Ubuntu 9.10 takes fight to Windows 7
Canonical has released Ubuntu 9.10, as the company issues its first response to Windows 7.
Codenamed Karmic Koala, the update brings a raft of tweaks to the high-profile Linux operating system.
Perhaps most significant is the Software Store application, which presents the wealth of free open-source software for Ubuntu in an app store format – hopefully making it easier for new users of the OS to understand what’s on offer.
As it stands the Software Store is little more than a dressed up add/remove panel, however, Canonical is grooming the Software Store to ultimately replace the Synaptic package manager “and possibly Update Manager”, and its introduction to the release marks a major step in its development.
Also included in the release is Canonical’s file synchronisation service, Ubuntu One. The service works in much the same way as Live Mesh and Dropbox by allowing people to synchronise 2GB of data for free between multiple machines. However, unlike those service it also allows people to sync their calenders and contacts.
Canonical has set a goal of getting Ubuntu 10.04 to boot in under ten seconds when its released in 2010, and while Koala is still well off that target – with average boots around 30 seconds – it’s still nippy enough to see the back of the boot splash screen.
Koala’s the first Ubuntu release to employ the ext4 filesystem by default. Ubuntu 9.04 included support for the file system, but the team felt it needed more time to bake before being push front and centre. Ext4 should bring some noticable performance improvements, especially when pushing around large amounts of data.
The software front brings evolution rather than revolution, with the latest versions of Firefox 3.5 and OpenOffice included by default. Ubuntu has also finally shipped out the Pidgin instant messaging client for Empathy. The latter is built on Telepathy and brings video-chat and VOIP support to the opearting system.