Ubuntu 9.04 release focuses on user experience and data center needs

Canonical, the sponsor of Ubuntu, today announced the simultaneous release of Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition and the Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition, available for download on Thursday, April 23, 2009, and the Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix, available on Thursday April 30, 2009.

With the new 9.04 server edition, Canonical has worked to extend the range of enabled servers, with 45 of the most popular mid-range servers from IBM, Dell and Sun and HP tested in the Canonical labs.
Ubuntu 9.04 Server edition will preview Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). Ubuntu is the first commercially-supported distribution to enable businesses to build cloud environments inside their firewalls. With Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition, organizations can explore the benefits of cloud computing without the data or security issues associated with moving data to an external cloud provider. Following a successful beta program, Ubuntu Server Edition 9.04 will also be fully available on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Mark Shuttleworth, CEO, Canonical shared some of the server improvements in Ubuntu 9.04 Server edition include substantial improvements in some key applications for mail and other common infrastructure requirements.

“There has been an extension of work around suspend and resume of servers,” said Shuttleworth. “Amazon’s EC2 elastic computing meme will penetrate deeply into the enterprise. And organizations will want that same elastic computing internally, along with the power saving capability. The best method is suspending or resuming. Through effective use of elastic computing, we think we can greatly improve the energy savings in the data center.”

Shuttleworth referred to the concept of cloud computing as “the new hotness,” and says that Canonical has chosen to give it a very specific focus in this release. An image of Ubuntu 9.04 is now on EC2, so anyone interested in prototyping on Ubuntu 9.04 can fire it up on EC2. Shuttleworth shared that Canonical has a firm commitment to continue to release updates in the cloud. A description of other Ubuntu virtualization efforts and a more detailed report on the current position of Ubuntu in the data center and enterprise IT environment was published on SearchDataCenter.com at the beginning of April.

Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition improves user experience
Mark Zimmerman, CTO, Canonical explained some of the new features in Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition include a reduction in start-up time from 45 seconds to 25 seconds. According to Zimmerman, the release also includes an improved notification subsystem, which is the first in a series of design-led improvements.

“We are really working on improving the intrinsic experience of using Ubuntu on the desktop,” explained Zimmerman. “The notification subsystem has a standardized way of displaying [notices], that adds to the polished feel of the desktop.”

In addition, the desktop version of Ubuntu 9.04 features OpenOffice.org 3.0. This release of OpenOffice includes a lot of compatibility between Microsoft Office suite products that can make the user experience more seamless and easy, and wasn’t available at the last Ubuntu Desktop Edition release.