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Ubuntu 10.10 Linux Released To Beta

Distribution, codenamed Maverick Meerkat, speeds boot time, enhances cloud integration.

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Canonical and the Ubuntu team yesterday released the latest version of its Linux distribution, formerly codenamed Maverick Meerkat, to beta, with a release candidate expected in October.

Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop Edition and Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition deliver faster boot speeds, improved start-up times, and a smoother, more streamlined boot experience, according to Ubuntu and Canonical.

Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition features enhanced integration of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud through its install-time cloud setup, Ubuntu said. In addition, the latest server version brings "the power and stability of the Ubuntu Server Edition to cloud computing, whether you're using Amazon EC2 or your own Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud," said Robbie Williamson, engineering manager at Canonical, in a statement.

The server beta's new features include pluggable hooks, ebsmount, et4 support, and new stanzas in the cloud-configuration format, Ubuntu said. By using Amazon's pv-grub, cloud image instances now can manage their own kernel and also upgrade kernels, the company said.

Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop's GNOME base platform has been updated to the current 2.31 versions, including the new dconf and gsettings API. Also, developers upgraded Evolution to the 2.30.2 version, which operates much faster than the version included in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Williamson said. Instead of F-Spot, Shotwell now is the default photo manager.

Also, the team updated Gwibber to support Twitter's recent authentication system changes, and altered the backend storage to improve performance, he said. Ubuntu Desktop 10.10 includes an enhanced Sound Indicator that now has music player controls. The technology even looks different, due to its new themes, icons, and wallpaper. Likewise, the Ubuntu Software Center has a different appearance, and now offers "Featured" and "What's New" views for showcasing applications, as well as an improved package description view, Williamson said.

"The new Unity interface is now the default in Ubuntu Netbook Edition. It includes the global menu bar. The date/time indicator now has a real calendar widget," he said.

Developers also released Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Mythbuntu to beta.

In Kubuntu, the desktop and netbook images have been merged into one, and the standard web browser is now Rekonq, a Qt Webkit-based KDE browser. The default Bluetooth stack is Bluedevil and Pulseaudio is the default sound server. The Xubuntu beta includes Xfce4 4.6.2, and new default applications such as Parole for the Xfce4 Media Player, Xfburn as the CD/DVD burning tool, and Xfce4-taskmanager for process-managing.

Edubuntu now includes Gnome Nanny for parental controls, as well as a new wallpaper and OEM install mode. For its part, Ubuntu Studio -- which provides improved integration between Pulse Audio and JACK -- also allows administrators to configure network connections with gnome-network-admin. Finally, Mythbuntu's latest iteration has been updated to MythTV 0.23.1 and includes a new backup and restore tool.

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