New Linux Arrivals

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Ubuntu

You can almost set your watch by it nowadays: Twice a year, we have a new version of Ubuntu Linux to explore.

April will bring the release of Feisty Fawn, also known as Ubuntu 7.04. (The "04" indicates April; the "7" stands for 2007.) I've been running prerelease versions of Feisty for about a month. In a moment, some notes on what I've discovered. But first, a bit of context and history.

Ubuntu releases usually arrive each April and October. Version 6.10 (Edgy Eft) came out on time, but last spring's release, Dapper Drake, debuted two months late, and thus was christened version 6.06 LTS. The LTS stands for "long-term support," meaning that Canonical, the company that provides support for Ubuntu, will do so for five years; in addition, Canonical will make security updates available for the same amount of time, rather than for the typical 18 months for a non-LTS Ubuntu release.

Dapper remains the most stable, hassle-free Linux I have ever used--and I've been running Linux full-time on one machine or another since 1998. Edgy, however, reworked a few key parts of the system to take advantage of newer technologies, and the result wasn't as solid. My laptop's suspend, hibernate, and resume features, for instance, never failed when I ran Dapper. But since I installed Edgy, the machine sometimes fails to go to sleep when I want it to.

So I've been looking forward to Feisty, not only for bug fixes but also because one of the Ubuntu team's stated goals for Feisty was a specific intention to add cutting-edge desktop effects to the Ubuntu experience.

What sort of whiz-bang desktop effects am I talking about?

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