Ubuntu Karmic Koala Climbs Into the Ring

Canonical, the commercial developer of the open source operatingsystem Ubuntu, will release on Thursday Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition andUbuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition. The two latest releases, which go by the moniker “Karmic Koala,” come on the healsof last week’s release of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

The latest Ubuntu releases could raise the ante in the competitive field of computer operating systems, where Microsoft, Apple and open source offerings like Ubuntu vie for users.

Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition introduces Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud(UEC) as a fully supported technology. Ubuntu 9.10 desktopfeatures a redesigned interface with faster boot and login, a revampedaudio framework and improved 3G broadband connectivity.

“This is a busy week for operating systems. But users get theadvantage because it’s a great time for consumers to try out Ubuntufor free rather than paying for an upgrade to Windows 7,” SteveGeorge, director of support and products for Canonical, toldLinuxInsider.

Feigned Competition

Canonical is not planning to initiate a special media campaign againstWindows 7, which was released last week. In fact, the fact that both new operatingsystem releases are taking place at roughly the same time is purely accidental, according toGeorge.

“Actually, we think Microsoft planned its release to coincide withours,” quipped George.

The nomenclature for Canonical’s release timetable is based on the yearand month of the planned release. So Ubuntu 9.10 stands for 2009,10th month. This latest version comes with free security upgrades for18 months, he explained.

Server Specifics

Code writers gave special attention to the core serverproduct and kernel in this latest edition. For example, numerouskernel improvements support both Xen (guest) and KVM (host and guest)virtualization. Caching performance is also improved.

Developers added MySQL 5.1 and upgraded the directory stack and SingleSign On tools for improved directory integration. This version offersfully supported framework enhancing Web server options.

Also included is support for the USB 3.0 protocol to handle highertransfer rates when those devices become available. Server users willget additional system management support through the WBEM (Web-basedenterprise management) protocols, which open up support of Ubuntuenvironment to the most popular system management tools currentlydeployed in enterprises.

Ubuntu’s own systems management tool, Landscape, now has a dedicatedserver for its hosted version that allows deployments to be managedentirelywithin the firewall and will fully support Ubuntu 9.10 Server Editionand Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.

Desktop Delights

In their approach to growing this newest Ubuntu version, Canonical code writers made it a point to focus on details. The 100 Paper Cuts initiativeorganized with the Ubuntu community allowed users to nominate minorannoyances that impacted their enjoyment of the platform.

That feedback so far led to over 50 fixes that removed minor irritants,such as inconsistent naming or poorly organized application choices.Larger-scale user experience improvements include a refreshed UbuntuSoftware Center. This gives users easier access to information aboutthe software available and brings the world of open sourceapplications closer to them.

Plus One More

Ubuntu 9.10 includes the integration of ‘Ubuntu One’ as a standardcomponent of the desktop. This is an umbrella name for a suite ofonline services which were released in beta in May 2009.

Ubuntu One offers users an enhanced desktop experience with simplifiedbackup, synchronization and sharing of files with an expanded set offeaturesincluding Tomboy Notes and contacts synchronization.

Netbook and smartbook users will be able to use the Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix(UNR) interface. UNRintegrates the Empathy instant messaging program for text, voice,video and file transfers to make communication easier.

Effortless Experience

“Ubuntu 9.10 gives users more reasons than ever to seriously considerLinux at a time when many are thinking again about their operatingsystem options.We are delivering a platform for users interested in an easy-to-use,great-looking, Web-friendly operating system,” said Jane Silber, COOatCanonical.

Deployment on popular notebook, desktop and netbook modelscontinue to drive Ubuntu into the mainstream of computing choices, shesaid.

Opportune Time

The main significance for consumers to consider Ubuntu as analternative to Windows 7 is the cost of upgrading, according toGeorge. The new release will work with most current-generation hardware, so users will not have to worry about costlyupgrades, he explained.

“We see three main reasons to consider Ubuntu as a Windows 7alternative. One is it is easy to use. Two, it’s fun to work with abeautiful interface. Three, Ubuntu comes with all the applicationsconsumers and business users need,” said George.

Consumers can install the latest Ubuntu release within Windows XP orWindows Vista to try out a fully functional version of the open sourceoperating system, noted George. This way, the existing Windowsenvironment remains intact on the user’s computer until a decision ismade between migrating to Ubuntu or staying with Windows.

Pricing and Availability

Ubuntu 9.10 Server and Desktop Editions are downloadable for free.

Ubuntu One offers 2 GB of storage for free and 50 GB for $10 per month.

Canonical also provides support products for desktop and notebook userspriced from $55 per year.

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