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.
What’s New in Ubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
Linux kernel 3.11
Ubuntu One login in installer
New keyboard applet
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.
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 One Login During Install
You can now login to Ubuntu One during your install so it will be ready when you load your desktop.
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.
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.
The Ubuntu 13.10 Desktop