Well I certainly got a pleasant birthday surprise when I visited slashdot and found that Ubuntu Linux 6.06  has been released. I suppose that means that it’s time for me to order my free CDs via the Ubuntu Shipit  service.
To quote from the press release  (well, it looks like a press release, even if it doesn’t say it)
New Ubuntu Release Available for Desktops and Servers, with Long Term, Global Support
Ubuntu, which has become one of the world’s most popular Linux distributions in recent years, launched its latest version on June 1 following months of intense testing. The new release is titled Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Long Term Support), and has a specific emphasis on the needs of large organisations with both desktop and server versions.
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS introduces functionality that simplifies common Linux server deployment processes. For system administrators setting up large numbers of web, mail and related servers, Ubuntu 6.06 LTS offers the fastest and most consistent path to deployment, combined with the availability of global commercial support where needed. “Ubuntu has a reputation for working well out of the box on desktops, and we have worked to bring that same ease of deployment and configuration to the server marketplace” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu project. “Based on our analysis of the ways people were already deploying Ubuntu on servers, we have aimed to streamline their experience while expanding the range of software available to people deploying Ubuntu in the data centre.”
Ubuntu is freely available, including security updates for five years on servers, with no restrictions on usage and no requirement to purchase support contracts or subscriptions per deployment. Full telephone & online support on commercial terms is available globally from Canonical Ltd and other companies. “The economics of Ubuntu deployment are fundamentally different from those of other leading Linux distributions that offer commercial support” said Jane Silber, COO of Canonical Ltd. “Companies and individuals can deploy Ubuntu widely, and purchase support only for the machines where they need the assurance of a Support Level Agreement. This makes Ubuntu the preferred choice for large scale deployments where support contracts are not essential on every machine.”
Sun Microsystems and Canonical also announced this week that Ubuntu 6.06 LTS will support the UltraSPARC T1 processor on Sun Fire T1000 and T2000 servers. These SPARC-based systems join the list of architectures for which Canonical will offer technical support on a paid, commercial basis, starting at $700 USD per year for a single server. For more information, please see the ubuntu support pages.
The Server Edition of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS includes a unique mechanism to set up a standardized, certified, and supported LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) server with a single command. The feature greatly reduces the setup time for companies providing hosted LAMP services, as well as making it easier for organizations to set up and maintain their own LAMP-standardized servers. Canonical Ltd. Also provides technical support for the full suite of components in the LAMP stack.
“This new (LAMP) functionality is the first of several planned fully-certified free software stacks in Ubuntu,” said Fabio Massimo Di Nitto, product manager of Ubuntu Server Edition. The acronym LAMP refers to four ingredients of the world’s most widely used framework for dynamic website publishing. While many variations on the LAMP theme exist, these four components are most commonly deployed together. The process of integrating these components will often take several hours per server and leaves room for the introduction of security vulnerabilities or unnecessary variation in configuration between different systems. “LAMP servers were the most popular use of Ubuntu in the data center, so we focused on that stack first” added Adam Conrad, Ubuntu’s lead LAMP developer.
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS also has a new mechanism to make commercial software available, enabling businesses and individuals to download select software from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). There are a variety of solutions available this way already, including data management software from Arkeia, cross-platform development tools from Raining Data, PC sharing from Userful and virtualisation from VMware. Additional software for Ubuntu from ISVs will be added in the coming months.
“Ubuntu and VMware have worked together to make industry-leading virtualization a freely available and easy to use capability for Ubuntu 6.06 LTS,” said Dan Chu, VMWare’s Senior Director of Technology Alliances & Developer and ISV Products. “Now any Ubuntu user can automatically install and run VMware Player from the Ubuntu package manager, and join the four million plus users of VMware worldwide for running virtualized servers, desktops, and virtual appliances. Hundreds of thousands of users have already adopted Ubuntu virtual appliances using VMware, and the increased integration between Ubuntu and VMware will further enable broad uptake of these virtual appliances.”
Ubuntu is part of the Debian family of distributions. As such it has an extremely wide selection of software that is instantly available to Ubuntu users, and includes some of the world’s best-regarded software for the management of software updates and changes. “Debian is integral to the success and popularity of Ubuntu” said Matt Zimmerman, CTO of Ubuntu. “The combined efforts of more than 1,000 developers create a unique platform in Debian, which allows Ubuntu to focus on the specific needs of our users.” Ubuntu is believed to be the leading version of the Debian system that includes skills certification from LPI, as well as certifications from hardware and software companies.
A special added bonus of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS is the inclusion of several chapters from “The Official Ubuntu Book”, which Prentice Hall Professional will publish in July 2006, under an Open Content licence. The book represents the collaborative effort of more than a dozen Ubuntu community members from around the world, in addition to the primary authors: Benjamin Mako Hill, Jono Bacon, Corey Burger, Jonathan Jesse, and Ivan Krstic. “We’re thrilled to have been able to develop this book in such close partnership with the Ubuntu community,” said Paul Boger, VP/Publisher for the Pearson Technology Group. “This book is truly by and for the Ubuntu community.” The book can be pre-ordered at http://www.prenhallprofessional.com/ubuntu.
The word “Ubuntu” is a special word in many African languages. It translates loosely as “human-ness” and speaks to the importance of the role each individual plays in their community. In celebration of that, this release of Ubuntu also includes unique video footage of an interview with Nelson Mandela, who speaks on the relevance of this philosophy today.
Sounds good to me, I’ll get around to installing it sometime soon (I’ll probably be patient and wait for the CDs to arrive rather than downloading it).