Dell Preps for Next Linux Desktop Release – Gutsy Gibbon (aka Ubuntu 7.10)

A major desktop Linux upgrade is set to be released on October 18. Michael Dell is expected to personally use it. And the PC giant will pre-load it on selected desktops and notebooks. Buzz about this next Linux release — dubbed Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon — is growing across the web. But what exactly does Gutsy Gibbon (aka Ubuntu 7.10) offer to desktop customers and solutions providers? Here’s a look.

Canonical (the company that develops Ubuntu) has outlined a long-term road map for the operating system. During the UbuntuLive conference back in July, Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman said Ubuntu 7.10 would feature several core enhancements for desktop and server users. On the desktop, 7.10 will support:

* a 3D interface out of the box
* multi-monitor configuration
* laptop power profiling
* more details still to come

On the server, 7.10 will offer:

* Turn-key web administration
* One-step server recipes
* Proactive security with AppArmor, an increasingly popular open source security option
* “desktop” type simplicity

So, what does that mean to Ubuntu resellers and customers? Quite a lot. Ubuntu moved from niche status into the spotlight when Michael Dell himself began running the operating system. And when Dell announced selected PCs with Ubuntu preloaded a few months ago, even The VAR Guy decided to open his wallet for one of the systems.

If Ubuntu 7.1o continues that positive buzz, it could help desktop Linux to gradually become a mainstream operating system. But don’t expect that to happen overnight. In an exclusive TechIQ interview with Dell’s Linux gurus last month, the company indicated that it would take a slow-and-steady approach to Ubuntu. Translation: Don’t expect Dell to throw marketing dollars at Ubuntu PCs just yet.

The VAR Guy doesn’t expect that to happen for at least another year because Dell doesn’t want to over promise and under deliver to frustrated Windows users and small business owners who are seeking alternatives.

In the meantime, the countdown to Ubuntu 7.10 continues. And the buzz surrounding Ubuntu 7.1 will only grow louder as the upgrade’s October 18 launch date approaches.

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