Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth borrowed Intel’s “Tick Tock” metaphor to explain Ubuntu’s plans.
The only thing that would upset this schedule, he said, would be if other major distributions aligned their releases.
Ubuntu first experimented with an LTS platform two years ago when its Dapper Drake release, a k a Ubuntu 6.06, came out and it swore that it was stable enough for Canonical, Ubuntu’s commercializer, to support and maintain the thing for the next three years, a marketing gimmick that appears to have worked.
Canonical claims its track record of delivering a commercial operating system – on schedule – every six months is “unique.”
Shuttleworth gloated over the superior predictability of open source software compared to Microsoft.
The new release, Ubuntu 8.04 or Hardy Heron, is supposed to be fit for large-scale desktop deployment and enterprise use in the face of widespread rejection of Linux on the desktop. Ubuntu is more polished than other Linux desktops and reportedly reasier to install.
Three-year support makes for longer corporate upgrade planning cycles. Otherwise the next Ubuntu 8.10 will be out in October.
Canonical is now looking for greater ISV support besides IBM with its DB2 and Lotus Domino, Adobe, Google, RealNetworks, Skype, Corel and Parallels.
The desktop distribution adds the beta of Firefox 3, an enhanced default photo manager, music sharing and better video and TV support.
Canonical is generally associated with the desktop but it has a companion server distribution that it’s pushing to compete with Red Hat and Novell.
Both the Heron desktop and server are LTS revs, but the server is supposed to be good for five years.
With this iteration, Ubuntu is dropping support for Sparc as before it dropped Power. Sparc is a Solaris play, Shuttleworth said, although the relationship between Canonical and Sun as warmer to the point Sun is certifying the operating system on some of its x86 machines such as the Sun Fire X2100 M2, the X2200 M2 and the X4150.
Ubuntu has yet to persuade a server maker to pre-install the stuff and Dell and HP, the largest of the x86 houses, have yet to even certify the widgetry.
The Server Edition adds KVM for hosting virtualization and the cut-down Ubuntu JeOS (Just Enough Operating System) for virtual appliances supports both VMware and KVM.
Likewise is providing integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory and Heron is the first release to include Sun’s OpenJDK as an option.
Java has traditionally run on top of Linux. Shuttleworth said OpenJDK is integrated.
The code is also described as having expanded network infrastructure support such as authentication from FreeRadius, monitoring from Munin, VPN complements of OpenVPN and backup from Bacula.
There is also supposed to be increased storage capabilities including iSCSI and DRDB and enhanced security thanks to integrated AppArmor policies and kernel hardening.
Come Thursday see http://www,ubuntu.com/download.