On the heels of Windows 7, Canonical has completed and released the latest major version of its popular Linux distribution. Ubuntu 9.10 is now available for download from a wealth of mirrors all over the world. As usual, the installation image fits onto a single, bootable CD that also doubles as a "live CD" to let folks play with the free operating system without committing.
This new version of Ubuntu includes a new version of the Linux kernel (2.6.31), a new version of the GNOME desktop environment (2.28), and the latest major Firefox release. Canonical has also thrown in a new instant-messaging client called Empathy, a new login manager, a more secure document viewer, a better firewall, new power-management software, revamped audio support, a "faster, simplified, better-looking boot experience," and a new Intel video driver that resolves "major performance problems" from Ubuntu 9.04.
The Ubuntu team has also done a decent amount of work on polish to keep new users from getting frustrated:
Furthermore, the innovative '100 Paper Cuts' initiative organised with the Ubuntu Community allowed users to nominate minor annoyances that impacted their enjoyment of the platform. So far over 50 fixes have been committed, removing minor irritants such as inconsistent naming or poorly organised application choices. Larger scale user experience improvements include a refreshed Ubuntu Software Center, giving users better and more easily understood information about the software they have available.
You can learn more about the new release by checking out the full release notes.
Incidentally, while Ubuntu 9.10 should work on any PC or Mac, netbook users will also want to check out Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10. That version of the operating system has a more netbook-friendly user interface tweaked for small displays.