Well it's here. It's hard to believe that six months has gone by since the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Long Term Support, release in April. The next release of Ubuntu, Maverick Meerkat, was released today. It is version 10.10.
Long Term Support releases, like the last release, Lucid Lynx, indicate the release is stable and will be supported over several years. It makes You feel like, what else is there to do, the operating system is done, but interim releases give you an opportunity to experiment, and put new features into the operating system, which brings us to what's new with this release.
For the last Ubuntu release, Gnome 3, the graphical user interface used in Ubuntu, was not finished, and was not included. For this Ubuntu release, unfortunately, Gnome 3 is still not ready with its release being pushed back to March 2011, so it did not make it into the new Ubuntu release this time. In all fairness to the Gnome community this next release has some significant architecture changes, and the Gnome folks want to make sure its stable before pushing it to the public. They are to be commended for this.
In the meantime, Gnome has put out interim releases and Ubuntu 10.10 will include the latest Gnome 2.32 version, which is the last planned release in the 2 series besides minor maintenance releases. Gnome has fixed many bugs and put in some additional user requested features. More specifically, one of the features is an improved Nautilus, the file manager, to manage copy and move file conflicts, and files you move to the Wastebasket.
Ubuntu has made improvements in the instant messaging manager, Empathy, with better grouping of contacts and services. A live contact search was added. There are improvements in PDF reading with improved zooming.
Ubuntu has officially released a font they want to use going forward, dubbed the Ubuntu font, they are leaning on making it the default font in Ubuntu. They worked with graphic designers and built a full font family. It looks nice.
They have replaced the f-spot photo manager with a improved photo manager called Shotwell, which allows you to import any photos you previously had in f-spot.
For multimedia, Ubuntu Studio, the multimedia creation suite, has improvements with better integration of pulse Audio and JACK, for importing and outputting audio. Sound Indicator had been improved to include music player controls. Mythbuntu, digital video recorder, has a new backup and restore tool.
Ubuntu One for storing and synching files between other networked computers, and the Intenet cloud, including the music store, has been improved with an easier interface and sign-on.
Ubuntu has added a "Featured" and "What's New" section to the Ubuntu Software Centre where you browse, install, and remove software applications. They have also included a new application called "Rick's Wallpapers" that cost $1 with profits donated to the Ubuntu Project.
There are other minor tweaks here and there. Ubuntu keeps improving their software distro, and for me, there is no reason not to use Ubuntu for your main desktop computer's operating system, it's that good.
Updating from the previous 10.04 version is easy and can be done from your current desktop through the Update Manager.
For those that would like to try out Ubuntu for the first time you can do that by booting directly from the Ubuntu CD. This will not mess up your Windows installation. Please follow my previous post on "Creating an Ubuntu CD." The instructions are still valid with this version. Cut yourself a CD.
If you have a Ubuntu CD, and are still running the exasperating Microsoft Windows, you can always use the Ubuntu CD to recover Windows files when the Windows operating system won't let you into the system. Your computer will boot directly from the Ubuntu CD, and view your Windows files. See my article on "Saving your Windows Data with an Ubuntu CD". I suggest you give Ubuntu a try, you may not go back to Windows.