It's almost that time everyone. The tenth month of the year can only mean one thing with respect to Linux - the next Ubuntu release. In this case that release is 10.10, or Maverick Meerkat. This is the second release in the latest LTS (Long Term Support) release and ut promises to bring an even better, more user-friendly experience than 10.04 did.
In this article I am going to give you a bit of a sneak peak at what 10.10 will have to offer. And even though the software I am showing you is in beta the feature freeze is already in place, so what you see in beta is what you will have when it is released (only with fewer bugs). So sit back, grab a cup of caffeine, and enjoy the read.
Nice install surprise
One big change you will see is during the installation. Early on in the process (before anything is install) you are given the option to update Ubuntu 10.10 DURING installation! As you can see (in Figure 1), all you have to do is check the box to Download Updates While Installing. Although this will extend the time it takes for installation, it will give you a completely updated system when finished. This is especially good for new users who assume their operating system should be as up to date as possible when the installation is complete.
Yes there is a minor change in the splash screen. But what is really amazing about 10.10 is Ubuntu has FINALLY managed the 10 second boot up time. I've timed the boot up of a fresh installation three times in a VirtualBox environment and the longest time was 10.46 seconds. That is from the second after the PC bios posts to having a usable desktop. Impressive.
10.10 != visible change
You shouldn't be surprised that there is little to no visible change to the 10.10. The themes remain the same, the layout remains the same, and the installed application base remains the same.
I have to say that I am quite disappointed that GNOME 3 isn't going to make it to 10.10. I was hoping it would make into LTS but that is not the case. In fact, it looks like GNOME 3 isn't going to hit full release now until 2011. So we'll have to live with GNOME 2.31 (not that that is a bad thing mind you).
An App Store! Really?
Although there is nothing yet to purchase, you will have the ability to purchase third-party, proprietary software from within the Ubuntu Software Center (see Figure 2). Is this the future of Linux? Will Linux developers start charging a small fee for their products? People have grown accustomed to the .99 cent application, thanks to Apple. But are Linux users ready for this? More than likely this will serve as solution for enterprise or business-related software titles. That, in and of itself, would be a big score for Ubuntu (assuming vendors will start selling).
Of course I am leaving out a lot of minor bits and pieces. Nearly every (if not all) applications have been updated and run better and faster. But what you have seen above are the MAJOR changes to the Ubuntu LTS release. This October is going to be an exciting period, once again, for Ubuntu fans. My biggest hope is that third-party vendors will have applications already listed in the Ubuntu Software Center prior to the official release. That would go a long way to validate Linux on the desktop.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.