The Ubuntu Linux project has just released a major update to its highly popular Linux OS. Ubuntu Version 8.10 boasts a 2.6.27 Linux kernel, GNOME 2.24 desktop environment, and X.Org 7.4. Although I’ve been a staunch KDE advocate over the years, this slick new release is strongly tempting me to convert to Ubuntu!
Here’s a summary of the key changes in version 8.10 from the previous version 8.04, as listed by the project:
- 3G wireless support — Improvements to Ubuntu’s network manager make it simple to detect and connect to 3G networks and manage connectivity, using built-in 3G modems, through external “dongles,” mobile phones, or via Bluetooth. Ubuntu 8.10 simplifies this complex environment through a single interface and the auto-detection of many of the most popular devices.
- Write Ubuntu to — and install from — a USB Drive — To date, Ubuntu has been made available to users as an image for CDs and DVDs. A simple application in Ubuntu 8.10 lets users write Ubuntu to a USB drive, even a modified version of Ubuntu with their data on it, so it can be carried everywhere to plug in and use on any machine.
- Guest sessions — In today’s world of “always on” pervasive computing, it’s increasingly common for users to let colleagues or friends use their mobile computers to check email, look up something on the Web, etc. Using Ubuntu 8.10’s “guest session” feature, a session can be locked down so that a guest can use the full system without interfering with programs or data.
- BBC content — Starting the media players (Totem Movie Player and Rhythmbox) in Ubuntu 8.10 launches a menu of free, continually updated BBC content. This is a mixture of video, radio, and podcasts and available in high quality, much of it playable using non-proprietary codecs.
- Latest Gnome desktop environment — Ubuntu 8.10 incorporates the latest release from the GNOME desktop environment, version 2.24. New features include a new instant messaging client, a built-in time tracker, improved file management and toolbars, plus better support for multiple monitor use with the ability to set screen resolution by monitor.
Ubuntu 8.10 also includes version 7.4 of X.Org. This latest stable version of the open-source X Window System, provides improved support for hot-pluggable input devices such as tablets, keyboards, and mice, and to enable “the great majority of users to run without a /etc/X11/xorg.conf file,” according to the Ubuntu.com website.
Ubuntu 8.10 Live CD screenshots
After recently converting a cousin’s two aging Windows 98 PCs (a desktop and a laptop) to a custom Debian/KDE version of Linux, and being unable to find a single book to help him learn to use such a configuration, I’m starting to rethink my stubborn insistence on pairing KDE with Ubuntu.
Combining this concern with the sorry state of KDE 4, the default desktop environment in Kubuntu 8.10 (also released this week), I’m surprising myself by contemplating the idea of upgrading the Black Tower (my desktop workstation) to Ubuntu — rather than Kubuntu — 8.10.
|POST SCRIPT: I’VE DONE IT!|
|I’ve gone ahead and replaced KDE-based Kubuntu 8.04 with GNOME-based Ubuntu 8.10 on the Black Tower. Read all about it here: