Ubuntu 10.10 flies Linux into the cloud

Canonical, the business side to several open source Linux platforms, has announced the arrival of Ubuntu 10.10.

The release, which has the codename Maverick Meerkat, brings with it a number of key features, most notably cloud integration and compatibility with other operating systems including Windows, Android and iOS.

The cloud aspect comes from the Ubuntu One service, a Dropbox style platform, which lets you save and sync files across computers and devices. You'll get 2GB of storage for free with 20GB expansions available for $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

Ubuntu One will now also provide a beta client that lets you combine your Linux and Windows data.

Plus, combined with the Ubuntu Mobile One apps, for Android and iOS, you'll also be able to access your data on the move, and that even means streaming your music collection from the within the app.

Ubuntu One Mobile is a free app, but you'll have to subscribe for either $3.99 a month or $39.99 for a year.

The OS has also received a redesign, with a Unity version also being rolled out for Netbooks and smaller displays. Unity also supports touchscreen input and gestures.

Finally, the Ubuntu Software Centre, which is basically the app store for an Ubuntu system, has also been revamped with the opportunity now presented to commercial software from the Centre.

"Ubuntu 10.10 for desktops and netbooks is our most consumer-friendly release yet," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical.

"Ubuntu One’s personal cloud services will put Ubuntu at the heart of many users’ computing worlds even when they need or prefer to use other platforms. Unity has the opportunity to change how we think about our use of computers and the Software Centre will bridge Ubuntu with the applications users need to switch to the world’s best OS."

Following the traditional Ubuntu timeline of X.04 and X.10 updates that coincide with the dates that they are released (always April or October), 10.10 will go live on 10 October. It is, of course, free and can be downloaded from Ubuntu.com.

The next Ubuntu update, due in April 2011, is version 11.04 and is codenamed Natty Narwhal.