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Quick links to release-specific notes:
[ 8.04 Hardy ][ 8.10 Intrepid ][ 9.04 Jaunty ][ 9.10 Karmic ]



Introduction

Ubuntu is a free Linux distribution, based on Debian with the Gnome desktop environment. I've made a more detailed explanation of how Ubuntu works here. Releases normally come out every half year (barring delays), are supported for 18 months (longer for "Long Term Support" (LTS) releases) and are numbered by the year and month as well as given an alliterative animal name:

4.10 "Warty Warthog" [no longer supported] (the first Ubuntu release)
5.04 "Hoary Hedgehog" [no longer supported]
5.10 "Breezy Badger" [no longer supported]
6.06 "Dapper Drake" (the first LTS release; supported for 3 years as a desktop OS)
6.10 "Edgy Eft" [no longer supported]
7.04 "Feisty Fawn" [no longer supported]
7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" [no longer supported]
8.04 "Hardy Heron" (the second LTS release)
8.10 "Intrepid Ibex"
9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope"
9.10 "Karmic Koala"

Coming soon:

10.04 "Lucid Lynx"

The name "Grumpy Groundhog" was also reserved, for a special version that "will never actually be released, instead it will be in a state of perpetual development, representing the very cutting edge of upstream and distro packaging." I don't know if anything ever actually became of it though...

Endnotes

Ubuntu Videos!

Op-Ed:

- Anti-Virus software is not needed for Linux (and here's an example, another, yet another of AV programs being "at worst, downright harmful". Ouch!)
- the very notion of anti-virus software for Linux is about as necessary as wearing a life jacket around the house to prevent drowning.
- To mess up a Linux box, you need to work at it; to mess up your Windows box, you just need to work on it.

Why Linux doesn't need defragmenting

Security Report: Windows vs Linux

The short life and hard times of a Linux virus

Distro-watching:

The Top Ten Linux Distros
Rough Estimate of Relative Distro Popularity
How Linux Distros are related (see also the Linux Distro Timeline: Image)

Linux Distribution Chooser

Switch to Linux

Tips for Linux Explorers

Why Linux is Better

What’s This "Linux" Thing and Why Should I Try It?

Other Links:

If you need additional help, the Ubuntu Forums are immensely helpful.
The Ubuntu Guide has been wikified for fast updates.
For some really neat tips, see the Ubuntu Blog.
Some interesting (and often highly opinionated ;) articles can be found on the Blog of Helios.
If you find that you're really getting into Linux, consider attending a Linux User Group (LUG) meeting in your area.
I've been attending Saskatoon Linux Group meetings since July 2005 :)