Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

The new edition of the friendly Linux desktop OS -- Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope -- is more maintenance release than upgrade.

Typical of Linux, hardware support still remains a mixed bag, and the Ubuntu team can't take all of the blame. Ubuntu's default open source video driver wouldn't recognise a TV as a second monitor out of the box, but installing Nvidia's own proprietary driver was trivial.

We were less successful with a networked printer, however. The Add Printer wizard spotted it right away but couldn't find an appropriate driver, and while the manufacturer does offer drivers for Linux, the installation packages were not compatible with the 64-bit version of the OS. These kinds of hardware issues remain among the thorniest problems desktop Linux users face.

These gripes aside, the latest version of Ubuntu maintains its reputation for quality while offering incremental updates to a variety of software packages. Ubuntu 9.04 is not an LTS (long-term support) release, so customers who need an OS that will be maintained through 2011 should stick with last year's Ubuntu 8.04 'Hardy Heron' edition. For those who just want a stable, polished desktop OS that's packed with the latest open-source software, Ubuntu 9.04 is a worthwhile download.

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