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The Ubuntu Software Centre

For those wanting to install additional software or alternatives to the already included applications, the Ubuntu Software Centre has been updated for easier navigation.

Zoom The updated Ubuntu Software Centre.
Most newcomers to Ubuntu Linux may have previously found it difficult to add or remove software that's Ubuntu compatible – especially those items with dependencies. The new Software Centre simplifies installing programs and its thousands of applications are broken down into a number of categories. These include Accessories, Education, Fonts, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, Science & Engineering, Sound & Video, Themes & Tweaks, Universal Access, Developer Tools and System.

Once installed, users can keep their programs and system up to date using the built-in Update Manager with the option to use the Synaptic Package Manager for more in-depth management of all software available for Linux in general.

Users looking for Sun's Java will notice that that the sun-java6 packages have been removed from the Multiverse section of the Ubuntu archive as the Ubuntu developers recommend using openjdk-6 instead. Those that cannot switch from the proprietary Sun JDK to OpenJDK, can install the Sun packages from the Canonical Partner Repository.


In late January of this year, Rick Spencer, Engineering Manager for the Ubuntu Desktop team, announced that Lucid Lynx would switch to Yahoo! as the default search engine. The news came as part of a revenue sharing deal between Ubuntu sponsor Canonical and Yahoo! and meant that Yahoo! would replace Google as the default search provider for the Firefox start page and the tool bar.

However, at the beginning of April, Spencer confirmed that Ubuntu 10.04 would be switching back to Google as the default search provider before the final release citing factors such as "user experience, user preferences, and costs and benefits for Ubuntu and the browsers and other projects that make up Ubuntu". Specific reasons for the change back were not given, but Spencer added "It was not our intention to 'flap' between providers, but the underlying circumstances can change unpredictably".

Installation and updating

Zoom Ubuntu 10.04 LTS features an updated LiveCD installer.
Long time users will notice that, when inserting the LiveCD operating system disk, they are now presented with a new installer window that gives them two options. The first option allows users to try Ubuntu as a LiveCD without making any changes to their system as in previous releases, while the second lets them immediately install the distribution. The installer now uses WebKit to display a slide show while installing Ubuntu.

Users currently running Ubuntu 9.10 or Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on a desktop system can upgrade using the built-in update manager. Those running other releases of Ubuntu first need to upgrade to 8.04 LTS or 9.10. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is available to download for 32 and 64-bit systems in the standard Desktop/Laptop, Server Edition and Netbook Edition variants.

Zoom The new Ubuntu Installer uses WebKit to display a slideshow when installing.
A full list of changes, including system requirements and a list of known issues, can be found in the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release notes. Other versions in the family, including Kubuntu, Edbuntu, Xubuntu, should also be available shortly.

Now that Ubuntu 10.04 has been released, expect to start seeing a number of new releases from Ubuntu-based distributions like Linux Mint – a popular release aimed at being user friendly and providing a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including support for DVD playback, Java, plug-ins and various media codecs –, the USB-bootable Puredyne live distribution and the netbook oriented Easy Peasy.

Looking forward & Ubuntu 10.10

The next release of Ubuntu, version 10.10, is a standard release that's slated to arrive in October and has been dubbed "Maverick Meerkat". According to former Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth, the developers now have "plenty of room to shake things up a little" and that there will be a revamp of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition's user interface and underlying code to get "The fastest boot, the fastest network connect, the fastest browser". The developers are also planning to enhance Ubuntu's Enterprise Cloud, making it easier to create, deploy and manage small or large configurations of servers, from the tens to the tens of thousands of nodes.

The next Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) will give developers a chance to work together to define what 10.10 will look like. According to Canonical's Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon, the Summit is "one of the most important events in the Ubuntu calendar and at it we discuss, debate and design the next version of Ubuntu". Bacon also says that that UDS is not a conference, but rather a "a participatory discussion-based summit" aimed at giving community members and developers a chance to meet and discuss the next version of Ubuntu. The 10.10 Ubuntu Developer Summit will take place from the 10th to the 14th of May, 2010 at the Dolce La Hulpe Hotel and Resort in Brussels, Belgium

Previous Ubuntu release features:

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