Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) and Derivatives Released

HotHardware guest post by:  Jesse Litton

The new version of the most popular desktop Linux distribution (according to DistroWatch statistics) is now available, and as always:  completely free to use, redistribute, fold, spindle, and mutilate.  The announcement e-mail can be found here.

(Ubuntu 10.10 LiveCD)

New/updated features:

  • Linux Kernel 2.6.35
    • Improved CPU power savings and turbo support..
    • Improved GPU power management.
    • Network code optimizations (RPS/RFS) for multicore CPUs.
    • Defragmentation of working memory.
    • Virtualization improvements.
    • Direct I/O support for Btrfs file system.
    • Improved scalability (BKL eliminations).
    • Support for EDAC on Core i7 and Xeon CPUs.
    • Hundred of driver updates and additions.
  • Ubuntu:
    • The GNOME base platform has been updated to the current 2.32 versions. This particularly includes the new dconf and gsettings API.

    • Evolution was updated to the 2.30 version, which operates much faster compared to the version in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

    • Shotwell has replaced F-Spot as the default photo manager.

    • Gwibber has been updated to support the recent change in Twitter's authentication system, as well as changing the back end storage to improve performance.

    • The Sound Indicator has been enhanced to include music player controls.

    • The Ubuntu Software Center has an updated look and feel, including the new "Featured" and "What's New" views for showcasing applications, an improved package description view, and a "For Purchase" software category has been added. You can also now easily access your package installation history too.

    • Ubuntu One: Polished desktop integration with new sign up and sign in process. Tighter integration with Ubuntu SSO. Nautilus enhancements for managing folder sync preferences. Faster file sync speed. Share links to music within the Ubuntu One Music Store.

    • The new Unity interface is now the default in Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

(Kubuntu 10.10)

  • Kubuntu:
    • The latest KDE Software. KDE Platform, Workspaces and Applications have been updated to version 4.5.1.
    • The Desktop and Netbook images have been merged into a single image featuring both the Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook workspaces. The appropriate workspace for your machine will be launched at login, you can also change the workspace in System Settings.

    • Plasma Netbook now sports the Global Menu by default.

    • The new KDE bluetooth application collection Bluedevil is now installed by default.

    • Pulseaudio is the default sound server to match other Ubuntu variants.

    • KPackageKit updates bring a faster backend and an updated UI that provides a new Categories page, and new features such as a backup/restore tool for the list of installed packages.

    • Kubuntu's installer (Ubiquity) now has an updated look and layout. Install starts after partitioning making it a quicker experience.

    • Qapt-batch now replaces install-package as the update/batch-installer utility

    • Qt 4.7 support.

    • Qt Webkit 2.0 (open source web browser engine) support.
  • Xubuntu:
    • Xfce4 was updated to the current 4.6.2 release. This fixes many of the bugs and updates the programs used in Xubuntu.

    • New default applications: Parole (Xfce4 Media Player) replaced Totem Movie Player, Xfburn (Xfce4 CD/DVD burning tool) replaced Brassero, and xfce4-taskmanager (Xfce4 process manager) replaced Gnome-Task-Manager.
  • Edubuntu:

    • In addition to all the sames changes as Ubuntu, Edubuntu now includes Gnome Nanny.  Gnome Nanny provides parental controls in Edubuntu. There is new wallpaper included ( periodic table breakout). Also, OEM Install mode is now available.

For those looking to give Ubuntu a try, you can download and run the OS via the LiveCD without installing or writing anything to your hard drive.  Should you decide to install, the LiveCD's installer application will allow you to resize any existing OS partitions and install into the freed space - allowing you the option to reboot back into your previous OS at any time. (Remember to backup your system first!  Better safe than sorry!)

While I highly recommend the Kubuntu variant, each of the related distributions are worthy of investigation.  If you're totally confused about the differences, as is the lot of anyone new to Linux, here's a simple and completely over-generalized system for you to follow:

Think of Ubuntu with its Gnome desktop (powered by the GTK+ libraries) like a Mac:  more intuitive and clean, with fewer options to confuse.

Think of Kubuntu with its KDE desktop (running on the Qt libraries) like a Windows machine:  more options, but possibly less intuitive to new users.

Meanwhile, Xubuntu uses the XFCE desktop, which has a lighter footprint and may perform better on older or very limited hardware.

And finally, Edubuntu is a version similar to mainstream Ubuntu, but aimed towards educational institutions.

If you're still unsure of which desktop would be best for you, don't fret about it too much:  Nothing prevents you from installing multiple desktops, and any Linux application can be run on any desktop, regardless of the underlying libraries they use.

Tags:  Linux, Ubuntu, Distro