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First look: Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) alpha 4
Written by Daniel   
Saturday, 02 February 2008 13:58

First look: Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) alpha 4

By Ryan Paul | Published: February 02, 2008 - 01:14AM CT
ARS Technica

Ubuntu 8.04 alpha 4 was officially released today and is now available for testing. This alpha offers an early look at some of the features that will be included in the final 8.04 release, which is scheduled for April. Codenamed Hardy Heron, Ubuntu 8.04 will be the second long-term support (LTS) release, which means that it will be supported on the desktop for three years and on the server for five years.

We tested alpha 4 ourselves, and we are very impressed with some of the hot new features. Ubuntu 8.04 is the first version to include PulseAudio, an open-source sound server that offers sophisticated mixing capabilities and network transparency. PulseAudio offers several potential improvements to the desktop user experience, including support for independently controlling the volume of individual applications, transferring audio streams between devices, and outputting a stream on multiple devices at the same time. PulseAudio is installed by default in alpha 4 but hasn't been fully integrated into the system yet. During this stage of the transition, volume controls are inaccessible, so there isn't much testing that one can do with it right now.

Another very significant architectural change in Ubuntu 8.04 is the inclusion of GIO and GVFS, a new I/O abstraction layer and virtual file system mechanism. GVFS replaces the antiquated GnomeVFS library and uses the D-Bus interprocess communication protocol to coordinate between various daemons that handle mounting and file operations. These components have been integrated into Nautilus, the GNOME file manager. There are still some bugs that need to be resolved and not all of the previously supported network protocols are working with it yet, but it already provides a few new features that are visible to the user. In particular, Nautilus will now queue up long file transfer operations and display them in a single window rather than spawning a separate window for each file transfer operation..[More...]  [Comments]

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