Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

In my last review of Ubuntu (Ubuntu 13.04) I noted that Ubuntu has become a bit boring to review. I had hoped that Ubuntu 13.10 would fix that, and that there would be some terrific new features to comment on.

Alas, Ubuntu 13.10 follows in the footsteps of Ubuntu 13.04. The big new desktop feature is Smart Scopes (more on that below). Beyond that there’s not a whole lot that is interesting or exciting to talk about. It turns out that Saucy Salamander is one truly dull amphibian.

Canonical really should rename this release to “Snoozing Salamander” instead.

A Boring Salamander

Zzzzzzzzzzz!

What’s New in Ubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux kernel 3.11
Smart Scopes
Ubuntu One login in installer
New keyboard applet
LibreOffice 4.1.2.3
Firefox 24

Smart Scopes
Smart Scopes is probably the biggest new feature for desktop users. It has generated a fair amount of controversy and rancor in the Linux community. Smart Scopes functions much like searching in your browser. Just start typing a search term and you’ll see a list of results appear that comprise local data or various online sources. Click on the result that interests you and a browser window will open where you can get more information.

This is a very useful function, and it can save you a lot of time when looking for information. I understand that some people will regard this as a privacy violation, no problem. There’s an easy way to disable Smart Scopes, here are the instructions to do so:

1. Click on Settings.

2. Click on Security and Privacy.

3. Click on the Search tab.

4. Click the “Include online search results” toggle to change it to the off position.

Ubuntu 13.10 Disable Smart Scopes

Ubuntu 13.10 Disable Smart Scopes

Personally I’d keep it on, but others may feel very differently. Canonical has done the right thing by giving people a choice, and by making it so easy to turn off if the user doesn’t want to use Smart Scopes.

New Keyboard Applet
Ubuntu 13.10 comes with a new keyboard applet that makes it easier to switch layouts and languages.

Ubuntu 13.10 Keyboard Applet

Ubuntu 13.10 Keyboard Applet

Ubuntu One Login During Install
You can now login to Ubuntu One during your install so it will be ready when you load your desktop.

Ubuntu 13.10 Ubuntu One Login

Ubuntu 13.10 Ubuntu One Login

System Requirements for Ubuntu 13.10
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

A Pentium 4, 1GHz system is the minimum recommended for a desktop system.

Install Type RAM (minimal) RAM (recommended) Hard Drive
No desktop 64 megabytes 256 megabytes 1 gigabyte
With Desktop 64 megabytes 512 megabytes 5 gigabytes

Ubuntu 13.10 Download
You can download Ubuntu 13.10 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at around 925.9 MB.

Ubuntu 13.10 is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. I used the 64-bit version for this review.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

Ubuntu 13.10 Installation
The Ubuntu 13.10 installer is as easy as ever. My install took about fifteen minutes or so. There’s also a brief slideshow you can watch while your install completes.

Ubuntu 13.10 Try or Install

Ubuntu 13.10 Try or Install

Ubuntu 13.10 Install Prepare

Ubuntu 13.10 Install Prepare

Ubuntu 13.10 Install Type

Ubuntu 13.10 Install Type

Ubuntu 13.10 Install Slideshow

Ubuntu 13.10 Install Slideshow

The Ubuntu 13.10 Desktop
There’s not too much new to note about the Ubuntu 13.10 desktop since I covered the new stuff in the What’s New section above. It’s pretty much the same for the most part as Ubuntu 13.04.

Ubuntu 13.10 Desktop

Ubuntu 13.10 Desktop

Ubuntu 13.10 Search

Ubuntu 13.10 Search

Ubuntu 13.10 System Settings

Ubuntu 13.10 System Settings

Linux Software Included in Ubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

Games
AisleRiot Solitaire
Mahjongg
Mines
Sudoku

Graphics
Document Viewer
Image Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
Shotwell Photo Manager
Simple Scan

Internet
Desktop Sharing
Empathy IM
Firefox
Remmina Remote Desktop Client
Thunderbird Mail
Transmission BitTorrent Client

Multimedia
Videos
Rhythmbox Music Player

Office
LibreOffice

Linux Software Management Tools in Ubuntu 13.10
The Ubuntu Software Center is as good as ever. It’s very easy to find software in it. You can even find Top Rated software such as VLC, GParted and other top notch applications.

Applications are broken down into the usual categories and subcategories, and you can also search for a particular application if you don’t want to browse around to find it. You can also see star ratings and read reviews by other users before installing an application.

To install an app, just find it in the Software Center and click the Install button (click Remove to take it off your system).

Ubuntu 13.10 Software Center

Ubuntu 13.10 Software Center

Ubuntu 13.10 Top Rated Software

Ubuntu 13.10 Top Rated Software

Ubuntu 13.10 VLC Install

Ubuntu 13.10 VLC Install

Ubuntu 13.10 VLC Reviews

Ubuntu 13.10 VLC Reviews

Problems & Headaches Found in Ubuntu 13.10
Ubuntu 13.10 ran pretty well for me, I didn’t encounter any noticeable slowdown or crashes. If you’ve seen any, please share them in the comments below for the benefit of other users.

Where To Get Help for Ubuntu 13.10
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Ubuntu support page.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Ubuntu 13.10
At the beginning of the review, I barked about how Ubuntu 13.10 was boring. Well, it is boring.

But it’s also still a very good desktop Linux distribution. It works well, and it was also speedy and stable for me. So even though I complained about the lack of pizzazz in this release, you should not discount the appeal of Ubuntu 13.10.

If you’re looking for a desktop distribution, be sure to check it out. It may not wow you with tons of new features, but it builds on a very reliable base and it hits most of the sweet spots for desktop users.

Ubuntu 13.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on Ubuntu 13.10? Tell me in the comments below.