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Prerelease Review: Xubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope Alpha 3

It's been too long since we last posted. JeremyW and I both took new jobs late last summer and fall, so we've been quite busy. But with the snow on the ground I can finally get some fun work done. Installing the latest build of Xubuntu, the Alpha 3 release of Jaunty Jackalope!

For those of you unfamiliar, this is what the majestic jackalope looks like:

The version I will be discussing today has a much more sleek look to it. And Xubuntu's take doesn't leave a mess on the carpet. This is version 9.04, and with it comes XFCE and Linux Kernel 2.6.28-3.4. The goal of this release is to improve the experience and remove transitional barriers for new users as well as decreasing boot times. By the time of the official release Jaunty will include XFCE 4.6, improve Samba integration, decrease login time, and make Xubuntu better for multimedia use. There have already been some good improvements in appearance and login speed, and they are working on logging the events occuring upon boot and login to find ways to increase the speed. It's already much faster than Vista, though that wouldn't take much. My boot time on my old laptop was 43 seconds, as opposed to 1:22 with the same setup in 8.04. Results may vary with your setup, but that was my experience.

Thankfully, 3.0.1rc2 is finally included in the repository. It isn't installed by default for the sake of making the iso fit on a CD. continues to improve, and for the average user is as good, or for some better, than Microsoft Office. My qualm had always been how bad the graphs look, but they are looking and working much better in 3.0.1, I recommend any Linux or Windows user to at least give it a try.

Firefox 3.0.5 is included and is the default browser for Jaunty. It also comes with Pidgin for chat, Thunderbird for an email client, and the Remote Desktop Viewer for all your online needs. I'm still eagerly waiting for Google to finally port Chrome to Linux, a surprising omission on their part. Firefox is still an incredible choice, and is an Ubuntu staple.

Wireless support continues to improve, and a novice user should have no problems getting online right after an install. Joe Tillamook out there should be able to install and get to work quickly and trouble free without calling their Linux-capable friends.

We're still 3 months away from the release of 9.04, but the Alpha 3 release is still looking amazing. For either a seasoned Linux veteran, or a new convert, it is arguably one of the best combinations of ease of use and speed out there.

Download Xubuntu 9.04