New version of popular Linux distro gains cloud features

Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’ due Sunday

the next version of Ubuntu, code-named ‘Maverick Meerkat’, will be released this Sunday, Canonical has announced.

The British open source developer showed off a release candidate last week which provided a first look at a raft of new features aimed at enticing new users from main stream desktop computing such as the introduction of the new Ubuntu One music client intended to compete with iTunes.

Also receiving an update in the new version is the Ubuntu Software Center which serves as something similar to the iTunes App Store or Android Marketplace, essentially a one-click interface to install new software.

Ubuntu 10.10 cleans up the interface and adds displays showing which packages have been installed and updated etc but most of all the new version adds the capability of developers to provider commercial software in addition to the huge database of free Linux applications.

Canonical is expanding the cloud-based functionality of the Ubuntu One serves where the free version continues to offer file sharing and bookmark/sttings syncing and 2GB of storage but now there’s additional clients on other platforms such as Windows and Android smartphones.

The $40 a year Ubuntu One Mobile service will offer dedicated iPhone and Android applications to provide additional connectivity between desktop systems and smartphones including the ability to stream music from Ubuntu One.

The Netbook Edition of Ubuntu will also offer a new user interface called ‘Unity’ designed to extract the best use of the narrow screens typically fitted on netbooks while also incorporating touch screen capability announced just a few months ago. Unity and the touch interface has revived the potential to target Ubuntu at tablet computers.

Launching Ubuntu 10.10 on the date of the 10/10/10 date is thought of as particularly auspicius for the next great hope for Linux adoption in mainstream computing, not the least because the number spells out 42 in binary.

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat will be available for download on Sunday while existing users of Ubuntu will be able to automatically upgrade their systems to the new version.

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