to install, but I was being lazy and didn't want to fire up BitTorrent.  When it finished and it prompted me to restart my machine.  Voila! I was done -- Gossip Girl episode uninterrupted.

I was surprised by the faster boot time and barely got to see the new start up screen.  A bunch of security related changes were made including changes to how applications like CUPS are jailed via AppArmour.  However, the most interesting bundled change is the ability to encrypt your home directory:

During installation, Ubuntu 9.10 now offers the option of setting up an encrypted home directory. The technology required for this – eCryptfs, a stackable, encrypted file system that is placed on top of the home directory – has been part of Ubuntu for some time. However, the users of the distribution's desktop version previously had to set it up themselves on the command line; now, a simple mouse click during installation is all that is required

Since I upgraded, I didn't get the option to turn on eCryptfs so I'm going to be looking to turn that on soon.  If my laptop was ever stolen, I'd like to have the peace of mind that my electronic bills and personal documents are not so easily accessed.

I haven't had the time to check out UbuntuOne which looks really cool akin to DropBox.  Looks like my LaunchPad account will be used for more than just filing tickets on Gwibber:

Ubuntu One is a new Canonical service for all Ubuntu users: It offers 2GB of free internet storage which can be used for tasks like synchronising data across multiple Ubuntu installations, making files available to other users, or simply backing up information. To take advantage of Ubuntu One, users need a Launchpad account – those who don't have one already can set up an account when first accessing Ubuntu One (under Applications/Internet in the start menu).

So far I'm having a great Karmic Koala experience.  Now, have you thought about trying Ubuntu?  Try out a LiveCD version first to get a feel before replacing your jailed proprietary operating system with sweet satisfaction of freedom.

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