The road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history

Distros

People have been saying for a long time that there are too many Linux distros, and yet that didn't stop Mark Shuttleworth from launching Ubuntu in the crowded Debian spin-off market five years ago. What made Ubuntu succeed where Libranet, Corel Linux, Storm Linux and others had failed?

Some might argue that having half a billion dollars in your bank account was a good start, but we think Ubuntu's success can be wrapped up in one quote from Mark Shuttleworth: "I firmly believe that there's nothing an open source team can't do - except do everything." That is, Ubuntu works because it dedicates a lot of effort to refining the complete product rather than individual parts.

Well, to celebrate the release of Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" we're going to kick off a three-part celebration of this tenth release of the world's most popular distro with a quick look back at the highs and lows over the years, complete with lots of PDFs from Linux Format magazine from our archives. We've also gone back and installed all ten Ubuntu releases to discover just how much performance has changed over the years.

Along with this article, we've also posted an exclusive interview with Mark Shuttleworth about his favourite features in Ubuntu 9.04 plus a frankenreview of Ubuntu 9.04 that brings together opinion from across the web - check them out!

Virtualisation made easy

Enterprise

Unless you're running a PC more at home in 2001 than today, you can benefit from virtualisation. In fact, we're so utterly convinced that almost every reader will be happier having discovered virtualisation that we've devoted this tutorial to helping you - yes, you - get started with it.

Release candidate frenzy underway

BSD

A few days ago Ubuntu 9.04 Release Candidate arrived for our testing pleasure -- you might still have time to submit last-minute bug reports before the final release on Thursday. Over in BSDland, meanwhile, the first release candidate of FreeBSD 7.2 has been announced, and if the team sticks to the schedule we should see the final version in early May. The NetBSD folks are charging ahead with 5.0 release candidate 4 of the outrageously portable Unix flavour, sporting this whopping list of changes.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11

Distros

Reviewed: With SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, Novell builds upon OpenSUSE 11.1, the community distribution that shipped last summer. It comes in two versions for the enterprise market: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and Desktop (SLED). Striking new features are the Compiz Fusion 3D compositing window manager, KDE 4.1, Gnome 2.24 and a redesigned installer, but Mono-haters won't be happy to see the large amount of Microsoft .NET software that ships as standard.

Want to build your own distro?

Distros

PC Plus has just uploaded an excellent tutorial teaching you how to build your own Linux distro - worth checking out! From the article, "If you find yourself making the same adjustments each time you install a new distribution, it's worth creating your own customised version. Revisor is a tool that lets you do just this, and in this tutorial, we'll show you how..."

xPUD, the ultra-fast booting Linux flavour

Distros

Weighing in at a mere 48MB, xPUD boots up before you can even decide how to pronounce it. This mini distro is built upon Mozilla's XUL and Gecko engines, with an interface called 'Plate' which includes a web browser, media player, BitTorrent client and other tools. There's not a great deal of information on the website just yet, but read on for a video of its über-rapid bootup.

Mandriva 2009.1 RC 2 released

Distros

Can you hear that noise? It's the sound of a brand new distro coming over the hills. Mandriva 2009.1 (aka 'Spring') is almost here, and the second release candidate is available for testers to iron out any last-minute crinkles. It's available in full-whack DVD incarnations or diet-friendly Live CD versions. Summary of changes since 2009.0 after the break.

Portable Ubuntu: Linux on Windows for the masses?

Ubuntu

Live distros have done a fantastic job of getting timid Windows users to try Linux. No installation, no faffing around with hard drive partitions and bootloaders -- just pop in the CD/DVD and go. But one of the downsides is performance, with optical-based Linux not running as swiftly as its hard drive-installed counterpart. Well, Portable Ubuntu is here to save the day using a crafty combo of free software technology.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 is here

SUSE

Novell's epic-length press release for SLE11 just landed in our inboxes, and there are a few interesting points worth picking out. Read on for Novell's corporate take on the recession, Microsoft .NET, virtualisation and cloud computing...

PCLinuxOS 2009.1 gets the review treatment

Distros

We didn't hear much from the PCLinuxOS team for about 18 months -- sure, plenty of development effort was taking place behind the scenes, but with the six-monthly release schedules of Ubuntu and co. taking up all the limelight, PCLinuxOS's absence of major releases may have left many to question the distro's lifespan. Well, 2009.1 proudly arrived a week ago, and Raiden's Realm has given it a thorough going-over.

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