The past three releases of Ubuntu Linux have included unreleased ATI Catalyst drivers. It started with Ubuntu 8.10, which got an early-access driver as the official Catalyst Linux driver that was available to the public at the time had not supported X Server 1.5. With Ubuntu 9.04, AMD was running behind at supporting X Server 1.6 as found in the Jaunty Jackalope, so it too received an early ATI driver. Ubuntu 9.10 also received an early Catalyst for Linux driver more than a month in advance to provide compatibility with the Linux 2.6.31 kernel. It looks like this will happen a fourth time with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx" running with the X.Org Server 1.7.x series, which isn't yet supported by the Catalyst driver even though it was released back in October.
Ubuntu 10.04 may be just around the corner and it will be a Long-Term Support (LTS) release, which means it will be supported longer on desktops and servers than normal releases, but Canonical still has contractual obligations to continue supporting the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS release too. Canonical is supporting the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS "Hardy Heron" on desktops until 2011 and server installations will continue to receive love until 2013. As the final maintenance release where they re-spin the various 32-bit and 64-bit ISOs, Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS has been released.
Canonical's Rick Spencer has written about two small changes that are happening to Mozilla Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04. The first is the default Ubuntu home-page with its search box in Firefox will now follow whatever the user has set as their default search engine in Firefox. The second change is that Canonical is changing the default search engine for Firefox in Ubuntu to Yahoo.
Canonical's Jos Boumans has sent out an e-mail on the Ubuntu development mailing list to outline some of the new plans going forward for Ubuntu Server with the 10.04 release. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Alpha 2 came out just nine days ago, but Jos is hoping to incorporate these new Ubuntu Server changes prior to the Alpha 3 release that is scheduled for the end of February.
Canonical's Tim Gardner is seeking comments regarding a new build of Ubuntu Server that he is proposing. Canonical is considering another build of Ubuntu Server (there is already Ubuntu Server 32-bit and 64-bit along with specialized builds for cloud computing with Amazon EC2 and UEC), but this one would be specialized for just 64-bit platforms that have low-latency requirements and on power consumptive systems. This new build would be tuned for tasks like Asterisk that have low-latency requirements and where the current Ubuntu Server builds may not be sufficient. Though from the initial RFC, it may just end up being an alternate kernel that can be selected during the installation process of Ubuntu Server.
While we knew it was coming, this afternoon Canonical and the Ubuntu development community have announced the release of Lucid Lynx Alpha 2, or more easily known as Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Alpha 2. This second alpha release of Ubuntu 10.04 delivers on Plymouth integration, the likewise-open package for Active Directory authentication has received a major upgrade, KDE 4.4 RC1, Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud improvements, and many other improvements to this popular Linux distribution.
A month ago we wrote about Plymouth getting pulled into Ubuntu 10.04 LTS after Canonical ended up flip-flopping on their decision to use this Red Hat created splash program that leverages kernel mode-setting to provide a pleasant and flicker-free boot experience while being highly customizable and extensible. After the Plymouth packages got pulled into Ubuntu 10.04 LTS we also provided a video that showed it running on the "Lucid Lynx", but it was pretty boring with just a static Ubuntu logo and at the time some warning messages bled into the background.
While it's not too difficult to get your own package within Ubuntu's universe repository, it's more difficult to get a Debian package promoted to be within Ubuntu main, or the main repository that is officially supported by Canonical. However, the Ubuntu development community has decided to make that process a bit easier by eliminating some of the hurdles imposed when a package is initially rejected from being pushed into the main repository. Clarifying main package concerns used to require writing lengthy Wiki page entries, but now it's much more concise, simpler, and should be easier on everyone involved in the process.
Mark Shuttleworth has just announced this morning via a blog post that he will be stepping down as the CEO of Canonical, the formal company behind Ubuntu Linux. Jane Silber, the current COO of Canonical, will be taking over Mark's position as the CEO.
