The next version of Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) is scheduled to be released on OCT 30th. Ubuntu, the only second Linux distro to have a six month release cycle, is the most popular Desktop Linux distribution of all time, with a market share of 30% among all Linux distributions.
Ubuntu, which is based on Debian GNU/Linux, was first released in OCT 20 2004. Unlike some repackaged Linux distros (Mint and gOS), Ubuntu is significantly different and more frequently updated than Debian. Ubuntu is maintained and funded by Canonical LTD, which is owned by South African entrepreneur and a Debian developer, Mark Shuttleworth. Canonical generates revenue by selling paid support for Ubuntu, instead of selling Ubuntu itself. Ubuntu supports each release for 18 months in the form of patches and security updates and LTS releases, which are released every 2 years, are supported for three years for desktops and five years for servers. Ubuntu Foundations, with an initial fund of $10 million dollars was created in 2005 by Canonical to help continue Ubuntu development in the future if Canonical cease to exist. Ubuntu is one of the Six Linux Distributions supported by Canonical, which defers in their package selection and philosophy. They are:
- Ubuntu: Flagship distro, based on Gnome Desktop Environment.
- Kubuntu: KDE is the desktop Environment of choice for Kubuntu and comes bundled with packages based on KDE/Qt by default.
- Xubuntu: With a focus on speed and simplicity, xfce is the choice of desktop environment for Xubuntu.
- Edubuntu: With students and schools in mind, Edubuntu was developed with collaboration of teachers and technologists in many countries and contains mostly education specific applications. Edubuntu comes with both KDE and Gnome desktop environment.
- Gobuntu: The philosophy behind Gobuntu was to release a distribution which has only free software. It has been announced that Gobuntu 8.04 will be the next and last release.
- JeOS: “JeOS is a specialized installation of Ubuntu Server Edition with a tuned kernel that only contains the base elements needed to run within a virtualized environment.” (source)
Ubuntu releases are evolutionary in nature; instead of drastic changes from one release to another like commercial proprietary operating systems (ie, Vista & OS X), where the gap between each releases can range from two years to six years, Ubuntu is released every six months. Ubuntu releases are conveniently timed to be released one month after the release of Gnome (Ubuntu’s choice of Desktop Environment), while Gnome is released one month after the release of X Window System (X.Org). So in effect Ubuntu releases are almost always bundled with the most recently released packages out there. To highlight some of the main features/updates of Intrepid Ibex:
X.Org 7.4: Released in Sep 23, 2008; this version comes with a significantly faster xorg-server and a better support for hot-pluggable input devices. Also introduces a new failsafe mode to better troubleshoot startup failures.
Linux kernel 2.6.27: This is a significant kernel release which includes (among many updates), a new file system for flash-based storage devices, XEN support for saving and restoring virtual machines, better video camera support and improved support for many new drivers.
GNOME 2.24: As previously mentioned each Ubuntu release comes with the latest Gnome release, this version has an improved Nautilus file manager with tabbed support, Ekiga conference client, new plugins for deskbar, support for multiple monitors and many more bug fixes.
Guest Session: If you need to borrow your computer to a friend without letting them have access to your files and putting them in a restricted bubble, Ibex will have an option for a password less guest user account.
DKMS: Dynamic Kernel Module Support will allow kernel package updates to be made available immediately without having to wait for rebuilds.
Network Manager 0.7: Ibex will also feature a new and improved network manager which boasts some new features including:
- System wide settings
- Management of 3G connections (GSM/CDMA)
- Management of multiple active devices at once
- Management of devices with static IP configurations
Encrypted private directory: Ibex will now support for a secret encrypted folder to securely store sensitive data using filesystem encryption, inside your home directory.
Ubuntu Artworks: Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that Intrepid Ibex will look drastically any different from the previous version. Ibex will still have the same Human Theme with an optional DarkRoom Theme (shown in the first picture above) available which was used as default theme in Alpha Ibex releases. The wallpaper itself is less than impressive.
For existing Ubuntu user, you will be prompted to upgrade to Ibex when up your Synaptic package manager.
New users can download ISO images from Ubuntu website directly or use torrent (highly recommended) and burn them on a CD to install on your computer. You can also download wubi, which is as Ubuntu installed for windows, the client will itself download the ibex and install it on your windows computer without compromising your existing OS or creating any partition. Additionally, you can also request a free Ubuntu CD mailed to you free of charge; however, depending on your location, delivery might take up to 10 weeks. If you are in the market to buy a computer you can check out the list of 19 places where you can order computer with Ubuntu pre-installed.
One thing that Ubuntu (or most Linux distro) has plenty of, are online resources and places to seek help when needed: