Fact sheet: Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)


Ubuntu 13.10

October 2013 will see the release of the next iteration of
the Ubuntu Linux operating system. There are plenty of features coming down the
pipeline, some of which have caused great controversy with the Linux world.
Even with the surrounding controversy, Ubuntu Linux continues to be one of the
most popular Linux desktops available.

But what will the Saucy Salamander release offer the user
that might help make them switch? Let’s take a look and see.

What we know

Kernel: 3.11 RC5

Desktop interface: Unity 7. Unity Touch will be
arriving in Ubuntu 14.04, but Ubuntu 13.10 will continue with the current
implementation of Unity. There will be plenty of bug fixes and some new
features added. The two biggest features for Unity 7 will include Smart Scopes
(100 Scopes to empower searching through the Dash) and In-Dash Payments (which allow you to search for things like music and then pay for them directly from their In-Dash search
results). Unity will also enjoy a few new indicators to make the experience even

Smart Scopes: As I already mentioned, Smart Scopes will
finally ship. This has been a feature surrounded by controversy. When you open
the Unity Dash and enter text, the Dash searches in various locations for
results; the locations include your desktop, external drives, Amazon.com, and more.
But with Smart Scopes, the results will come from 100 different
locations. Of course, the user can define what locations to leave out from the
results. Here are just a few Smart Scopes locations:

  • Applications
  • Calculator
  • Chromium bookmarks
  • Commands
  • Dev Help
  • Facebook
  • Files and folders
  • Google Drive
  • Manpages
  • Picasa
  • Videos
  • Amazon
  • VirtualBox
  • Yelp

Compiz: A ‘trunk’ version of Compiz, called Compiz 0.9.10, will include a number of patches and performance tweaks that should make
the desktop much faster and smoother.

Mir: Although the finished version of the full-blown Mir
isn’t planned until the next LTS release (14.04), there will be a version of
Mir using XMir to run Unity 7. Mir will only be made available for cards that
use the standard drivers. For cards that rely on proprietary drivers, the
current X server will be used.

Locally Integrated Menus: These might ship in 13.10. Locally Integrated Menus are sort of a hybrid between the HUD and standard menus — a drop-down menu that resides on the Panel (for maximized windows) and in the window decoration (for un-maximized windows). 

Video driver changes:

The following video driver changes may arrive in 13.10:

  • Nvidia Optimus support
  • Nvidia Prime support
  • Radeon UVD support
  • RadeonSI support
  • Proper touch screen support


Look for the following software changes with 13.10:

  • Although it was rumored the Chrome would become the default
    browser, Saucy Salamander will ship with Firefox as the default
  • LibreOffice 4.1 will be the default office suite
  • Rhythmbox will be the default music player
  • Thunderbird will be the default email client

Another feature that may arrive in Saucy is “Click
Packages.” This is primarily aimed at
developers to make it easier for them to get their Ubuntu packages with no dependencies
between applications, no maintainer scripts, and each app will be installed in
its own directory. Click Packages is based on technology Debian has used for
over 20 years, so it’s proven.

Although there are a number of users up in arms about the
change to Mir and the ever-present concerns about Smart Scopes and security
(which is a non-issue, as each scope can be disabled), Ubuntu 13.10 looks to be
a very solid interim release that will do a great deal to make way for the next
major iteration of Ubuntu … 14.04. Though you may consider this a bridge
between the old and the new Ubuntu, 13.10 should be worth trying.