New Ubuntu desktop and server versions ready this week

The next desktop and server versions of open source Linux operating systems from Ubuntu will be available for download on Thursday, according to Canonical and Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Edition offers new mobile features, including 3G network support, so users can move between Wi-Fi and mobile networks, such as through a dongle.

"Working with open source technologies like GNOME, Ubuntu 8.10 provides exciting new features for users like creating an always-on system that seamlessly connects wireless and cellular networks," said Stormy Peters, executive director at the GNOME Foundation.

The GNOME environment a set of free software included in the release also includes a new instant messaging client, time tracker, conferencing tools, file management and improved support for multiple monitor use.

Ubuntu also worked with the BBC to develop media players, which can handle high-quality streamed content.

The Ubuntu 8.10 Server Edition brings improvements to virtualisation, Java and system management.

"The server edition embraces cloud computing, virtualisation, mail server enhancements, Java development and deployment as well as a range of services to help system administrators and developers," said Jane Silber, chief operating officer of Canonical, which backs Ubuntu's development and sells support packages.

The new version ships with a Virtual Machine builder and officially supports running as a paravirtualized guest on Xen hypervisors.

You can download Ubuntu - or request a CD copy - here.