Will Ubuntu Linux Break Through on the Desktop?

Canonical, caretakers of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, will release its new 7.10 Desktop Edition today. It sports a raft of new features that just may just give it the best chance to take share away from Windows on the desktop.

What has some industry analysts all excited about version 7.10's -- also known as "Gutsy Gibbon" -- desktop fortunes is its 3D graphical interface along with its automatic printer driver installation. The latter has perpetually stood as one of the annoying roadblocks for wide audience acceptance of Linux by desktop users. Many users have walked away from their first installation of Linux on a desktop machine because they couldn't get it to work with both new and older printers in their shops.

The flashy new graphical interface may prove to be more than just eye candy. Linux has had a couple of other graphical interfaces before, but none as rich-looking as this one. Some are boldly saying that version 7.10's 3D interface, built on top of the Gnome 2.20 desktop, will give Windows Vista and Apple's upcoming Leopard a run for their money.

The new version also contains improvements for laptop users. It offers full external VGA support right out of the box, and can be more easily configured when hardware is switched around. Also, new support for automatic firmware installation for Broadcom Wi-Fi cards has been added.

So far, larger IT shops have been more interested in the idea of Linux on the desktop than in actually having it on their desktops. That interest has stemmed from wanting to eliminate the expensive licensing fees Microsoft imposes on Windows users, along with a handful of other technical shortcomings. But with the underwhelming response to Vista among corporate accounts -- many of whom claim to have no plans to deploy the operating system this year and even next -- coupled with Ubuntu 7.10's set of capabilities, the door has never been more open for a Linux offering to walk through.

Users interested in downloading version 7.10 can go here.

Posted by Ed Scannell on October 18, 2007 at 11:57 AM


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