Make no doubt about it, Canonical wants you, and any business you might own, to buy into Ubuntu 10.04 on the server and in the cloud.

Ubuntu 10.04

Ubuntu 10.04 features a new interface that concentrates on ease of use.

The server version, which will be available on April 29, 2010, has almost 100 open source and proprietary application providers certifying their programs on Ubuntu Server Edition. That version will include Alfresco, Ingres, IBM, VMware, Yahoo and Zimbra. It also includes improved installation and management tools for Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and Amazon EC2. And the new version is named Long Term Support for a reason, users are guaranteed five years of free security and maintenance updates.

Dell, which already supports the Ubuntu Linux desktop, has also announced its support for the server side and the Ubuntu cloud on its PowerEdge-C product line, servers designed for building cloud environments.

Testing it on the desktop

I downloaded the April 25, 2010, release candidate of the desktop distribution and installed it on two identical systems: Dell Inspiron 530S computers powered by a 2.2-GHz Intel Pentium E2200 dual core processor with an 800MHz front-side bus. Each had 4GB of RAM, a 500GB SATA drive and an integrated Intel 3100 GMA chipset. I ran Ubuntu as the native operating system on one; on the second, I ran the operating system on a VirtualBox virtual machine on top of Windows 7.

I was impressed with how easily both installations went. Sure, if you were going to set up a dual-boot Windows/Linux system you'd need to know a bit about what's going on under the PC's hood, but a bright kid could do the basic installation. (I know that to be true because I loaned a freshly burned Ubuntu DVD to a neighborhood sixth grader and he had it running in a few minutes.)