A few days back we shared Plymouth is coming to Ubuntu 10.04 after this wonderful Red Hat creation was proposed to replace USplash last year, set to be integrated for Ubuntu 9.10, and then later dropped on the basis of improving Ubuntu's boot-time instead. The Plymouth graphical boot splash program that leverages kernel mode-setting is here for good with Ubuntu 10.04, but right at the moment in the daily builds of Lucid is not on there by default.
Plymouth is a Red Hat innovation that came around last year to provide a new, attractive boot graphical splash screen that went on to replace RHGB (Red Hat Graphical Boot) in Fedora 10. We have extensively talked about Plymouth as its interesting and provides a very clean boot interface thanks to it leveraging kernel mode-setting to offer a flicker-free experience and then providing tight integration with GDM and the X Server. Mandriva also ended up adopting Plymouth for use in its distribution.
Just as planned, the first alpha release for Ubuntu 10.04 (the "Lucid Lynx") has arrived. Ubuntu 10.04 Alpha 1 is running with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, X Server 1.7, GNOME 2.29.3, KDE Software Compilation 4.4 Beta 1, and many other package upgrades since the release of Ubuntu 9.10 back in October.
Just in time for the Alpha 1 release of Ubuntu 10.04, X.Org 7.5 with X Server 1.7 has been pulled into the Lucid Lynx package repository. With this push of new X.Org 7.5 packages comes a number of other upstream X package updates along with rebuilds of the other non-updated drivers so that they will work against this latest stable X Server.
The Ubuntu kernel team has written a message on the Ubuntu announcement mailing list in which they lay out the kernel summary for Ubuntu Lucid. In this message the kernel team confirms that Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (the "Lucid Lynx") will indeed be shipping with the just-released Linux 2.6.32 kernel. By the time Ubuntu 10.04 rolls around in April, the Linux 2.6.33 kernel will have been released and the Linux 2.6.34 kernel will be in development, but the Ubuntu developers have decided to stick it out with the 2.6.32 kernel for a maximum stabilization period, especially since this is a Long-Term Support release.
A week ago we found out that Nouveau would be pulled into Ubuntu 10.04 as the default NVIDIA graphics driver replacing the current open-source NVIDIA driver mess that is known as xf86-video-nv. The Nouveau driver stack isn't stable or officially released yet, but the 2D portion is in good standing and the 3D portion written to use Gallium3D is progressing (recent status update). The Nouveau driver has been used by default in two Fedora releases, but on the Ubuntu side it will be the default starting with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx", including the DRM / kernel mode-setting bits.
Started during the Ubuntu 9.10 development cycle was an Ubuntu project to address paper cuts in Ubuntu, or rather small usability bugs in Ubuntu and the Linux desktop that are often only minor impairments or annoyances, but these easy-to-fix issues have never been heavily targeted for correction. These "paper cuts" are often spotted by new Linux users but frequently go unnoticed to those that have been using the Linux desktop for a while and are accustomed to its shortcomings. Most of the 100 paper cuts targeted for Ubuntu 9.10 were addressed (the official count seems to be at 76), but this project is going to live on with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.
Canonical's Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (codenamed Lucid Lynx) is taking place this week in Texas, but happening right now on the Ubuntu-X mailing list is a discussion about what the X.Org plans are for Ubuntu Lucid.
Just as planned, Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" has been officially released this morning. Additionally, 9.10 Karmic releases of Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, and Ubuntu Studio are also available. The Ubuntu 9.10 Server build also sports support for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon EC2 support. Furthermore, another flavor of Ubuntu 9.10 that is also available is Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix with its many improvements.
With one week to go until the official release of Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala", Canonical has announced the release candidate of this forthcoming Linux distribution update. Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Mythbuntu have all reached Ubuntu 9.10 RC status as well.
