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Ubuntu 9.10 'Karmic Koala' is here: 5 things CIOs must know

The latest Ubuntu releasehas some useful enhancements that should prove particularly interesting to CIOs and IT managers.

In case you’ve been too busy dealing with rogue iPhones, October 2009 was a big month for operating systems.

Do CIOs care about operating systems? Probably not as much as they used to, but with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 "Karmic Koala" (from here on abbreviated to simply "Karmic" for sanity purposes) being released within days of each other, CIOs at least have a reason to be excited about the future of the desktop.

Desktop administrators will have a unified, predictable way of managing software on their machines

In addition to the countless upgrades and enhancements that arrive every six months with each new Ubuntu release, Karmic has some useful enhancements that should prove particularly interesting to CIOs and IT managers.

It's almost as though Ubuntu is standing up to be counted among business operating systems now that Windows 7 has been released.

Here are five things about Karmic that senior IT executives should consider before disregarding Linux as an option for their desktop and server fleets.

1. The new Software Center

I was chatting with a CIO the other week and he told me how much he liked Linux, but still needed to use the command line to install a software package. Enter Ubuntu’s new Software Centre.

Karmic will include the Ubuntu Software Center by default to replace the "Add/Remove" in the Applications menu and the requirement for Synaptic Package Manager if any conflicts arise.

By its own admission, Ubuntu has too many ways to manage software. "This redundancy increases the amount of interface people have to learn, wastes space on the Ubuntu CD, and fragments development effort," as Ubuntu's developers wrote recently on the development wiki. So there!

Another problem they identified was the descriptions of available software are often "technical gibberish".

Software Centre should eliminate all this complexity. And it also means desktop administrators will have a unified, predictable way of managing software on their machines. Way to go!

2. Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud images

The ability to run Ubuntu on Amazon's EC2 infrastructure is not new, but Karmic consolidates the direction with supported images for the private Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) and EC2.

EC2 has a pre-configured Karmic image that can be used for cloud computing with updates provided to Amazon by Ubuntu.

The interesting thing here for CIOs is the portability between public and private clouds.

Even if they don't have a fully-fledged "private cloud" within their enterprise, CIOs can have a certain level of assurance that deploying an application on EC2 with Ubuntu won’t result in lock-in. UEC uses the Eucalyptus software package, which is designed to be compatible with EC2.

Linux as a scalable server architecture? CIOs should look to the cloud.

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