Ubuntu 8.04 'Hardy Heron'

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Ubuntu 8.04 'Hardy Heron'

Pros

  • Security improvements, better memory protection, PolicyKit, easy integration with Active Directory environments

Cons

  • It's beta; PulseAudio sound layer, which is not yet compatible with a lot of current Linux audio software

Bottom Line

If this first taste is any indication, Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron is shaping up to be a worthy upgrade for existing users and a good jumping-on point for new ones. Wubi, in particular, makes it ideal for anyone who has hesitated to give Linux a try before now. Look for the final version to be available in April.

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The beta of the next version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system has arrived, although judging by its stability and polish you'd be hard pressed to tell it's a testing release.

Ubuntu 8.04, code-named "Hardy Heron", is scheduled to be a LTS (Long Term Support) edition, and you can tell its developers have worked diligently to make it worthy of the title.

Ubuntu, the leading desktop Linux OS, has settled into a stable look and feel over the past few releases, and this time the cosmetic changes are minor. The familiar brown and orange colour scheme remains, as does the overall fit and finish of the windows and controls.

Other new features are likely to be overlooked by desktop users but appreciated by systems administrators. There have been security improvements, including better memory protection and a fine-grained access control system called PolicyKit.

What's more, Ubuntu 8.04 offers easy integration with Active Directory environments for the first time, thanks to a new software package called Likewise Open.

Despite its present maturity, Hardy Heron is definitely a work in progress. In fact, immediately after installing the beta, the software update manager informed me that there were already 106 updates available. And some long-time users will question the inclusion of some of certain bleeding-edge features, such as the new PulseAudio sound layer, which is not yet compatible with a lot of current Linux audio software.

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