Ubuntu 9.10 Beta First Impressions

I'd been running 9.04 with backported nVidia drivers for a month or so, since those drivers actually support adjusting the brightness of my laptop panel. After the latest mysterious "maybe-video-related" lockup, I decided that if I'm going to have my machine crash, I might as well have a good reason, so I upgraded to 9.10 Beta over the weekend. To add to the impetus, I think the driver for my wireless card in 9.04 doesn't properly support WPA, so it randomly would drop my connection, something it did a couple of times while trying to download the upgrade. To Ubuntu's credit, restarting networking didn't break the upgrade, it actually managed to recover.

So far, I'm impressed. The upgrade went smoothly. However, after I upgraded, I noticed that an 'aptitude upgrade' showed more packages that needed to be upgraded. I didn't keep a list (yea, dumb), but notably, some pulse audio packages were included in this list. This might just be related to be doing things like installing extra packages to make pulse work better.

Overall, it seems faster and much more polished than 9.04. They've obviously taken a page from Apple's play book with the use of well placed animated transitions. The new X based boot splash is a great improvement over the old splash, mostly in terms of giving the boot and shutdown experience a more unified feel.

One big thing that seems to finally fixed is the time it takes to re-associate with a wireless access point upon returning from sleep: it's now at least as fast as my Mac. We'll see how things go as time goes on, but so far so good. If I don't have to file any bugs in the next few weeks, that'll be extra awesome.