Friday, April 23, 2010

The Ultimate Linux Distribution: Ubuntu

I've now been using Ubuntu for about 2 years. I'm certainly happy with it and would never consider going back to Windows or paying the premium for an essentially equivalent OS (Mac OS X). I, like many users, have come to appreciate Ubuntu as not only a solid replacement OS for Windows or Mac, but for what it truly is: The Ultimate Linux Distribution.

That's a big claim. How can I say such a thing? Aren't all Linux distros essentially built on the same foundation? Well, yes, they are. But then again, all cars run on four wheels. What sets Ubuntu apart isn't the fact that it's Linux or even that it's Debian-based, it's the people behind the effort. Ubuntu's core team, Canonical, is doing something no other Linux distro has been able to do. It's giving guidance on and meeting the expectations of the average user. And it's doing it at a rate that's significantly outpacing all of its competitors.

Ubuntu has been the #1 distribution on DistroWatch since 2005 with its closest competitor being Fedora (which it consistently leads by a 30 to 50 percent margin). To find out more about why it's been able to hold this position and gain ground from both the Windows and Mac markets, read this article: Ubuntu, the Ultimate Linux Distribution. And a further clarification here.

With Lucid Lynx just 6 days away, the soon-to-be 20M users worldwide have again turned to Canonical for direction on the next big thing. And they haven't been disappointed. Read more about the recently announced 10.10, Monstrous Moose Maverick Meercat. While I won't be upgrading from 10.10 for a while on my work laptop, I will be pleased to see more radical changes coming down the pipeline and look forward to testing them out on my non-essential systems.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What's New in Ubuntu 10.04

Wondering what you'll get with that shiny new system when you switch in 20 days to Ubuntu 10.04? Besides the guaranteed stability that comes with a long-term support release (LTS), here's a rundown taken from Ubuntu's website of the new features added in 10.04:

New features since Ubuntu 9.10

These features are showcased for your attention. Please test them and report any bugs you find:

GNOME

Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 includes the latest GNOME desktop environment with a number of great new features.

Mozilla Firefox

Default search engine has been changed to Yahoo! The default Home Page will use either Google or Yahoo! depending on user setting.

Linux kernel 2.6.32

Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 includes the 2.6.32-16.25 kernel based on 2.6.32.9.

KDE SC 4.4

Kubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 features the new KDE SC 4.4. For more information about new features in Kubuntu, see the Kubuntu technical overview.

HAL removal

This beta sports full removal of HAL from the boot process, making Ubuntu faster to boot and faster to resume from suspend.

Major new version of likewise-open

The likewise-open package, which provides Active Directory authentication and server support for Linux, has been updated to version 5.4. The package supports upgrades from both the officially supported versions 4.0 (Ubuntu 8.04 LTS) and 4.1 (Ubuntu 9.10), as well as the likewise-open5 packages from universe.

Since this upgrade involves a lot of configuration file changes and in-place database upgrades, testing and feedback is appreciated.

New default open source driver for nVidia hardware

The Nouveau video driver is now the default for nVidia hardware. This driver provides kernel mode setting, which will give improved resolution detection. This driver provides hardware accelerated 2D functionality, like the -nv driver it replaces. The nouveau driver is being actively developed upstream and we anticipate this will enable faster bug fixes for problems encountered.

Improved support for nVidia proprietary graphics drivers

Three different NVIDIA proprietary drivers are currently available: nvidia-current (190.53), nvidia-173, andnvidia-96. Thanks to a new alternatives system, it is now possible to install all three of these packages at the same time (although it is only possible to have one configured for use at a time).

Social from the Start

We now feature built-in integration with Twitter, identi.ca, Facebook, and other social networks with theMeMenu in the panel, which is built upon the Gwibber project, which has a completely new, more reliable backend built on top of desktopcouch. Gwibber now also supports a multi-column view for monitoring multiple feeds simultaneously.

New boot experience

Multiple changes to look, feel and speed of the boot experience have been included in the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS beta.

New Indicators

The notification area now features more consistent user experience and design for communication, session management, and many other tasks. See the application indicators page for information on this change.

New Themes

The desktop has been beautified with the addition of two brand new themes, Ambiance and Radiance. New wallpaper and icons are also included.

Ubuntu One File Syncing

Select any folder in your home directory for sync, pick from your existing contacts when sharing folders. An updated preferences application has been added, with more features.

Ubuntu One Music Store

Millions of songs are available for purchase from your Ubuntu desktop, integrated with the Rhythmbox Music Player and using Ubuntu One cloud storage for backup and easy sync. Watchhttp://one.ubuntu.com/blog for the public beta launch.

New features for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC)

The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud installer has been vastly improved in order to support alternative installation topologies. UEC components are now automatically discovered and registered, including for complex topologies. Finally, UEC is now powered by Eucalyptus 1.6.2 codebase.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 Countdown Banner

You can enable your website with a countdown banner simply by inserting the following HTML code somewhere on your page:
 <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.ubuntu.com/files/countdown/display.js"></script>