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

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
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.

AisleRiot Solitaire

Document Viewer
Image Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
Shotwell Photo Manager
Simple Scan

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

Rhythmbox Music Player


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.

35 thoughts on “Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

  1. I think I will return to version 12.10 after trying 13.10. Many problems with 13.10 such as when trying to get vlc player from the software centre – clicked the download button and got a dialog box asking me to choose an application – clicked Choose and up popped my Recent folder – that was the end of that. I don’t recall having any problems with 12.10 after some basic tweaks.

    1. I think Ubuntu 14.04 is coming out next week, though I can’t recall the exact date. Maybe the 17th or something like that? So you might want to wait for that, Chris.

  2. I hav pre found Ubuntu13.10 very easy after 12.04. However I have problems using the terminals. I have bought many books and downloaded help insn i dont keed to do? i do not know how to do this.tructions but my terminal is not responding as the books say. I it premissions I need to do? I dont know how to do this.Any help would be wonderful. thanks. Marjorie.

  3. I love Ubuntu but this has, for me, been the most unreliable almost disastrous upgrade. The upgrade froze 3/4 of the way through and I had to re-boot, download the whole Program to a DVD and then reinstall. Then I had to reinstaLL ALL MY PROGRAMS, thanks to Jeja Jup this worked well. still the OS is unreliable. I turned off the suspend and yet I still get freezes. NEVER did with any previous Ubuntu on this system. I see error reporting going to canonical every week. Very disappointing!

  4. I am a newbie to linux. I ‘ve installed this and have to say I’m confused as heck..I couldn’t/can’t get the software for either wifi or a what I would expect to be easy adobe flash player up and running. All time spent with this has caused me more pain than I we hoped….sorry for the whining. Software always flashes a negative when I try to install what people seem to tell me is the answer to my issues..did all of you just install and live happily ever after…my installing went good, but any attempts to mave forward with video,streaming, wireless is unobtainable…I guess I am not getting it….

  5. The real issue is Unity. Unity is a pain. It may have many advantages but I don’t see them and the disadvantages are staring me in the face. You can’t put your launcher where you want to, you have to know what something is called to look for it in the dash, there are no easily accessible menus and the window menus are not only detached from the windows but hidden unless you go looking for them.

    The window switcher can’t be arranged horizontally because the launcher is vertical, as far as I can see you can’t disable the useless Files file manager which won’t show me a file tree view of my file system, and the off button is so small I usally miss it and get the calendar. I can’t get rid of the wastebin from the Panel, which I don’t want. The window sliders are invisible and you have to go poking where you think they might be…

    What is more, it’s unstable, it regularly freezes on me and is permanently reporting internal errors. What makes it all so bitter is that Ubuntu was so good, before they introduced Unity. It’s a real tragedy.

    I have 13.10 on my laptop but good old 10.04 the Lucid Lynx on my real desktop where I mostly work because that was the last one pre-Unity. And Unity slows productivity. God knows I try to get used to it by using it on the laptop, but I just can’t afford to waste that much time to actually work with it.

  6. Came overe from Windows and love Ubuntu but am having an occasionaly problem as the system hangs totally normally when in Firefox and have to power off to kick start it again. Might be a hardware problem ie video card.All come out in the wash I guess.So much easier to get up and running than Windows.

  7. Upgrade went fine but keys now not working properly, visual layout provided is correct but doesn’t compare with what I actually get. Can’t get a pound sign for instance using UK keyboard!

  8. Saucy is running almost fine here. Sometimes after boot, my clock and date in the top panel is missing and no, “killall unity-panel-service” doesn’t work (I have to log out and log in again). Toggle desktop (when hot corners are enabled) doesn’t work either…

  9. I haven’t tried Ubuntu for a few years, I have just waited for Linux Mint for the last 5 releases or so. Every release I want to try it out but I get busy and never do. I’m going to either buy the next Nexus 10 or the latest Asus tablet it will be based upon, or basically the one with Tegra 4 GPU in it. I hope one of these run Ubuntu, their OS really feels like a tablet OS and to be honest I kinda miss them but just can’t use their GUI for desktop use.

    I’m wondering if Steam OS will be Ubuntu based and feature the GUI. Have to wait and see.

  10. I find the new ubuntu 13.10 more unstable and half-baked than the previous one.
    Keyboard switching is impossible with key combos including ALT. This is a filed bug, but still does not change the fact it is very annoying bug for ppl who write in two or more different languages. The ubuntu software center crashes after serching for something, trying to filter the application list with the string “”.
    When suspended and then awaken again it opens Dash.

  11. As an ordinary Linux user, I don’t care so much about innovation as I care about consistency. I want to focus on production, not on rediscovering the system with each release and figuring out where my applications are relocated.

    1. Same here! It’s a pleasant surprise to see a _now_ familiar face unchanged. Good evolutive changes and rock solid stability. I did a painless upgrade from 13.04 and everything was in place; however I decided to go with a clean install to get rid of all the accumulated junk and clutter. Complete with elementary configuration it took under one hour. Excellent version!

    2. The superficial stuff seems pretty minor and dull. I like the kernel changes. The drivers are steadily improving. Wayland/Mir sound like important improvements. I’d like to see better support for GUI apps and 3D games.

  12. Nick,

    I absolutely agree with you. If Linux is ever going to appeal to a larger audience it needs stability, polish, up to date apps, and being something differrent: Ubuntu is working hard to be just that and they deserve some credit for it.

    1. Marten,

      I actually see something a little deeper in the difficulty Linux has in adoption…

      Most Linux users, I would hazard a guess, are rebels of some sort. Different and not frightened to try something new and experiment a little. They’ve learnt to “Back your crap up”!!!! and have learnt “Safe system Practices” and ways to protect their “IT Life”.

