Another solid release!
Canonical is set to release Ubuntu Linux version 7.04 tomorrow. Nick-named the "Feisty Fawn," this version marks the sixth release of Ubuntu Linux and also marks the second year in a row that I've been using it at work.
From what I've seen so far, the Feisty Fawn is the best release of Ubuntu yet. In addition to the usual newer version of Gnome, KDE, Firefox, Thunderbird and the kernel, this release adds a restricted kernel module manager, making it easier to get proprietary drivers working. It has similar functionality for the addition of non-free media codecs such as MP3, DVD CSS and Flash. I have also been able to download and install .deb files straight from Firefox. tres slick.
The newer kernel and improvements to udev have also paved the way for the inclusion of the NetworkManager. This service is a huge boon for laptop users, as it makes hopping networks as easy as it is on a Mac. That's high praise by any standard.
This version is also the first to run well on my work laptop, a ThinkPad T60
with a troublesome ATI video card. Previous versions had problems re-detecting the wireless network adapter after resume from sleep. All outstanding sleep problems appear to be a thing of the past. This laptop works a treat. I can honestly say that this release is approaching Mac OSX in ease of use. (Though there's still no contest if you want to use proprietary software and things like the iTunes Store.)
Feisty Fawn marks yet another milestone for Desktop Linux. Two years ago almost to the day I had virtually given up on Desktop Linux taking off. The view from where I sit is far rosier now than it was then. Someone with vision, focus and nothing to lose is helping to give Linux the nudge needed to bring it home. (Literally!)
I recently ran into this video
of an excited new Linux user. I think even long-time users should watch it. It's a bit long, but it's refreshing to hear the excitement in Martin's voice. I think this is something that all new Linux users feel. For me, this moment was almost ten years ago. There have been ups and downs since then, but I honestly feel that Mark Shuttleworth and the Ubuntu project are making huge strides in adding the polish necessary to make Desktop Linux a viable alternative.
Thank you Mark and company. I look forward to using the Fawn for the next half year. However, I look forward to fantastic future releases even more.