(PhysOrg.com) -- Canonical is releasing Ubuntu 9.10, the Karmic Koala, the latest version of its open-source operating system, and it aims to attract business and enterprise users to join the growing numbers of Linux enthusiasts.
Ubuntu is one of the most popular of the hundreds of Linux distributions, and is renowned for its simplicity of use, and its appeal. Ubuntu was developed by the Linux offshoot Canonical. New supported versions are developed and released every six months, and they are numbered after the year and month of their release. Downloading and upgrading Ubuntu is free.
According to Jane Silber, Canonical's chief operating officer, the latest version of Ubuntu has more user-friendly features and more operating system options. Among the features likely to be of interest to business users is the migration from Add/Remove Software to the Software Center, which will include commercial software for the first time, along with the open source software that has always been available. Another feature is an automatic file/folder synchronization tool similar to DropBox, with a free option offering 2 GB of space, and a paid one with 50 GB for $10 a month.
An addition for software developers is an application called Quickly, which aims to accelerate software development (a bit like a Ruby-on-Rails type application for Ubuntu). Also useful are new utilities such as Palimpsest, a new GNOME utility that simplifies working with hard disks and partitions.
Ubuntu 9.10's improved support of Intel graphics will boost performance for most users, as will the short boot time of just over 10 seconds. As with all Linux systems, Ubuntu offers users with older computers an operating system that works.
If you already have Ubuntu installed, upgrading is easy because it starts automatically and steps you through the process. Not only is the operating system kept up to date, but so is any software you have installed.
If you do not have Ubuntu, you can download it from Ubuntu's website and burn it to CD to create your own installation disk. You can either run Ubuntu from the disk or install it to your hard drive. Installing it alongside Windows is a simple matter with Ubuntu's Wubi application, so you can use it without losing your Windows system. When you boot up, you will have a choice of which operating system to use.
Installing some drivers can be an effort with Linux if they do not automatically install, especially if you are not used to using a command line, and a few peripherals will not work with Linux. A lively Ubuntu community provides help for anyone having difficulties.
The release of Ubuntu 9.10 comes after Microsoft's release last week of its Windows 7 to replace the unpopular Windows Vista. Apple also released a new version of its operating system, Snow Leopard, in August of this year.
Ubuntu was recently brought to prominence when several major PC companies, such as HP, Acer, Toshiba and Dell, offered it as an alternative to Windows on their computers, and with the latest release, it may further increase its market share.
The final, stable version of Ubuntu 9.10 is being released on October 29.
• Official Ubuntu website
• Review: Ubuntu 9.10 v Windows 7
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