Karmic Koala arrives this week

Karmic Koala? No, I haven’t been smoking something grown in a hippy’s window box. Like many, I’m a) fed up with hearing about Windows 7 and b) looking forward to the release of Ubuntu Linux 9.10 (otherwise known as Karmic Koala) later this week. It seems that Microsoft’s unofficial PR machine in the UK (BBC News) has taken ten minutes off from fawning over the new Windows version to recognise that technology companies other than Microsoft, Google and Apple do actually exist… and also name some of the companies who have freed themselves from the Microsoft shackles. I knew the French Police had gone down the Ubuntu route, but didn’t know that San Francisco Airport had taken the leap. You can view the article here.

UbuntuBeing a BBC reporter, Gary Parkinson does of course take the opportunity to see everything from a Windows point of view, but I suppose this is understandable. He homes in on the fact that iTunes isn’t available on Linux operating systems, and then discusses the fact that Linux (even Ubuntu) hasn’t always been seen as user-friendly. Windows, irrespective of what you think of it, has been honed to be pretty user-friendly over the years… rarely (if ever) do home users have to go to a command prompt to configure things. Thankfully Canonical’s Chris Kenyon says the new release puts a stop to all of that (I’ll tell you later in the week if it really is true).

Parkinson talks about recommending Linux to older family members or friends, but is that really where Ubuntu wants to sit, with the home user? Certainly I’d have no bones about recommending Lotus Symphony or OpenOffice to home users, and indeed I have. But I see Linux as something that needs to be properly rolled out, supported and maintained within organisations, like those named in the Beeb’s article. A lack of support for iTunes isn’t really going to matter there. Home users (in my humble opinion) should buy an Apple Mac… it’s businesses that have the potential to decrease costs through properly maintained open-source software. Whatever your opinion, it’s very important that Microsoft have competitors in this space, and thus improvements to Ubuntu can only be a good thing.

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