Ubuntu Linux 12.10 Offered in Desktop, Server Flavors

Ubuntu Linux 12.10 includes innovations such as document search capabilities that allow users to easily find documents whether they are stored on their computers or in the cloud.

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Ubuntu has unveiled the latest Version 12.10 releases of its Linux operating system for desktop computers and for servers. The new Ubuntu 12.10 and Ubuntu Server 12.10 editions are available for immediate download as of Oct. 18.

Both versions bring new capabilities for users to better link their data that's stored on their physical machines and in the cloud, making it easier to find and access information as needed, according to Canonical, the company behind the ongoing Ubuntu Linux project.

Those kinds of features are aimed at making it easier for Ubuntu users to bring their desktop and cloud-based computing needs together in one place as they continue to access their content from a variety of devices, wherever the data is stored.

If a user is searching for documents in the Ubuntu 12.10 Dash, they will be able to see results from online services like Google Drive, as well as files saved on their hard drives. At the same time, the "online accounts" feature allows authentication to online sites so that content including photos from Flickr accounts and contacts from Facebook can all be searched instantly by the Ubuntu "dash," or dashboard. Paid and free content from Amazon and the Ubuntu One Music Store can also be accessed using the dash.

Among the other key new features of Ubuntu 12.10 are:

  • A new Web Apps feature that makes frequently used Web-based applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, eBay and Gmail available through the desktop, without the user needing to launch a browser separately, according to Ubuntu.
  • The new "previews" feature gives large previews of content as it appears in the "dash" search results, giving users a quick way to get more information to help find what they are looking for, according to Ubuntu. The preview feature lets a user see a glimpse of what they are looking for without yet committing to opening another application or going to another document.
  • The integration of the Ubuntu One personal cloud service, which is also now available as a native app on Mac OS-X (in Beta), Windows, iOS and Android. Ubuntu One provides 5GB of free storage for user content.
  • A new remote log-in option to give users the ability to log into a virtualized Citrix, VMware or Microsoft instance. That gives Ubuntu 12.10 the ability to be used as a thin client by businesses that want to run virtual desktops, according to Ubuntu.

"Ubuntu 12.10 is the operating system for the multi-device era," said Jane Silber, Canonical's CEO, in a statement. "It makes life significantly easier for users by adapting Ubuntu to the way people really access their content today: online and on the hard drive, at work and at home, on the phone and, of course, on the PC."

The Ubuntu 12.10 Server edition continues to include OpenStack, and adds deployment and management tools to make it easier for corporate IT teams to deploy distributed applications on the cloud or in data centers. New components in the latest version include Cinder, for block storage and Quantum, a virtual networking API.

Other new enterprise features in the server version include:

  • Support for Intel’s new Open Attestation (OAT) in an OpenStack environment, which uses a crypto key to authenticate cloud images to maintain tight security controls.
  • Native support for Juju, Ubuntu’s service orchestration tool, with OpenStack clouds running on Ubuntu. Juju can also be used for easier migration from cloud to cloud on public clouds powered by Ubuntu.
  • Updates for Ubuntu’s metal as a service (MaaS) bare-metal provisioning tool, which now supports Calxeda hyperscale hardware based on ARM.

“Enterprises shifting to cloud-based infrastructure and those testing and developing on clouds need the latest, cutting-edge technologies to deliver performance at little effort and cost,” said Silber.

Jono Bacon, the community manager for Ubuntu Linux, recently spoke to eWEEK about the state of open-source software in 2012 and why participation in open-source communities should be taken even more seriously by enterprises.