Thanks to Mark Shuttleworth, more people today are familiar with the word 'Ocelot' than ever before. Shuttleworth is the founder of Ubuntu Linux, which today released version 11.10 codenamed the Oneiric Ocelot.
The new Ubuntu release includes new technologies for the cloud, server and desktop users.
"11.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution," Ubuntu Release Manager, Kate Stewart wrote in the official release announcement for Ubuntu 11.10.
The 11.10 comes six months after the 11.04 Natty Narwhal release. Among the key new items in 11.04 is a tech preview of the OpenStack open source cloud platform. In the new 11.10 release, Ubuntu has made OpenStack a fully supported technology and is shifting to it as the basis for the Ubuntu Enteprise Cloud (UEC). Previously, Ubuntu leveraged Eucalyptus for UEC. Although Ubuntu is throwing its support behind OpenStack, Baker noted that existing Eucalyptus users can stick with that technology, if they so choose.
Ubuntu's positioning for the cloud is a key part of the overall strategy for the Linux distribution.
"Since we first produced Ubuntu Server, the strategy has been to try and get it to the point where it becomes the platform for cloud computing," Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical told InternetNews.com. "The goal of Ubuntu Server isn't so much to get into the traditional enterprise datacenter and run traditional workloads; Red Hat and Novell already do a great job of replicating those enterprise stacks from Unix to Linux."
Baker noted that with Ubuntu Server, the focus is on addressing the needs for the next big shift in computing and that's the cloud. He added that in 2011 enterprise users are embracing the cloud more than ever.
Part of helping customers move to the cloud involves having the right management and orchestration tools, which is also an area of focus in the 11.10 release. One such orchestration technology is something called 'Juju' which is a way to deliver and deploy applications in the cloud.
The 11.10 release is available for both x86 and now ARM chip architectures as well.
"We've worked with ARM on the client side but we know think it's something that will be applicable for certain types of server workloads," Baker said.
Baker noted that the 11.10 Server for ARM is a technology preview, and he doesn't expect it will immediately be used for product deployments. That said, he added that people are beginning to look at ARM more seriously for a wider array of issues.
"The issues of density and power consumption will continue to increase," Baker said. "Whatever the way that the industry tries to address that, whether by optimizing Intel architectures or by going with ARM, we want to ensure that Ubuntu is the platform of choice for that."
On the desktop side, the 11.10 release continues to build on the Unity interface that debuted in the 11.04 release. With 11.10, Ubuntu introduces the concept of "Lenses" to Unity. According to the release notes, the "Places" menu has been renamed "Lenses" and now also integrates multiple sources and advanced filtering options like ratings, range and categories.
"Finding and installing software using the Ubuntu Software Centre is now easier, thanks to improvements in speed, search functionality enhancements, and usability improvements," Stewart wrote in the release announcement. "Aside from updates on the performance side, it's also more aesthetically appealing."