Ubuntu has touched the lives of many among us in different ways. I can’t speak for everyone here and hence I will share a few of my experiences with Ubuntu. For me, Ubuntu was the gateway to Linux and the whole open source way of thinking. Ubuntu taught me that computers are not all about Windows OS and that there are far better alternatives than the “default” Windows desktop which you have been made to see and learn from a younger age. Lets go back in time and see how Ubuntu evolved over the years to become what it is now – a totally awesome, user friendly and fast changing Linux based distro for human beings.
A Brief History of Ubuntu
A new version of Ubuntu is released every 6 months and as of Oct 2010, a total of 15 stable releases of Ubuntu has happened. Each release also has a specific code name which are made using an adjective and an animal with the same first letter (e.g. Hardy Heron, Maverick Meerkat). We will have a brief overview of each one of them below. Read on.
Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)
Ubuntu 4.10 codenamed “Warty Warthog” marked the beginning of a new kid in the block, the first and foremost release of Ubuntu by Canonical foundation. This new Linux distro was based on Debian and aimed at giving new users a trouble free experience of Linux. This release also crucially brought the Ubuntu shipit feature where by users could get Ubuntu installation CD’s mailed to their homes for free through a simple signup. Shipit was one of those important features that augmented the widespread adoption of Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog)
Ubuntu 5.04 codenamed “Hoary Hedgehog” was released on 8 April 2005. From this second release onwards, massive changes started to trickle in. Ubuntu 5.04 added many new features including an update manager, upgrade notifier, readahead and grepmap, suspend, hibernate and standby support, dynamic frequency scaling for processors among many other major improvements. Ubuntu 5.04 even introduced support for installation from USB devices.
Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger)
Ubuntu 5.10 codenamed “Breezy Badger” was released on 12 October 2005, the third stable release of Ubuntu by Canonical. Ubuntu 5.10 added several new features including a graphical bootloader (Usplash), an Add/Remove Applications tool, a menu editor, an easy language selector, crucial logical volume management support, full Hewlett-Packard printer support, OEM installer support among others. More importantly, this release also brought in Launchpad integration for bug reporting and software development.
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake)
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS codenamed “Dapper Drake” was released on 1 June 2006. It was also the first Long Term Support(LTS) release. This was also the only time when the Ubuntu release cycle was slightly pushed forward by 2 months owing to all sorts of delays. Many new features were introduced including having the Live CD and Install CD merged onto one disc, a graphical installer on Live CD, a network manager for easy switching of multiple wired and wireless connections, implementation of Humanlooks theme among other improvements.
Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)
Ubuntu 6.10 codenamed “Edgy Eft” was released on 26 October 2006, Canonical’s fifth Ubuntu release. Tomboy and F-Spot became the new default applications for Ubuntu. Human theme also went through heavy modifications.
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
Ubuntu 7.04 codenamed “Feisty Fawn” was released on 19 April 2007. This release has a very special significance as far as I am concerned. Well, this was my first ever Ubuntu. I was a complete noob to the whole Linux way of life then and barely installed Ubuntu in my laptop with the help of friends and Ubuntu Forums. And the primary reason for trying out Ubuntu was Compiz to be frank. In those clogged XP-Vista days, Compiz was(and it still is) a breath of fresh air. Meanwhile, check out these stunning Compiz Experimental Plugins
for a change.
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)
Ubuntu 7.10 codenamed “Gutsy Gibbon” released on 18 October 2007. Ubuntu 7.10 introduced Compiz Fusion as a default feature. This seventh release of Ubuntu also marked the introduction of full NTFS support.
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)
Ubuntu 8.04 codenamed “Hardy Heron” was released on 24 April 2008. This was the second LTS version of Ubuntu. In my opinion, this release had one of the best designed Ubuntu wallpaper as default. Brasero disc burner and transmission bit torrent client were introduced during this release. Controversial Pulse Audio became the new default system sound server. This release also introduced Wubi installer using which you can install Ubuntu inside Windows without repartitioning the disk.
Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
Ubuntu 8.10 codenamed Intrepid Ibex was released on 30 October 2008. It was the ninth Ubuntu release and it was also one of my favorite releases. This release introduced useful Ubuntu Live USB creator application. Guest session functionality was also introduced during Intrepid Ibex release.
Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” was released on 23 April 2009. This release marked the first time that all of Ubuntu’s core development moved to the Bazaar distributed revision control system which is designed to make it easier for anyone to contribute to free and open source software projects. Faster boot time was another major achievement of this release.
Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
Ubuntu 9.10 codenamed “Karmic Koala” released on 29 October 2009. From this release onwards, Ubuntu slowly started to shift gears. A slew of changes started to flood Ubuntu. During Ubuntu Karmic’s release cycle, Canonical introduced the One Hundred Paper Cuts project, focusing developers to fix minor usability issues. This was a major move and it helped bring a lot of polish for Ubuntu in the latter releases. This release also introduced Ubuntu Software Center which went on to become the application that received enormous amount of attention later on.
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
Ubuntu 10.04 codenamed “Lucid Lynx” was released on 29 April 2010. Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” is my favorite release to date and it brought about the biggest amount of changes ever. Ubuntu had a complete branding makeover during this release cycle. Even the brown theme was ditched for the first time for a more bright and pleasant looking “Light” inspired theme. Browse through the amount of changes Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx went through.
Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)
Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed “Maverick Meerkat” was released on 10 October 2010 (10.10.10) at around 10:10 UTC. Close to the heels of Ubuntu Lucid release, Ubuntu Maverick was also packed with new features and improvements. Ubuntu Software Center became one of the applications that received maximum amount of attention. Canonical’s attention to detail started showing up big time during Ubuntu 10.10 release cycle.
Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)
Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” was perhaps *the* most controversial Ubuntu release ever. Canonical introduced Unity shell with Ubuntu 11.04 which created quite a furore among its vast user base. Unity was Ubuntu’s answer to GNOME 3.0′s GNOME Shell desktop, though Ubuntu 11.04 was still based on previous GNOME 2.x.
Reactions from users was not really what Canonical would have hoped for. Unity was far less customisable when compared to good old GNOME 2.x based desktops and that was simply unacceptable to many long-term Ubuntu users.
Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)
Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed “Oneiric Ocelot” was the first GNOME 3.0 based Ubuntu release. Oneiric did not brought in sweeping changes like its predecessor did. But it does brought in a lot of polish to the controversial Unity UI. LightDM replaced GDM as Ubuntu’s new default login screen. Classic Gnome Desktop was completely ditched in favor of Unity 2D during this release cycle. If you are interested, here is a quick screenshot tour of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)
At the time of writing this article, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS codenamed “Precise Pangolin” is only a few weeks away from its final release. Precise has a lot to offer for those Unity users who are expecting improvements in the overall stability of the OS.
Quicklists have been introduced as a default feature for the very first time. Apart from the usual three Unity lenses (Applications, Files and Music), there is an additional Video lense too which lets you select and play videos from a variety of sources ranging from your local collection to YouTube Movies, BBC iPlayer and TED Talks to name a few. HUD is default now (don’t worry, menus are still there). Default launcher behavior is set to “always visible” instead of “dodge windows”. Rhythmbox is back again replacing Banshee as the default music player.
Do read our comprehensive report on what’s new in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Special thanks to Wikipedia for screenshots of earlier versions of Ubuntu. Thank you for reading.