Friday, October 14, 2005

The Ubuntu Foundation released its third version of the popular GNU/Linux operating system distribution yesterday. Codenamed “Breezy Badger”, the release improves on its predecessor, Hoary Hedgehog, with updated versions of packages such as, new computer management tools, special installation modes for computer manufacturers, and a “thin client” mode for large networks of homogenous computers. The new version also improves support for laptop computers, portable media players, Bluetooth devices, PowerPC processors, and other hardware.

Because the software in the GNU/Linux operating system comes with permission for everyone to modify and redistribute it, there are many versions (called “distributions”) of the operating system available. Ubuntu builds on the popular Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Like Debian, it is made almost entirely of free software.

Users quickly swarmed the Ubuntu Foundation’s servers trying to download the new version. The servers are currently responding slowly; moderators at the Ubuntu Forums suggested that users download with BitTorrent if at all possible, which is much less prone to such slowdowns.

Although its first release was only a year ago, Ubuntu Linux has quickly become one of the most popular Linux distributions. It is intended to be user-friendly without being insecure by design, a charge sometimes leveled against other beginner-friendly distributions like Linspire. The distribution is offered for free, and CDs are available for order via the Internet without charge (including shipping).