The folks at Canonical are asking the faithful to get their bird on with the release of Ubuntu 8.04 – Hardy Heron.
Both the desktop and server versions of the LTS (long-term support) operating system have been put up for grabs. In addition, you’ll discover beta versions of the various Ubuntu offshoots such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, UbuntuStudio, and Mythbuntu.
The Canonical staff highlighted Ubuntu Server’s use of AppArmor profiles, which place more security restrictions around the resources that an application can grab. Ideally, this helps servers withstand attacks from new exploits.
In addition, the new OS blocks "direct access to system memory through /dev/mem and /dev/kmem, and the lower 64K of system memory is no longer addressable by default, changes which help to defend against malicious code. Many applications are also now built as Position Independent Executables, making it harder for application security vulnerabilities to be exploited."
So more safety all around.
On the virtualization front, Canonical boasted about the inclusion of KVM with the Ubuntu kernel, which should make it easier to set up virtualized systems in conjunction with libvirt on processors supporting Intel and AMD’s virtualization extensions.
Storage types can now also mount iSCSI targets.
The desktop OS flavor has new and improved BitTorrent and VNC clients and a fresh interface for mastering CDs and DVDs. The Nautilus file browser – a remnant of Eazel – has enjoyed speed and "flexibility" improvements as well.
Hardy Heron users will also see the PulseAudio sound server built into the Gnome desktop and a new screen resolution tool that improves the configuration of multiple video displays.
Windows types may be interested by the inclusion of the Wubi installer. This lets users fire up Ubuntu on a Windows machine without creating a dedicated partition. "A full installation within a dedicated partition is still recommended, but Wubi is a great way to try Ubuntu for a few days and weeks before committing dedicated disk resources," Canonical said.
Those of you keeping score at home will note that Hardy Heron puts users on Linux kernel version 2.6.24, Gnome 2.22 and Firefox 3 beta 4.
There’s more information here.®