First Ubuntu 7.10 (‘Gutsy Gibbon’) beta arrives

Ubuntu fans rejoice! The first beta of the next Ubuntu 7.10, aka “Gutsy Gibbon,” arrived on Sept. 27, complete with corresponding releases of its variants: Kubuntu, Edubuntu, and Xubuntu desktop editions, as well as a server edition.

Gutsy Gibbon continues Ubuntu‘s tradition of combining its own code with Debian, by integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a cutting-edge user-friendly Linux distribution. While best known as a desktop distribution, Ubuntu 7.10 also includes significant improvements to its server side.

Starting with the desktop, though, Ubuntu has moved to the brand spanking new GNOME 2.20 for its primary desktop environment. Ubuntu developers have also decided to enable Compiz Fusion, with its 3D desktop and translucent windows visual effects, by default. Ubuntu 7.10 tries to automatically detect whether the hardware is capable of running compiz; if not, it falls back to the normal GNOME desktop. You can also disable the effects entirely, or enable additional effects can be enabled in “System/Preferences/Appearance” under the “Visual Effects” tab.

Compiz Fusion is a very new open-source project. It builds on top of the Compiz compositing windows manager foundation. To this, Compiz Fusion adds features from the, now merged with Compiz, Beryl composite window manager and Compiz Extras, a community set of improvements to Compiz.

The Gutsy Gibbon beta also now includes dynamic screen configuration. With the right graphic drivers and chipsets for ATI, nVidia, and Intel graphics chips installed, Ubuntu can support the X Resize and Rotate Extension (xrandr); thanks to this capability, Ubuntu can dynamically detect monitors or projectors and allow for easy resizing and rotating of video output.

On top of this, the Ubuntu 7.10 beta now lets you configure what driver you want to use for your graphic card, change the default resolution for all users, or change your monitor’s refresh rate without having to resort to the command line. This new GUI tool makes it much easier to adjust your video and monitor settings. It can also set up dual screen capabilities for cards that use the Xinerama mode. With Xinerama, you can use two or more physical displays as one large virtual display.

The Gutsy Gibbon beta also includes a new deskbar applet. This applet enables you to quickly get to your most frequently used activities. For example, instead of simply enabling you to access your most frequently-used programs, the applet enables you to open your Web browser to your favorite Web bookmarks; or, when you open an IM (instant message) program, you get the option of immediately sending an IM note to your best friend, and so on.

Thinking of Web browsers, the new Ubuntu beta also makes it easier to get most of out of Firefox, thanks to an improved plugin finder wizard that lets users search and install packaged Firefox plugins.

The Gutsy Gibbon beta also includes support for automatically detecting and setting up printers. In addition, it now supports not just reading Windows NTFS file systems, but, thanks to the NTFS-3G project, Ubuntu users can now write to NTFS drives as well.

For servers, the Ubuntu 7.10 server edition beta brings enhanced security-in-depth, with AppArmor. Developed by Novell, this Linux application security framework gives you network application security via mandatory access control for programs, and offers protection against software flaws and compromised systems. It also provides easy install-time options for multiple common server configurations.

The server edition beta also adds four pre-configured installation options: Mail Server, Print Server, Database Server, and File Server. This joins the existing LAMP (Linux Apache, MySQL PHP/Python/Perl) and DNS pre-configured installation options. With this, even someone with minimal server skills can deploy these common server configurations.

Under the hood, users will find the Linux 2.6.22 kernel powering up both the client (desktop) and server versions. This is supported by GCC 4.1.2 and glibc 2.6.

One final note: the Ubuntu project would like to remind would-be users that this is a beta release. You should not install it on “production” machines. The final, stable version is expected to be released in next month.

For those who want a little adventure in their Linux lives, the Ubuntu 7.10 betas can be downloaded as ISOs and via BitTorrent from the following sites, depending on the desired desktop configuration: Ubuntu; Kubuntu; Edubuntu; Xubuntu. There are also numerous mirror sites available.

Source: Desktop Linux

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