Canonical has announced that its Ubuntu 10.10 release -- formerly known as Maverick Meerkat -- will be available for download this Sunday, Oct 10.
The chief improvement of the Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition is the new "Unity" user interface, which is optimized for smaller netbook screens and mobile computing.
The Unity UI offers limited support for touch and a host of new, sleek, larger fonts. Users can, for instance, launch applications from the left bar, display tabs and maximize and minimize applications from touch capable laptops running Ubuntu 10.10.
The chief improvement of the desktop edition -- which is also available in the netbook edition -- is the extension of Ubuntu One personal cloud service to synchronize with Windows PCs and (for Google Android and Apple iPhone devices for an additional cost).
Ubuntu One file sharing service allows consumers with multiple devices to synchronize their content up to the cloud and access content from the desktop. That's been updated to support Windows and mobile devices.
Ubuntu One Basic, which is available free of charge, offers users a personal cloud for sharing and synchronizing files, contacts, bookmarks and notes, 2 GB of storage and now, with the 10.10 release, access to music from the integrated store and a beta client for Windows to allow end users to integrate their Windows and Ubuntu worlds.
This will help users experiment with desktop Linux and also ease the Windows-to-Ubuntu migration process, the company said.
The paid Ubuntu One Mobile service now supports Android mobile devices and iPhones. This allows end users to stream music from their personal cloud to their various mobile devices and synchronize contacts.
Ubuntu One Mobile costs $3.99 per month or $39.99 annually. Ubuntu One 20-pack storage costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 annually for each 20GB package, Canonical said.
Finally, the Ubuntu Software Centre now gives users access to commercial applications as well as free, open source software.
The Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition has been updated for the public cloud., with improvements to the setup and configuration of Amazon EC2 images. In the words of Canonical:
"Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition gets kernel upgrades, more configuration options at boot time, and the ability to run the AMI (Amazon Machine Image) off-line on a KVM-virtualised machine. The latter feature means users can test and develop on local servers before pushing to the public cloud - true hybrid cloud computing.
Ubuntu 10.10 extends ‘CloudInit’, a configuration tool that allows users of Ubuntu on the cloud to set a default locale, set the hostname, generate and set up SSH private keys, and set up mount points. Users can also run custom commands and scripts on initial startup or on each reboot. The technology was recently adopted by Amazon itself."
Canonical is working on other server-side cloud features aimed at business users, executives said.