      Once their safe system is established they experiment, they break stuff, re-install it, figure out a new way to solve their problems, are independant, capable of research, problem solving, interacting with others and passing information to and fro with clarity and accuracy.

      The Linux Ecosystem has evolved into a “Libertarian Type Technology Environment” Linux runs everything from Stealthy BattleShips to Partical Accelorators to my dodgey Media center and Dynamic IP Web Server because of this freedom to do what ever you damn well like. CHOICE!

      Now compare that description with the people you see lining up at the Supermarket checkout, wondering around the shopping malls, consuming MSNBC.

      See the problem?

      Linux is asking Sheeple to “Wake Up and choose”! Awesome idea and I’m all for it! But it’s asking People with no experience in choice. Most are happy to learn what is dictated, rather than explore, discover, evaluate and choose.

      Linux forces evaluation and choice. The move from windows to Linux for me, and I’m sure to varyiung degrees most, meant installing about a dozen Distro’s for varying periods of time, and even now, I’m running a variety of Debian, Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Xubuntu pimped with KWin And that’s just one branch of a core system.

      Introduce Mepis, Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, Arch etc Wow, most peoples head will fip out.

      I think, while “Ma and Pa main stream” are struggling to be individuals and cling to homogeneity like a security blanket, Linux will struggle without presenting a unifier.

      Maybe someone can up with some sort of convergence system? 😉

      1. I think ubuntu is on the right track with mobile integration. It may take another few years, but having another smart phone alternative will help bring some more casual users over to ubuntu os. Conversion efforts have been attempted before by various individuals… I’m not sure if this is something conical would want to take on because of all the additional headaches involved. I really think there should be an independant site… maybe funded by the linux foundation that’s soul duty is to educate people on linux, using it along with or instead of windows, and breakdown various os’s and features so people have a point of landing other than distrowatch. If there is such a site already I’m not aware of it so it has little to no mindshare most likely. Just random musings…

  13. i just upgraded to 13.10 it was the smoothiest ever upgrade and i also enable Mir.
    It “just” works, and it is asthetically pleasant, i want nothing more from my OS… Bravo to ubuntu developers

  14. Why do I get the hard equations? 5 x seven? sevensevensevensevenseven :)

    I’m a user of UBuntu 13.04 and XUbuntu 13.04 pimped with kwin window manager and a variety of other bits’n peices. I also run my own Lamp server/s and virtual lamp server/s over dyndns connections.

    I’ve experienced the learning curve that i sLinux coming from Window$.

    If Linux is to acquire traction in the General user desktop market?… I’m affrraid it has to be boring.

    It’s never boring for me. But then I don’t care if iTune crashes or MS Office doesn’t work, in fact I havn’t run MSOffice for years. But 50% of the rest of the planet does. Which means you need stability and ease of installation.

    13.10 may set the standard for consistency.

    Ubuntu, and linux in general, is also introducing unique interfaces to users. Constistency is King here. Users need to know it’ll be the same next week.

    I understand the community criticising the lack of “New Features” but that coming from a technically literate group and a group that finds the technicality’s enticing.

    I also do, hence the Virtual Lamps and Debian and Ubuntu Servers. But the rest of the world doesn’t!

    Boring is good. We can get into the terminal, install additional wiondows managers, desktops etc. Most are not interested. They just wasnt it to work. And 13.10, Mint, etc seem to achive this.

    We need propogation now, and Ubuntu/Mint goes some way toward that.

    1. Thanks for the note, Nick. Sorry about the stupid equations, I had to put in a wordpress plugin to stop the casual spam I was getting in the comments. Heh.

      Yeah, I agree. Boring does work, and it works well in this case. Part of the problem is that reviewers like me see so many distros that we get a little bit jaded. Well okay, we got very jaded. 😉

      So we’re always on the lookout for the knock out features and gee-whiz-bang type stuff that we can either rant about or oooooh and aaaaaaaah over.

      But hey, there’s always 14.04 to look forward to, right? 😉

      1. Gotta love those equations! LOL

        Totally agree! I love the concept stuff. But then when it doesn’t work or trashes the system? That’s ok as well, cause we got to go ooooohhh aaaahhhhh and wow! for a while :)

        I don’t know how many re-installs I’ve done just from having so much stuff that hardly get used on my Desktop and it’s easier to blow it away rather than try and clean it or fix it LOL.

        At times I get lazy and work with a hobbled system. Which is where I’m at right now. I broke Unity (Don’t know how or care really, but something bumped into something else and trashed it) and installed XFCE as life support :)

        But “Ma and Pa” aint gonna put up with that! :)

        13.10 will be the re-install if this install lasts that long.

        BUT! My all important Laptop Doesn’t get treated this way. Minimal XFCE with kwin and a couple of productivity tools and thats it! And they’re tested in virtual machines before being commited. Again, “Ma and Pa” aint gonna do that either.

        And if “Ma and Pa” get hit with all the possibilities that is Linux?… Well I can see tears :) Especially when the Teenagers “I know what I’m doing!” get hold of it and see the all oooohhh aaaahahhh’s LOL

        1. But then if enough teenagers get hold of it… We win!

          Young minds are far easier to bring over. I like the Linux phone for this. Not the whole answer true – but it’s positioned to be credible with teenagers. As you say, lamp stacks aren’t for the masses.

          BTW, love your thinking Nick.

          1. I think we’ve just un-earthed a double edge sword :)

            Linux needs the young’n’s and it’s gonna be a pain in the A getting there :)

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