Ubuntu 7.10 'Gutsy Gibbon' brings flash and function to the operating system, cementing Ubuntu's lead as the desktop Linux leader.

Choosing a Linux distribution to run a website or a database is easy; Linux has handled servers well for years. Getting Linux right on the desktop, however, has always been a challenge - and that is why Ubuntu caused such a buzz when it first appeared three years ago. Ubuntu version 7.10, code-named Gutsy Gibbon, builds on past successes with improved graphics, simplified software installation, and a host of minor software improvements.

Installation made easy

As with the previous version, the first thing you notice is Ubuntu's novel installation process. Unlike OpenSUSE 10.3, the Ubuntu distribution medium is a Live CD, which means it boots to a fully functional Linux desktop, applications and all. Once you have taken Ubuntu 7.10 for a test-drive and made sure that it supports your hardware, all that's left is to double-click the installer icon on the desktop.

The installer asks few questions and offers fewer choices, which is actually one of Ubuntu 7.10's greatest strengths. While some Linux distributions try to provide everything up to and including the kitchen sink, Ubuntu is more restrained. The default configuration is simple, streamlined, and consistent.

Ubuntu

Adding and removing applications from an Ubuntu desktop is as easy as choosing from a menu

You get one word processor, one spreadsheet program, and a single movie player. You can install whatever you want later, and adding and removing software from an Ubuntu 7.10 system couldn't be easier. Installing the most prominent Linux applications is as simple as choosing 'Add/Remove' from the Applications menu at the top left of the screen and then picking from a list.

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