Ubuntu 13.10 desktop OS goes on general release


Software developer Canonical has released an update for its Ubuntu desktop operating system, designed to pave the way for an OS that can be used across mobile and server platforms.

Ubuntu 13.10 is available to download now, although the firm has been quick to stress the release is not a "consumer-ready" offering and will only be supported for nine months.

Instead, Canonical claims the software is aimed at OEMs, carriers and silicon vendors that may be planning to integrate the Ubuntu OS into their forthcoming hardware releases.

"Canonical is working with partners to bring Ubuntu smartphone devices to market in 2014. The desktop version of Ubuntu 13.10 reflects much of that progress, with scopes that organise home, apps, video content, lower device memory and graphics requirements and substantial improvements in battery and memory efficiency," the company said in a statement.

In the latest release, the software's Dash search interface has undergone a number of enhancements to make it easier for users to customise the search experience and trawl through results.

It also includes a new Friends Scope feature, which is designed to improve users' access to their social media accounts.

Rick Spencer, head of Ubuntu's consumer-facing engineering team, described Ubuntu 13.10 as a "full server-grade OS".

"The exact same Ubuntu OS runs on ARM phones and modern HP Moonshot ARM servers, and provides exactly the same capability as x86 platforms," said Spencer.

"Ubuntu 13.10 is a full server-grade OS that offers a mobile experience and is lean enough to support mobile devices, kicking off a new era in mobile security and computing convergence."

The OS reportedly features a wide array of apps created by the Ubuntu developer community, and also comes with a full Software Developer Kit for people that might want to have a bash at making their own.

Mark Shuttleworth, found of Ubuntu and Canonical, said: "Thanks to our passionate community of early adopters and designers we've built a unique experience for end users and for developers: one UI framework that scales across all the personal computing form factors."

As reported by our sister site Cloud Pro last week, Canonical also recently took the wraps off its Ubuntu Server 13.10 offering, which also goes on general release today.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.