ubuntulogo.pngI always enjoy it when a new version of an operating system hits the streets. I like moving through all the new features, finding out what was included and what was left out and generally enjoying myself for a few hours just looking around. But then, I’m a geek. I know not a ton of other people share this passion on the public blog.

Even if you’re not as passionate about new operating systems as I am, if you’re at all a Linux fan you should be excited about the latest Ubuntu release. Why? Because it’s going to fix one of the four major issues keeping Linux off desktops.

In short, here’s my major beefs with my favorite operating system.

  1. No way to configure X.org without hacking a text configuration file.
  2. Lack of modern games developed for Linux.
  3. Lack of minty, fresh off the shelf drivers for all the latest video cards.
  4. Inability to purchase bare metal machines without paying the Microsoft Tax. (Starting with Dell however, this may be going away fast).

Notice that three of them are interrelated? Graphics, graphics, graphics. This is the major blockade that’s keeping Linux from moving more swiftly on to the desktop. Thankfully with the new X.org (7.3) which will begin to make appearances in Gutsy (7.10) will go a long way towards fixing this issue.

Not only does X.org 7.3 have much better monitor autodetection, come with a new Intel driver and have RandR support (think output hotplug – or fast switching of monitors or output devices) but it will also jive with BulletProofX and DisplayConfigGTK.

So what the heck are those things? BulletProofX is an attempt to have Ubuntu always boot into a graphical environment, even if the xorg.conf file is bad. Think of it as a failsafe mode. From this 800×600 or 600×400 screen you can use DisplayConfigGTK to configure a new xorg.conf file.

dualmonitors.jpgAnd what’s so special about DisplayConfigGTK? It’s a graphical way to adjust your display! Not only does that rhyme, but it’s bringing Linux in line with every other major operating system out there. You can now adjust your display settings, set up a dual-monitor system or have several display profiles and you can do it all graphically. Finally!

All of this is new stuff, and it may not all make it into Ubuntu 7.10, as many aspects are fairly modular but it’s a damned good start.

Hats off to all the folks who are working on these projects, from the X.org folks to the Ubuntu developers to the Janes and Joes like you and I who test the Alpha and Beta releases and provide bug reports. This is a huge step forward and we should all be proud.