Ubuntu 12.04 Linux isn't just a very popular end-user Linux, it's also Canonical's Long Term Support (LTS) version. That means, besides Linux distributions' usual constant stream of improvements, it gets updates for business users and the first one is just about here.
Officially, August 23rd will see the first update, Ubuntu 12.04.1, to the operating system. Actually, the Ubuntu update is running a bit late. In any case, here's what you can expect from it.
First, there are no major changes. This is not a Windows style Service Patch (SP) update or Patch Tuesday release. Security patches in Ubuntu, as it tends to be in all Linux distributions, are made as soon as they're available.
According to Canonical, what you will get are “fixes and enhancements translate into a rock-solid, thoroughly tested upgrade path for any enterprise running Ubuntu 10.04, the last LTS release. Users on 10.04 LTS will then receive their first system notifications encouraging them to upgrade to the new LTS release. Consequently, we expect an even bigger shift among enterprise users than we experienced when it was first made available, back in April. Enterprise users can now be completely confident that the upgrade will be fast and free from disruption.”
In addition, Canonical, which started supporting an ARM version of Ubuntu Server with 12.04. In this new release, Canonical has added support for Calxeda SoCs (system on a chip). Ubuntu's developers, as Victor Tuson Palau, Canonical's commercial engineering director, recently explained are big believers in ARM servers finding a role in the datacenter.
Ubuntu is also continuing to strengthen its support for OpenStack as its preferred cloud infrastructure. With 12.04.1, Ubuntu is introducing Ubuntu Cloud Archive, This is an OpenStack online software repository. With it, administrators can download the latest versions of OpenStack without having to migrate away from their chosen LTS release.
As part of this, Ubuntu users will be able to download Folsom, the forthcoming release of OpenStack, and run it within their existing installation of Ubuntu. Folsom is currently set to be released on September 27th.
On the desktop side, Canonical claims “a raft of bug fixes and security updates combine with five years of guaranteed updates and the option of commercial support to make this release an extremely attractive alternative to Windows.” I completely agree with them on that score!
This release will also include all security updates from the Ubuntu Security Notice list (http://www.ubuntu.com/usn/precise/). This includes all patches affecting Ubuntu 12.04 LTS that were released up to and including August 16, 2012. For further fine details on what's been changed see the Ubuntu 12.04.1 release notes.
The Linux company, based out of the Isle of Man, also noted that Ubuntu 12.04.1 is certified on 40 desktops, 98 laptops and 8 netbooks and 41 servers, including 12 of the latest HP Proliant Gen8 servers.” Dell will soon be releasing a high-end developers' laptop just for Ubuntu.
Canonical also pointed out that they “provides commercial support for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS in the form of Ubuntu Advantage, a subscription program that gives enterprise customers the choice of two levels of support and access to the time-saving systems management tool, Landscape, which includes audit, compliance and ongoing management features for large Ubuntu deployments.”
While Ubuntu 12.04.1 is meant primarily for businesses, casual users will also get at least one major advantage from it. Once released, you can download this version and use it to install Ubuntu with all the latest updates on new PCs. In the recent past when you did this, you had to install Ubuntu 12.04 and then update it with 500MBs or so of updates since Ubuntu 12.04's April release. With this edition, you'll spend less time getting your new PC up and running the most up-to-date version of Ubuntu.