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27 April 2009
The latest version of Ubuntu version 9.04 has been released. This release has been given the codename Jaunty Jackalope.
I've been anticipating this release of Ubuntu as there were some packages that were still on old version numbers on 8.10. For example OpenOffice.org version 3 missed the previous release. There are also some updated packages related to video editing and music DJ software (Mixxx), which I'm keen to try out.
In addition to this software the performance has been improved and the new look login page looks even better.
The upgrade was every bit as complex as upgrading to 8.10 (Computer upgrade Utopia - Linux Ubuntu upgrade to 8.10) which is to say it wasn't. The entire install involved only a few mouse clicks and then the new version was downloaded and upgraded. To start the upgrade was as simple as running the Update Manager from the main menu and confirming that I wanted to upgrade the operating system. There was one question during the install on whether to keep the existing Gnome defaults file or whether to upgrade that as well. Either choice would have worked, but I chose to replace with the latest version as the defaults file should not need to be customised. It took about 3 hours or so; I'm not sure the exact time as it was left unattended for most of it.
The system then needed a reboot. This in itself is quite unusual as except for kernel updates Linux hardly ever needs to be rebooted for updates, whereas the opposite can be said for Windows.
Most Linux distributions have a release schedule of between 6 and 18 months. Ubuntu has a 6 month release, with a new version every April and October. There are a lot of advantages to this short release cycle as it means new software is made available sooner and changes are smaller between releases reducing the learning curve and keeping the software up-to-date. The open source nature of Linux and the software written for it means that there are few compatibility problems between releases; unlike Windows Vista where a lot of the software that used to run on Windows XP and earlier no longer runs.
All in all I'm very impressed with the new version and even more impressed with how simple and successful an upgrade of the entire operating system was.
Download Unbuntu Linux now and give it try. You can run from a CD or DVD to see if you like it first, and even if you commit to disk you can have it dual-boot alongside Windows until you ditch Windows altogether.