As I noted yesterday, exciting times with two major releases of systems that I love coming out with in days of one another. Yesterday my focus was on WordPress 3.0, today I will turn my attention to Ubuntu. Ubuntu, for those that may not know, is a Linux distribution that has, in my opinion at least, lead the way in making Linux easy to use for the not so technical person. It has done this while still retaining all the things that one expects to find in Linux and comes in several flavors, including several desktop varieties as well as installs that are for servers.
The upcoming release, Ubuntu 10.04 is a Long Term Support (LTS) edition and will replace 8.04 in that role as the newest in that role. It is code-named Lucid Lynx, continue a two letter catching animal descriptor for the release. The long-term support is important, as it will have support on desktop versions for three years and server editions for five (the normal six month releases only have support for a maximum of one year). There have been a lot of new features included in interim editions since 8.04 that are going to be nice to have on a machines that require a longer commitment before taking a chance on a major systems upgrade. My personal situation has several Ubuntu servers running 6.04, which is way back dated and will be heading into ended support soon enough – so this is a going to be a major step forward. I also have a laptop that I have waited a few months to put this version as a dual-boot system and i am more than ready to get Linux on it!
Reality is for the desktop versions there is not much in the offering here. Fundamentally, the biggest two changes are the cleaned up look on the desktop, while given a more integrated and uniform feel and what is being described a dramatic speed boost on boot times. The cleaner and perhaps more consistent look on the desktop will help those users that are kind of on the bubble about moving over to Linux, perhaps? Given the quick boot times already enjoyed compared to competitors both in the Linux world and especially Windows world, I am not sure how much that is going to gain in regards to traction. A nice feature, that is not being mentioned much, is some integration with social media site built into the O/S. Then again, given the quick changing nature of sites such as Facebook and even Digg, I am not sure a pure integration into the O/S is really the way to go, without doing more of a ‘plugin’ kind of approach. Of course, having said there is not much, keep in mind all the major updates since the last LTS version – which will now have LTS going forward. Most of those made leaps and bounds in the process of getting Ubuntu even more user-friendly and supporting most things the typical web user wants in an O/S off the bat as well as support for all the new hardware that available out there now.
The big news of course is on the server-side of the 10.04 release. Offered in this version as the major update is the cloud support built right into the system. I have only read a bit about it and I am a bit unsure of how this is really going to work in the long run, but there is support for both an external (true web) cloud as well as an enterprise cloud – which I am most excited about seeing. I am curious to see what is going to go on with it. But going back to some of the previous versions that will not be LTS included is also server virtualization support as well as the ability set up a terminal server. Those combined with all the features that can on without limit in listing them make it well worthy of consideration for a number of projects.
Also consider that all these can be had for no license charge. Compare a simple thing such as a set up of a SQL server, running a web service. Windows will run upwards of $700 per processor for the server and another similar amount for the SQL server. Apple servers (why?) will be even more and requires special Apple hardware that cost 2x as much to begin. Ad on a mail server and you got another 2K easy in Exchange and that has no backup services at that point either. Consider that you can get all of that for no charge if you go with Ubuntu and why would you go anywhere else? Now granted, if you need support from Canacial, you will have to pay, but the same is true with Microsoft for the record and Apple’s support costs will give you nose bleeds it is so high.
All in all, a great time to be in IT with these kinds of tools becoming available and more fulling meeting the needs of the users and admins looking to deploy such tools. Especially with the continued tight economy and constant budget flatline that IT departments have been subjected to in the last couple of years, not to mention the flat home budgets, these products may very well be for you, either at the office or the home-office.