October Linux fest

October traditionally kicks off the year-end release festival for Linux users. Almost all of the major distributions have a new version in its final stages of development and ready to be launched into public. Among these are Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuse.

Ubuntu 10.10

The first big release of the year-end season will be Ubuntu Linux 10.10, otherwise known as Maverick Meerkat. The Meerkat will be making its first official appearance on 10 October, making for a well rounded 10.10.10 release date.

Maverick Meerkat is already in beta format so there ought not to be too many surprises in the final release and, based on reviews to date, should be among the best Ubuntu release in the short history of the distribution.

Maverick Meerkat has a host of new and improved features, so although it has only been six months since the last major release. Meerkat is a significant upgrade. Among those changes are a much improved installer including the ability to install non-free applications as well as the usual open source ones. Audio control also gets a healthy makeover including a menubar item that shows album art as well as full audio controls.

Social media tools are baked into the Ubuntu desktop through the Me Menu applet. Using this users can post to a range of social networks straight from their desktop as well as monitor incoming messages with alerts. Multi-touch input also gets a first major run in this release although most users will not yet have the hardware to take advantage of this.

Fedora 14

The community version of Red Hat Linux, Fedora usually follows close on the heels of Ubuntu releases with its own update. This year is no exception and Fedora 14 is scheduled for release on November 2. The beta release of Fedora 14 was released in late September and builds on Fedora 13, one of the best and most stable Fedora releases to date.

Although Fedora has often been overshadowed by Ubuntu, over the past few releases it has become increasingly cutting edge, adding features that many other releases are still far from adopting. At the same time it has gained a reputation for being very stable.

On the desktop Fedora 14 will include the latest KDE4.5 desktop, a very polished and capable desktop environment. Fedora also includes a new library for managing JPEG images which in tests has shown to speed up compression and decompression of these files by as much as 25%.

Fedora 14 also adds the new Spice tool for virtualisation. The new tool makes it significantly easier to access and manage virtual machines, something which is becoming increasingly important in business.

Developers will also be pleased to see the latest version of most popular development environments in Fedora 14 including Ruby on Rails, Zend and Java FX.

OpenSuse 11.4

OpenSuse 11.4 won’t actually be released until March next year but over the course of the next couple of months developers will be pushing out a series of pre-releases, starting with Milestone 3 in early November. This process will work its way through to Milestone 6 in January 2011, two release candidates and then a final release.

It is still early on in the development process so exactly what the final product will look like is not yet set in stone. Some of the early additions to OpenSuse 11.4 include new tools to download applications faster as well as better image handling.

OpenSuse 11.4 early milestones include Libzypp which improves FTP and HTTP downloads. The release also includes better support for Metalink which allows packages to be downloaded from multiple sources in parallel.

OpenSuse Milestone 1 already included support for KDE 4.5 as well as early Gnome 2.32.0 releases on the desktop.

The final release of OpenSuse 11.4 is scheduled for March 10, 2011.

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October Linux fest