I was talking to Doc Searls a few days ago and he told me about Ubuntu, a new Linux distro based on Debian. Ubuntu is the brainchild of Mark Shuttleworth, who probably best known as the guy who bought a ticket on Soyuz. Mark is from South Africa and made his money building and selling Thawte. Mark's also involved in the School Tool program, an open source school administration program.
Ubuntu isn't aimed at the corporate market. Rather, its built for users without the support of an IT department. From the about page:
Ubuntu is a free, open source operating system that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should "Just Work", TM) and a commitment to security updates with 18 months of support for every release. Ubuntu ships with the latest Gnome release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD.
The Ubuntu philosophy addresses some of the common complaints people have about other ditros. Here are a few of the key points:
- Regular release schedule
- Fixed maintenance window for each version (18 months)
Doc points to a few reviews of Ubuntu by Russell Beattie and Tom Adelstein. Both point out that Ubuntu is easy to install and clean. Tom says:
Although I have access to any pricey distribution I want, I have started using Ubuntu as my standard desktop. I installed Skype and several other programs I use regularly. Overall, this distro performs well.
I haven't had a chance to install and play with it myself yet, but I'm intrigued. Ubuntu highlights the really great thing about open source: if you're not happy with the current versions, you're free to make your own.