It has been surprisingly quiet since Alpha 1, but some big changes slipped through nonetheless. Saddle up, it’s wildcat herding time!
Welcome news for fans of half-arsed i686 implementations: The shift from i486 to i686 build instructions in Maverick may not present the nightmare scenario you’ve been told to expect. A binutils bug noticed by Linux kernel developers in 2008 has inspired a fix in Ubuntu’s gcc to stop it from generating problematic instructions. eglibc was rebuilt to reflect the change, but additional work may be required to nail down the fix completely.
Nothing conservative about this Maverick… it’s time to bid farewell to your old pals, aptitude and tasksel! At least in the default desktop install anyway, as the minimal and standard ubuntu-meta packages no longer directly depend on them. That’s a swingeing cut to the install footprint of 13.5MB! Sure, that may not seem like much given the size of modern hard drives, but consider the impact on mobile install profiles (tablets and the like), smaller SSDs and most importantly, the LiveCD.
This change is likely to draw a bit of criticism, but here are some things to keep in mind before you voice your disappointment:
- These days, apt-get supports dependency-aware removal of unused packages (apt-get autoremove) and installing recommended packages by default (which you can turn off with --no-install-recommends).
- Desktop users are rightly encouraged to use Update Manager and the Ubuntu Software Centre, which are both vastly more usable than Synaptic or aptitude.
- You can install and use aptitude if you wish, and there has been no indication that it will be removed from main.
- Indeed, tasksel will continue to be installed on servers, and it depends on aptitude anyway… so never fear, quasi-GUI server admins!
In the same upload, Colin Watson laid to rest the hppa and lpia architectures once and for all, excising the remaining references to them from the package seeds. Neither were built or supported for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Awaiting a similar fate, the historically much-loved sparc port, and without a surge in contributors, perhaps even the much-reviled ia64.
If you’re keen to see Don Quixote’s architecture of choice survive, and have a notarised doctor’s certificate confirming that you are not infected with zombie rage virus, there’s a gaping maw at the entrance to hell with your name on it. Perhaps you can inflict pain on research students around the globe by keeping ia64 on life support for another decade!
That’s it for the goodbyes — say hello to linux 2.6.35-rc1! For lots of juicy background on the latest Linux kernel action, you have to read Linux Weekly News (LWN). Better yet, subscribe to support great niche journalism. Check out their coverage of 2.6.35: merge window 1, merge window 2 and merge window 3 (still paywalled as we publish).
You stay classy, Maverick Meerkat.