Every two years, Canonical prepares an LTS (Long Term Support) release of one of the best desktop Linux distributions available today. Actually, this is the second LTS edition of Ubuntu, the first one was 6.06 (Dapper Drake), released on June 1, 2006. Now that the beta version of Ubuntu 8.04 (codename Hardy Heron) is at the door and since I've tested all the alpha releases, I think it's a good moment to introduce you to the good parts and bad parts that Canonical prepared for this Long Term Support release. Therefore, this article is here to inform Ubuntu veterans, people that have discovered Ubuntu recently and future Ubuntu users, about the things that they should expect from Hardy Heron, in April 2008!
Redesigned Boot Prompt, the one you will see when you first boot from the Live CD, automatically offers now the possibility to choose your desired language and two new options:
￭ Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer
￭ Install Ubuntu
In previous versions, these two options were part of a single one, called "Start or install Ubuntu".
Let's start with the Login Manager, which has a new background and it looks more funky. Then, you'll notice a brand New Wallpaper, featuring none other than "The Heron". The wallpaper looks like a work of art, like a painting, and I personally think it's kinda cool, and if you take a look in "Appearance Preferences -> Background" you will notice that there is a version without "The Heron", for those of you that will not enjoy the default one. Moreover, a New Theme pleases the eyes of Ubuntu users in Hardy Heron, with a new Human-Murrine modern look. Click the image on the right to see what I've just described!
￭ Seahorse - the new "sheriff in town", set to manage your encryption keys;
￭ Transmission - the default BitTorrent client;
￭ Firefox 3 Beta 4 - replaced Firefox 2 and it is now the default web browser in Ubuntu 8.04, but most likely Firefox 3 Beta 5 will be available in the final release;
￭ Vinagre - a brand-new VNC client, set to replace the old xvnc4viewer;
￭ Brasero - the new CD/DVD burning tool in Ubuntu Hardy Heron.
￭ GNOME 2.22.0
￭ Wine 0.9.57
￭ The GIMP 2.4.5
￭ Pidgin 2.3.1
￭ Filezilla 18.104.22.168
￭ Avidemux 2.4.1
￭ ...and many many more!
Please note that not all the above listed applications are part of the default Ubuntu installation, but they are available in the standard repositories!
It is time now to talk a little about the New Technologies that can be found in this April's release of Ubuntu. Looking under the hood, we found that:
￭ Xorg 7.3 - offers improved autoconfiguration of your graphics card and monitor;
￭ Linux kernel 22.214.171.124 - comes packed with the "Completely Fair Scheduler" for improved interactive performance and dynticks support for power savings on both desktop and laptop computers;
￭ PulseAudio - is the new sound server;
￭ the newly introduced iSCSI support - allows Ubuntu to mount iSCSI targets as block device;
￭ Memory Protection - will help defend against rootkits and other malicious code;
￭ Active Directory Integration - allows Linux authentication on a Microsoft network.
There is also an annoying feature in Ubuntu 8.04, part of the new GVFS technology introduced in GNOME 2.22, when you copy or move some files you'll notice an icon in the system tray area during the copy/move process. I think that this icon is completely useless and can confuse some people, especially that right click on it does nothing and left click hides the copy/move window (which is already on the panel). I hope that this useless tray icon will be removed in the final release of Ubuntu 8.04.