The rising star among Linux distributions, Ubuntu is to get by far its most important update yet, with the release of the Dapper Drake version. It is the first version with a long-term support guarantee, and includes some major innovations not yet seen in other Linux distros.
I'm loathe to use such a tacky expression, but Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu really is the rising star of the Linux world. The wealthy South African native has taken one of the most popular and stable Linux distributions (Debian) and turned it into the Ubuntu phenomenon.
A quick check on Distro Watch reveals that the Ubuntu pages have been the most requested over the past 12 months. This isn't surprising, as the distribution has been getting excellent press for being easy to deploy, feature filled and having arguably the best desktop-oriented driver support of any Linux out there today.
Ubuntu 6.06 (codenamed Dapper Drake) is scheduled for release on the first of June, and is by far the most important release to date, because it is the first to have been given a long term support guarantee. From the site:
"Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Edubuntu 6.06 LTS will be the first Ubuntu releases with long-term support: three years on the desktop, and five years on the server."
Now that's the kind of support you expect for an enterprise OS.
Of course, support doesn't automatically make an OS appropriate for enterprise deployment, particularly as a server OS. Thankfully, Ubuntu has received two big boosts in this area recently: the first was when, late last year, IBM certified Ubuntu as an official DB2 platform, meaning they will support customers who choose to use their software with the OS.
The second is the announcement that Dapper Drake will facilitate the process of configuring and installing a LAMP (Linux Apache PHP MySQL) server with a single command. Details of this are sketchy, but it sounds like the process of ensuring that your production server and your testing server are configured identically may have just got a whole lot easier.
All in all, Dapper Drake looks like yet another sterling release from the Ubuntu foundation. The new features being added do a lot to dispell the image of Ubuntu as a hobbyist OS lacking in the features of SuSE Enterprise Linux, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Try out a beta right now. Do it. Do it. Do it. That is all.