October 17, 2013, 2:47 PM — Ubuntu 13.10 Reviews
Ubuntu 13.10 has been released, and here's what the critics are saying about it.
Ars Technica found Ubuntu 13.10 to be a bit thin in new desktop features, but noted that the next Ubuntu release should be much more interesting.
After spending a good month with Ubuntu 13.10, I’ve found it to be a reasonable update—albeit without much to really distinguish it from its predecessor. It works as expected with a fair degree of competence. I didn’t have any issues during installation or use. The new features in the dash are interesting, but they aren’t really something that I expect to use heavily.
That said, I’d recommend that non-LTS users update so that they can be sure to continue getting security patches. Keep in mind that the non-LTS Ubuntu releases are only supported for nine months. That policy began with Ubuntu 13.04, which was released in April. If you’re not using an LTS, you should probably update regardless of whether you really want or need the new features.
It’s hard to get excited about the 13.10 release, but there are some major changes on the horizon that should make the next few major Ubuntu releases a lot more interesting.
I did my own review of Ubuntu 13.10 at Desktop Linux Reviews. Like Ars, I found it lacking in new features, but it ran well for me and seemed quite stable.
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.
Image credit: Desktop Linux Reviews
ZDNet takes note that Mir was not included in this release, and has hopes that a future release will bring in big changes.
With relatively little that's obviously new, the final release of Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) seems a somewhat obligatory event. Of course it does feature a new revision of the Linux kernel (version 3.11.0-12) and a new revision of Unity. Also, as with every release, a lot of work has been done improving the various modules that make up the operating system, fixing bugs, eliminating vulnerabilities and improving performance. However, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, due for release on 17 April next year, will now perhaps come as even more of a shock if its promised big changes are fully realised.
TechRepublic was pleased with Ubuntu 13.10 and feels that it "just works."
I would go as far to say that Ubuntu has done to the desktop what Apple did with hardware/software -- it developed a clean, solid convergence of pieces to create a cohesive whole. Although that whole has ruffled some feathers, Ubuntu 13.10 should go a long way to smooth them out. How is that possible, considering how many users have turned their back (thanks to the Wayland kerfuffle)?
Outside of Smart Scopes, there are no major changes. There's little excitement on the desktop -- it's still the same old look and feel. Oh sure, there are tiny tweaks here and there, but overall, 13.10 and 13.04 look the same at first blush. Under the hood? Same thing. You'll find a new kernel (3.11) and a few other tweaks, but nothing to cause the cheerleaders of the world to frustratingly toss their pompoms in the air.
Instead, Ubuntu 13.10 is a refinement of something that was already there and polished. There are no show stopping or curtain call worthy new features -- just countless tweaks here and there that make the whole system run smooth and fast.
So the general consensus seems to be that Ubuntu 13.10 is not an earth shattering update to Ubuntu 13.04. It seems to be a slightly better iteration of Ubuntu, and it leaves us looking forward to much more in Ubuntu 14.04.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.