It’s already mid-April of 2009, a year (like all others) destined to be “the year of the Linux desktop.” Let’s see, then, the improvements that have already been made in the first quarter of the year, and what we can expect from major distros later on.
At the time of writing, the current version of the most popular Linux distribution is 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex.” Version 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” will be released in four days, and the following main improvements can be expected:
- GNOME 2.26 (which includes general improvements to applications, easier-to-use file sharing preferences, a new sound preference pane, and updated GTK+ APIs)
- New style for notifications
- Support for Wacom tablets, cloud computing, and Ext4
The current stable Fedora version is Fedora 10. The next version, Fedora 11 “Leonidas”, is in beta and is expected to be released on May 26 of this year. Along with most of Ubuntu’s new features (except the new notification style), Fedora will add a guest account feature, something rather late in the game, considering that Ubuntu and Mac OS X have already had this feature for quite a while now. Another rather exciting feature is a 20-second boot sequence, which is already 90% done, and a new text-based installation interface (something Ubuntu needs to catch up on).
openSUSE 11.1 was released on December 18 of 2008. I reviewed 11.0 before it was released and I guess that 11.2 “Fichte”, which will only be released in November, will be a great improvement as well. There isn’t much information yet on what we’ll see in 11.2.