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Linux for real people

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IT seemed like a perfectly geeky thing to do, so I braved rain and the Saturday night traffic to get to the Ubuntu Release Party at the Ortigas Center.

It’s been almost three years since I began using Ubuntu, a user-friendly Linux-based operating system, to replace Windows on my home PC, and I’ve been enjoying the benefits ever since: absolutely free, high-quality software; the absence of viruses and other malicious programs; and no intrusive anti-piracy measures that assumed I was a thief. In this time, I had gone through three operating system upgrades, yet I had never been to a release party.

Since Ubuntu was introduced in 2004, its commercial sponsor, Canonical, has pushed a new release out the door twice a year. This may seem strange in the world of commercial software, where new versions of Windows or Mac OS X are launched every few years, but it’s consistent with the underlying philosophy of Linux to release early and release often as a way of improving product quality.

Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, takes its release number from the year and month of its release. Thus,the first version, 4.10, was released in October 2004. The newest version, 9.10, was released last week.

Like Mac OS X, Ubuntu also uses animal code names for its releases, though these tend to be funkier and alliterative to boot.

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