Ubuntu 9.04 was released back in April while the next release, Ubuntu 9.10, will be out in less than three weeks. However, only recently has Dell been getting around to rolling out their Linux desktops, netbooks, and notebooks with an Ubuntu 9.04 installation option rather than Ubuntu 8.10. Besides switching out the base operating system to Ubuntu 9.04, Dell's Linux engineers also took this time to make a few other changes to their "Dellbuntu" stack.
Ubuntu 9.10 (the "Karmic Koala") will be officially released later this month along with the other distributions in the Ubuntu family, but coming out of the Canonical camp yesterday was the beta releases for these Ubuntu-based Linux operating systems.
With the current Ubuntu 9.10 release cycle that we are currently going through, like most earlier releases, there were six alpha releases followed by one beta and a release candidate before going gold. However, with Ubuntu 10.04 -- the next release that will bear Canonical's Long Term Support and is codenamed the Lucid Lynx -- this will not be the case.
Mark Shuttleworth has announced at the Atlanta Linux Fest that the next major Ubuntu release following Ubuntu 9.10 (the Karmic Koala) will be codenamed the Lucid Lynx. Ubuntu 10.04 will be the official name and with their bi-annual scheduling, this release will also serve as a Long Term Support (LTS) version.
For those of you wanting to test out some new software over the weekend (well, if you are not at Oktoberfest in Munich), Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 is now available. Ubuntu 9.10 entered into a feature freeze a month ago so there are major upstream package updates in here, although there is the final Linux 2.6.31 kernel, more recent GNOME 2.28 snapshots, etc. More of the Ubuntu-specific improvements like artwork and enhancements to Ubiquity are visible in Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 6 too.
Besides the ATI Catalyst Linux driver still lacking public XvBA support (the library is in the driver, but there's no documentation or public implementations of it) even though we exclusively detailed the X-Video Bitstream Acceleration architecture nearly a year ago for enhancing HD video playback on Linux, the other leading problem we usually end up facing with AMD's proprietary Linux driver is their slow response time with supporting new X Server and kernel releases. AMD's policy has been not to focus on providing support for unreleased kernels/X servers, and then to provide the support once out, but while they do provide new releases on a consistent monthly basis, things usually don't end up working out as planned.
Yesterday Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5 was released and besides shipping with a number of updated packages and the Ubuntu One client along with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud images, the Ubiquity installer shipped with its new slide-show feature enabled. Now during the Ubuntu installation process from the desktop LiveCD, rather than just showing a status bar it also advertises various features of this Linux operating system.
In just under two months there will be the release of Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala", but until then, there is the continual stream of new test releases. The latest test release to emerge from the Canonical camp is Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5. This fifth testing release of Mark Shuttleworth's operating system brings the Linux 2.6.31-rc8 kernel, the latest KDE/GNOME packages, a few updated X.Org bits, and many other package updates, although the Karmic Koala is now under a feature freeze.
Introduced last year with Fedora 10 was Plymouth, a project to replace the aging Red Hat Graphical Boot (RHGB) software. From the start, Plymouth leveraged kernel mode-setting to provide a flicker-free boot process and a splash screen that would run at the panel's native resolution. Beyond using KMS, Red Hat designed a nice plug-in architecture for Plymouth to offer different functionality and make it easy to add in new artwork.
Right on schedule, Canonical's Steve Langasek has announced the release of Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4. This fourth development release of the Karmic Koala brings more updated packages (including a kernel based upon Linux 2.6.31-rc5), Ubuntu One file sharing support, and some other new features. Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4 is also the first build to have Kubuntu Netbook Remix support for KDE 4.3 and Ubuntu UEC. Ubuntu UEC is for the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud with support for Amazon's EC2 service.
There's twelve days left until the release of X Server 1.7 and X.Org 7.5! Wait, there still is not even an X Server 1.7 Beta, which should have happened last month, so chances are slim to none on seeing a final release this month. The release schedule for X Server 1.7 / X.Org 7.5 has already slipped a few times, after it was supposed to be released back in April.
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