Next Ubuntu for desktop and server out this week


Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop dubbed Karmic Koala will arrive this Thursday, alongside the next server release.

The desktop edition of the Linux distribution promises a faster boot time, better 3G connectivity, and new audio system. It will also include Ubuntu One, which is a lineup of online services including backup, file sharing and synchronisation. It also comes with Firefox 3.5 built in.

Ubuntu 9.10 brings in 50 fixes from the "100 Paper Cuts" programme, which gathered "minor annoyances" from users to improve the user experience of the system, such as application organisation.

Canonical, the company which runs the project, also promises new development tools called Quickly and improvements to the netbook remix.

"Ubuntu 9.10 gives users more reasons than ever to seriously consider Linux at a time when many are thinking again about their operating system options," said Jane Silber, chief operating officer at Canonical, in a statement.

Taking on Windows 7

Indeed, the desktop launch follows Apple's latest operating system Snow Leopard, and comes just a week after Microsoft released Windows 7.

In a conference call, Canonical head Mark Shuttleworth called Windows 7 an "excellent release."

"I am delighted that Windows 7 is out. Now that Windows 7 is out, we can compete head to head," he added.

"The Linux desktop experience keeps getting better and better, and the Windows experience keeps getting more and more expensive for a set of features. I think we can compete," Shuttleworth said.

Server gets cloudy

The 9.10 Server Edition upgrades include tweaks to the kernel, the addition of MySQL 5.1 and new director and sign on tools, as well better support for virtualisation.

It will include a fully supported version of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, an open source cloud environment based on Amazon EC2's APIs.

The Ubuntu release will also be available on Amazon EC2's environment as a machine image. The compatibility between the two should make it easier for businesses to run a cloud of their own.

Canonical said that its new appliance store for the UEC will be previewed in the server edition, so users can see how they'll be able to get appliances easily in the future.

"We strongly believe that businesses which are already embracing virtualised environments will take the next logical step to these self-service, super-efficient architectures and that Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud will be at the heart of that effort," Matt Zimmerman, chief technology officer of Canonical, said in a statement.

Both the desktop and server edition will be available as a free download on 29 October. Canonical said earlier this week that it planned to cap how many free Ubuntu CDs it would be sending out.