Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Linux Distribution Releases to Watch in 2011
Linux Distribution Releases to Watch in 2011
by Jason Brooks
Ubuntu 11.04: Natty Narwhal
Ubuntu, one of the Linux world's most popular distributions, is set to make waves with its 14th release, the nautically-named Natty Narwhal. Ubuntu 11.04 will sport a new default user interface, representing a break from the GNOME user interface that's driven this Linux flavor's UI up until now. Expected release date: 2011-04-28.
With its elder sibling, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, safely out the door, Fedora 15, code-named Lovelock, will offer Red Hat developers a chance to push ahead with new developments. Among the changes discussed so far is a new network device naming convention that should make devices easier to identify at the cost of breaking certain legacy scripts. Expected release date: 2011-05-10.
Many in the Linux community are wondering what the pending sale of Novell to Attachmate will mean for SUSE Linux, and for the community-oriented openSUSE project, so the upcoming release of openSUSE 11.4 will be closely watched. I'll be paying attention to the project's proposed Tumbleweed and Evergreen initiatives, which are intended, respectively, to add rolling update and long-term support editions to the distribution. Expected release date: 2011-05-10.
We closed out the year with a new release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, version 6, so a new release of CentOS can't be far behind. The fees that Red Hat charges for its support contracts may be worth the money, but when it comes to spinning up an OS instance for testing, I value the entitlement/activation free status of CentOS. Expected release: imminent.
Debian GNU/Linux, the popular noncommercial Linux distribution that forms the foundation of Ubuntu, is nearing its first new release since 2009's "Lenny" version hit FTP mirrors. The new release, named "Squeeze," will ship without proprietary firmware in its default kernel. Expected release date: 2011-02-06.
In December, Google demonstrated and began a limited pilot of hardware running ChromeOS, a Web-centric OS based on Linux and on Google's Chrome Web browser. Google's bid to produce an OS that puts the Web front and center is intriguing in its own right, but we're interested to see how ChromeOS meshes with Google's other Linux-based OS. Expected release date: mid-2011.
Google has released a preview of the software-development kit for version 3.0 of its mobile, Linux-based OS, Android, with devices running the OS expected to begin shipping in February or March. The new release, code-named Honeycomb, will be oriented toward tablet devices, and has raised concerns that Google may exacerbate perceived platform-fragmentation issues with separate smartphone and tablet forks. Expected release date: February or March, 2011.
MeeGo, the Linux-based mobile operating system platform born out of a merger of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo, has a scheduled April release that's set to include a complete handset device profile, with support for additional device usage models. Expected release date: April 2011.