Canonical will make its much anticipated Ubuntu 9.04 upgrade available for download on Thursday.
The platform --which includes a desktop, server and netbook edition -- offers faster bootups (as fast as 25 seconds, its developers say), cloud support, OpenOffice 3.0, support for Skype and Adobe Flash, enhanced suspend and resume capabilities and faster switching between WiFi and 3G.
The 9.04 edition was launched to the market on Monday but was promised to be available for download on April 23.
Unlike other Linux distros, Ubuntu rose to fame on the desktop. The new 9.04 desktop offers faster bootup times, enhanced suspend and resume features such as more time between charging and immediate access after hibernation. It also offers intelligent switching between WiFi and 3G networks, a new notification system and OpenOffice 3.0, the most advanced Microsoft Office compatible open source office suite.
Ubuntu is also increasingly popular on netbooks. The special purpose Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix also features a specialized web focused interface and the ability to download to a USB drive directly from Ubuntu.com. The software has been tested on Dell's Inspiron Mini 9, Acer Aspire One and Asus eee PC 1000, Canonical said.
The server edition makes common tasks more efficient, enhances virtualization, and introduces a significant new facility that enables companies to build their own clouds inside the firewall.
This is from the company's own web site: Ubuntu Server Edition enables businesses to deploy and manage their common workloads – web, print, file, database and mail servers – more efficiently. Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition integrates the latest, stable Open Source applications from across the community, packaged and ready for users to deploy. New enhancements include improved virtualization with the latest KVM features, clustering support in Samba file server and easier mail server setup with out-of-the-box Dovecot-Postfix integration.
But cloud support is no doubt the showstopper. Shuttleworth said the cloud support makes Ubuntu unique among all the Linux distributions.
From the website:
"Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition will preview Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). Ubuntu is the first commercially-supported distribution to enable businesses to build cloud environments inside their firewalls. With Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition, organisations can explore the benefits of cloud computing without the data or security issues associated with moving data to an external cloud provider. Following a successful beta programme last year, Ubuntu Server Edition 9.04 will also be fully available on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution got its base on the consumer side but has quickly enlisted business and corporate support. Yet, company founder Mark Shuttleworth said he does not compete directly against Red Hat.
"We don't seem to go head to head," he said duirng a press conference announcing the upgrade on Monday. "We're focused on particular solutions or categories where Linux hasn't been established."