Today, Canonical will release Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (long term support). I’m usually not so enthusiastic about new Ubuntu releases, but this time is different. They added some sweet features, well, at least for me, which didn’t get proper public relations. This is not a comprehensive review of the new features. It’s about new features I find cool or bad enough writing about, from a desktop user point of view.
First, I must say I love Ubuntu. In each release they turn some of the most annoying tasks (for linux newbies) into trivial and intuitive. It has great documentation, community support and amazing software package repositories. It is also widely supported by third party vendors. Second, they usually add performance boosts and cool new features with new releases. Third, you can order official CDs for free. What’s not to love ?
So, what do we get this time ? As always with ‘LTS’ releases, three years of (bug/security fixes) support. A fresh new beginner’s getting-started manual which looks very promising. Some crap as well: new look and feel and social networks integration. As if it’s that hard to change the look or use all-in-one social networks client…
Performance boosts. First, boot speed improvement. They already made a big leap from 9.04 to 9.10, and now again ? sounds delicious. “Super fast” boot for SSD based machines such as netbooks. Sounds very delicious. Second, faster suspend/resume for your netbook that will “extend battery life”. Excuse me for being skeptical, but come on… improving speeds are always good, but declaring it will save battery ? I don’t buy it.
Ubuntu One enhancements. I never got the deal around Ubuntu One. It suppose to be a personal cloud that keeps your files, notes, bookmarks and contacts on the net, but we already had these services long time ago (for example Gmail’s contacts which can be synced to your mobile, Dropbox file storage, or Delicious bookmarks). Anyway the new enhancements are better desktop integration, and new Music Store. For me, they’re both useless but I guess Canonical deserves it’s chance to fight Apple’s music store, plus, it’s DRM-free.
Software Center 2.0. Supposedly better interface for software installation and maintenance. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it sounds just like a GUI facelift. The underlaying software deployment mechanisms stay the same (apt/ppa repositories).
The sweet features I mentioned in the prologue: inclusion of libimobiledevice in official repositories. This is a software library that supports iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices. Programs built on this library provides filesystem access, music/video sync, internet tethering, apps installation, springboard icon management, gnome integration, and much more ! I’ve no idea how it got such a lousy public relations but for me that’s the real killer app !
EDIT: For now only version 0.9.7 of libimobiledevice is in the repositories. It means that only music sync can be done out of the box. It’s a shame. Two weeks ago, I asked the official maintainer of the packages to make packages for 1.0.0, and I thought he told me it would be included in Lucid release, but I misunderstood him. He actually told me that it’s too close to Lucid’s release for inclusion. I apologize for the (partially) wrong information. Anyhow, one can still build 1.0.0 from sources and use it. If there would be enough demand I would write an How-To guide. Leave a comment or send mail if you’re interested.