3. Native online backups
If enterprises already have client backup policies in place, the inclusion of Ubuntu One in Karmic may be irrelevant, but for those that don't it could make data protection easier.
Ubuntu One is defined by Canonical as a "personal cloud", but it functions like any other online backup service tailored to the client operating system.
Ubuntu One can be used for backup and storage, and can also be used to share data with other Ubuntu One users.
To that end, the collaboration features may interest CIOs more than just the online storage, which starts at 2GB. A $10 per month per client subscription will get you 50GB.
4. Storage, security and virtualisation
Down at the nuts-and-bolts technology level, Karmic improves things significantly.
For starters the ext4 file system is now used by default for new installations, which supports larger file and partition sizes and has more reliability features. For stability, existing ext3 file systems will not be upgraded to ext4.
For networked storage, the iSCSI installation process has been improved and the installer will offer you the option of logging onto iSCSI targets if there are no local disks. Having the root filesystem on iSCSI is also now supported.
AppArmor has also been optimised to run faster during system boot.
Such enhancements may not be top of mind for CIOs, but they certainly go a long way toward dispelling myths about how Linux is "not scalable" or "not secure" enough for enterprise workloads.
5. Better support for Windows applications
One last thing that's worth a mention is support for Windows applications.
Let's be straight: one of the greatest inhibitors on the corporate desktop are Windows applications.
Linux and Mac OS X handle most Web applications fine but if you need a Windows application to work as expected, then fancy Windows virtualisation software may be required, which complicates things.
However, recent developments in Wine -- software that can run Windows apps on Linux -- change the game considerably and Ubuntu is leveraging this.
Karmic also heralds a new era in Ubuntu's roadmap for "proper" Wine integration, including software to manage Wine installations, and a GNOME control panel for Wine applications.
With about half of Ubuntu users having Wine installed Ubuntu admits it doesn’t "feel" like a proper part of the desktop.
For corporate IT departments wanting to replicate the Windows experience of double click software installations and running Windows CDs, better Wine integration is definitely a plus.
Unfortunately, the completed Wine integration didn't make it into Karmic, but at least it's being worked on as part of Ubuntu's roadmap.