Ubuntu, the remarkably popular desktop Linux distribution that tries to bring the latest and greatest open-source programs every six months, arrived Oct. 18. The Gutsy Gibbon Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop Edition includes improvements in advanced plug-and-play printing, enhanced browsing and the option of a smooth new user interface built on top of the new GNOME 2.20 desktop.
The distribution, based on Desktop Linuxs survey of Ubuntus download sites and mirrors, seems to be, as of 11 a.m. EDT, available on all sites. Just because a site has the new release doesnt mean youll be able to download it. We found that about half the sites were already at maximum capacity and not allowing any more users.
Users can also download Ubuntu 7.10 via BitTorrent. In these early hours, we found that the Ubuntu Torrents are not especially fast. We were seeing speeds in the 10 to 20 Kbps (kilobits per second) range. This was due to the relatively small number of seeds—BitTorrent sites with the full distribution—compared to the much larger number of peers.
The latest version of Ubuntu includes numerous new features. In particular, its hardware support has been improved. Besides better plug-and-play configuration for printers, the new Ubuntu includes automatic firmware installation for Broadcom Wi-Fi cards.
Laptop users will also be pleased to see improved support for display systems. With Gutsy Gibbon, full external VGA (projector) support is available out of the box, with easy reconfiguration when hardware is switched. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical CEO and Ubuntus founder, believes that Ubuntu 7.10 now offers the best VGA out support for laptops of any Linux distribution.