Flying with the Heron

Well, for all you Ubuntu users out there, you’ve probably already upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”. I hope the experience went well! Hardy Heron is a significant release, and here’s a few reasons why!

Long Term Support

Hardy Heron is a Long Term Support Release. This means that this release will be backed by Canonical with security and stability updates for at least 2 years from last Thursday. Having a release that the community commits to support over the long term is critical for helping Ubuntu continue to make inroads into the server market. When you set up a server, its oftentimes more important that the server simply runs securely and reliably, rather than having the latest and greatest software running on the server. With Hardy Heron, you get the guarantee that the Ubuntu community won’t leave you out in the cold in 6 months, so throw it onto any servers you administer!

Updates Galore!

Many programs have been updated with the latest releases  from other communities. Here is brief list:

  1. KDE 4.0 — A long anticipated update to KDE, 4.0 implements many new feature to this popular desktop environment, including a revamped Qt toolkit! (Kubuntu)
  2. Gnome 2.22 — Further improvements were made to Gnome including a handy file transfer status bar in nautilus and greater GUI based control of the filesystem.
  3. Kernel 2.6.24 — The 2.6.24 kernel contains more new drivers for greater device support, a revamped wireless networking subsystem, scheduler improvements, and greater x86 32/64bit unifications in the code base
  4. Xorg 7.3 — Significant improvements were made to xrandr, a utility critical for manipulating screen resolution and orientation. Hotplugging of screens was also added, which allows you to easily hook your computer up to projectors.
  5. Firefox 3.0 — Firefox 3 is awesome. Read my review here

Added Stability

The community has really focused on cutting down the bugs in Ubuntu over the last few months, and many of the new features that were put in Gutsy Gibbon, like Compiz-Fusion, have been refined and stabilized. Undoubtedly this goal of solidifying Hardy contributes to having a good LTS release.

Attractiveness to PC makers

We’ve seen companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Asus embrace some sort of linux in the Desktop PC market. As OSS supporters, we naturally want this to continue, and Hardy Heron makes itself attractive to PC makers in both its increased ease of use, as well as its long term support plans.

New Features

Much of Hardy focused on stabilizing new features, but the heron is not without its new features. Here’s a brief list!

  1. Wubi — Wubi allows you to install Ubuntu from a Windows machine. This allows a greater number of people to try linux out without having to commit to overwriting your system. I don’t think I can do justice describing it here, but here’s the Wikipedia article
  2. Transmission — A new, simple default torrent client called Transmission is now installed as the default bittorrent application
  3. Policy Control — Ever feel like you needed finer tuned control over what users can modify what parts of the system? Better policy controls allow for finer grained control over who has the rights to do what on your system.
  4. Brasero — A new cd/dvd authoring software suite takes over in Hardy Heron.

Thats it for why Ubuntu 8.04 is awesome. Hardy Heron is sure to be a rock that will break quite a few Window$….

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