Two major Linux distributions will be making releases this month and since I use both of them, I’m pretty excited! First up will be the Debian-derived Ubuntu. This distro has been the darling of users and Internet media alike for the past few years. It stole the post from Mandriva, the previous Linux distro that everyone recommended to new users. Although Mandriva was the easiest distro for new users, it also had a reputation for being so bleeding edge it was unstable. Ubuntu, however, is very stable and tends to work on more hardware out of the “box”. In fact, it was Ubuntu’s ability to work on laptops, long the Holy Grail of Linux distros, that led it to such prominence. That is the main reason why I chose to install Ubuntu onto my laptop even though I’ve been a Fedora user since I first got into Linux about five years ago. Ubuntu 4.08 aka Hardy Heron will be flapping its way to you on 24 April.
Fedora is my other main distro, it’s the one I cut my teeth on and it’s the one I use daily. Fedora 9 is scheduled to be released on 29 April, but like Nintendo, they are almost ALWAYS late.
So what’s exciting about these distros? A year or two ago, Ubuntu set the trend of making a new release along with X.org and Gnome, or every six months. Before that Linux distros were released randomly, whenever the group wished to do so. Once of the easiest ways to get ridiculed in the Red Hat/Fedora mailing lists or IRC rooms was to ask when the next version was coming out. Now Fedora also releases every six months, more or less on track with Ubuntu. They even have beta release notes! So, since they’re following Gnome releases, they get the latest Gnome goodness. I’m most excited about Totem having a MythTV plugin, thus simplifying my watching it on my laptop in the bedroom, better support for Google Calendars in Evolution, and some other minor features.
The HUGE difference, however, will be that both of these distros will now include KDE4! KDE4 was in the works for over two years with tons of anticipation in the magazine and online press. Sure, it’s not 100% ready for primetime. They have acknowledged that some more work needs to be done and should be complete by about June of this year. But I still can’t wait to check out the new features. Most importantly, it’s supposed to take up less RAM and be more stable.
So mark your calendars, it’s going to be a fun month!