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Ubuntu 13.10 takes aim at Microsoft, Apple, Google

Tom Henderson, ExtremeLabs, Inc. | Jan. 7, 2014
Canonical is making a serious run at the cloud, client, server and smartphone markets.

Ubuntu warns frequently and dramatically that the process can brick a phone, and we believe this. It's for developers today, but it looks, feels, and behaves like Ubuntu's Unity interface. It's possible if you don't brick the phone on the way to Ubuntu, that you can back-grade to Android, which we did, although it had its own harrowing moments.

The good news is that like other components of this release, Canonical tips its hand where it's going, the undertaking they're going through to bring a cross-platform user interface into (hopefully) the next LTS release.

This is a spaghetti-against-the-wall release. IT organizations with an Ubuntu focus will want to pay attention to the release, as it's a harbinger of things to come. It has enough in the form of early-release apps that some portions, the attractive ones, aren't ready for release — just as Microsoft trial-balloons features before they're entirely ready for production. But one quality of this release is that it's a hell of a tease, and more so when the competitors have enormous amounts of capitalization and history behind them. The ideas and momentum seem to be crystalizing, and Canonical has a lot of work ahead of it to take these into reliable production.

How We Tested
We deployed Ubuntu 13.10 on native and virtual machines in our lab and at Expedient/Indy, which hosts our network operations center. We used a limited number of notebooks, principally Lenovo Thinkpads and VMs under Oracle VirtualBox and Microsoft Hyper-V V3. Server bare metal took place on an older Dell server, as well as into VMs on VMware 5.5 running on a Lenovo ThinkServer and Hyper-V V3 on a HP DL-380G8. Although OpenStack constructs are available for these hypervisors and others, we didn't test Hadoop clusters in our examinations.


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