Canonical announced April 27 the upcoming release of Desktop and Server editions of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, the Long Term Support version of the popular Linux distribution, as well as "strong ISV and open-source ecosystem support" for the products.
Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu project, said the LTS releases would be available for download on April 29, with the desktop version being preinstalled on a variety of machines in summer 2010. The desktop version "includes three years of support through free security and maintenance updates," the company said. "The desktop edition of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will feature extensive design work, faster boot speed, social network integration, online services and the Ubuntu One Music Store."
"The LTS release comes out every two years; it's our long term support release," Chris Kenyon, vice president of OEM relationships at Canonical, told eWEEK. "10.04 is a really big deal; it's a breakout release for us. Eighteen months ago [former Canonical CEO and current chairman] Mark Shuttleworth threw down the gauntlet and said, let's make a release that's very consumer-oriented, so much so that you would want to put down Mac OS X to use it. This release is very visually stunning. It's the single most exciting release we've ever done."
"Ubuntu 10.04 LTS challenges the perceptions of the Linux desktop, bringing a whole new category of users to the world of Ubuntu," Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, said in a statement. "Changes like the new look and feel and the addition of a music store, layered on top of our relentless focus on delivering an intuitive and attractive user experience for new and existing Ubuntu users-these are the bridging elements to the mainstream market that our community, our partners and our users really want. Long-term support makes Ubuntu 10.04 LTS very attractive to corporate IT as well."
New features in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS include enhanced boot speed and social elements baked into the operating system. "The new 'Me Menu' in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS consolidates the process of accessing and updating social networks including Facebook, Digg, Twitter and Identi.ca. The Me Menu also integrates chat channels so users can talk with friends or colleagues on Google Talk, MSN, IRC [Internet Relay Chat] and nearly every network," the company said.
Meanwhile, the Ubuntu One "enhanced desktop integration for the online service means files and folders can be shared and saved on the cloud more easily. Bookmark and contacts sharing has been added, speeding the move from personal computer to personal computing."
The new version of the OS also features the Ubuntu One Music Store, which brings "music from the world's largest labels and greatest bands ... direct to Ubuntu users through the default music player."
Moreover, the Ubuntu Software Centre 2.0 provides "an easy way to find new software, and keep track of it once it's installed ... Users can also single out software provided by Ubuntu, by Canonical partners or by developers who use Canonical's Launchpad Personal Package Archive (PPA) hosting service."
And with UNE (Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition), in addition to "benefiting from the improvements in the Desktop Edition, netbook users will see even faster boot speeds on SSD-based devices [and] faster suspend/resume that will extend battery life."
Meanwhile, the Ubuntu 10.04 Server Edition "includes extended security and maintenance updates free of charge to all users for five years (versus 18 months for a standard release)," Canonical said in a separate statement. "In addition to the stability of long-term support, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS extends the cloud-computing capability of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, powered by Eucalyptus-a technology that is becoming widely used as a basis for building private and hybrid clouds. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS also includes many major applications and packages added or updated since the previous LTS release, giving new and upgrading users an extended range of applications that can be easily installed at launch"
"IDC's models show Ubuntu accounting for 5 percent share of paid subscriptions and nonpaid deployments of new copies of Linux worldwide in 2009. Underlying that number is a nonpaid share of nearly 6 percent, and a paid share of 4.5 percent, with higher shares in some regions such as the U.S.," Al Gillen, program vice president for System Software at IDC, said in a statement. "We find it impressive for the company to have achieved that level of success in a relatively short time, [in] what is today a relatively mature market."
"Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will also see a larger ecosystem of open-source and proprietary application providers certifying their applications on Ubuntu Server Edition than ever before. Almost 100 organizations have signaled their intent to certify applications on the platform, including Alfresco, Ingres, IBM, VMware, Zimbra, Yahoo and many others, with more expected to follow post-launch," the Canonical announcement said.
"The range of industry, analyst and user support we are seeing for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on server has the makings of a breakout release for this technology," Silber said. "We can consolidate the significant technical advances we've made since the last LTS release onto a stable, secure and long-term supported platform that the industry is gathering around. This is exciting for us, for our partners and most of all for our users and I expect to see Ubuntu adoption accelerate as a core infrastructure layer for volume services and cloud computing in the world's data centers."
"Dell has announced its intention to support Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition and will offer Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud as an option on its PowerEdge-C product line-servers specifically designed for building cloud environments," Canonical said.
"At Dell, we want to provide customers with options and choice," Andy Rhodes, a director in Dell's data center solutions division, said in a statement. "We see Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud as a great potential option for customers interested in building out their cloud capabilities."
New features in the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition include a "direct upgrade path for Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and Ubuntu 9.10 users ... stability and security enhancements for LTS ... multiple added or updated applications and packages since 8.04 LTS available as install options, including CouchDB, Puppet, Eucalyptus, Django 1.1, OpenJDK6 [and] Tomcat 6 ... virtualization enhancements ... Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon EC2 enhancements ... advanced storage capabilities built in ... [and it is] simpler to mass-deploy and manage."
When it is released on April 29, Ubuntu 10.04 "will ship with hundreds of open-source applications available at [installation] with many more open-source and proprietary applications becoming available in the days and weeks following," the company said.
"A strong and varied ISV ecosystem is critical for Ubuntu to thrive and grow both on user's desktops and in the world's data centers," Silber said in a statement. "We expected Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to be popular with existing and prospective software partners, but [the] response is fantastic. Users considering switching to Ubuntu or upgrading to 10.04 LTS will be encouraged by this industry support and reassured that they can use many of their favorite applications on what we are sure will become their favorite operating system."
"Ubuntu's user base continues to grow rapidly and it is important to Adobe that Ubuntu users [be] able to enjoy the full Adobe Flash experience," Anup Murarka, Adobe Systems' director for Technology Strategy and Partner Development for the Flash Platform, said in a statement. "We are working with Ubuntu and other partners to enable certification of Flash Player 10.1 for Linux on the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release, an exciting release for Linux-based desktops and devices."