Expanding its efforts to bring Linux to the desktop, Canonical on Thursday is announcing upcoming availability of upgrades to Ubuntu Linux for desktop computers and netbooks, featuring interface and application installation improvements.
The server version of the Ubuntu will be upgraded as well, with features tuned for cloud computing.
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On Sunday, which happens to be October 10, or 10.10, the company will offer for download Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop, Netbook, and Server editions.
Canonical views its desktop Linux as a competitor to Microsoft Windows; the company cites 12 million desktops using Ubuntu Linux.
"We're the market-leading Linux desktop," said Steve George, Canonical vice president of business development.
The Netbook variant features a desktop interface called "Unity" that is tuned for smaller screens. Unity includes buttons on the interface for launching of applications and finding files and folders.
"Basically, [version 10.10] is optimized to make using Ubuntu on a netbook much easier and cleaner," George said.
Also, version 10.10 of the Desktop and Netbook editions supports basic multi-touch capabilities, covering main windows interactions. The company plans with future releases to extend multi-touch to cover applications.
The Desktop edition focuses on software installation.
"The main that's new in the desktop edition is that we've worked to make it easier to find and explore and install Ubuntu software," such as browsers, the OpenOffice applications suite, and Skype, said George.
Canonical also is expanding services for its Ubuntu One "personal cloud" with its Desktop Edition upgrade, offering performance enhancements and interoperability with such other systems as Google Android, Apple iPhone, and Microsoft Windows. The basic implementation of Ubuntu One provides a cloud for sharing and syncing files, contacts, bookmarks and notes, with 2GB of storage.
With Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition, Canonical said it is making it easier to configure and run the operating system in development and deployment environments of public clouds.
"We are adding features and functions that extend our lead in the public cloud and bridge the gap to hybrid and local computing environments. The infrastructure layer is the enabler of cloud computing and Ubuntu 10.10 is leading the way to put open source at the heart of those efforts," said Neil Levine, vice president of corporate services at Canonical, in a statement released by the company.
Version 10.10 features kernel upgrades, more configuration options at boot time, and the ability to run the Amazon Machine Image off-line on a KVM-virtualized machine. This capability enables users to test and develop on local servers before pushing to a public cloud, Canonical said.
Also, the Cloudlnit configuration tool has been extended, enabling users to set a default locale on a cloud along with designating hostname and generating SSH private keys. Meanwhile, administrators gain a new interface with the release, offering eased deployment and the ability to run the OS from a USB stick.
The company also is launching its Ubuntu Server on Cloud 10 program, enabling users to try out Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud for free for one hour.
This article, "Ubuntu Linux upgraded for netbooks, desktops, and servers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter.