Ubuntu: we won't moan to EU about Microsoft

Ubuntu 10.10 Unity

Canonical rules out anti-competitive complaint to EU as it gears up for launch of Ubuntu 10.10

The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro says it has no plans to follow Opera's lead and file a complaint against Microsoft to the EU.

As Canonical prepares to make Ubuntu 10.10 available for download this Sunday, the company claims the latest version of the OS is the most consumer-friendly release to date.

Yet, Ubuntu continues to struggle against the immense marketing muscle of Microsoft in the consumer market. Even high-profile supporter Dell has dropped Ubuntu machines from its website in recent months, while continuing to remind visitors that "Dell recommends Windows 7" at the top of every PC page.

"There's no doubt Microsoft is dominant in the industry and has much more marketing muscle than we do," Steve George, vice president of business development at Canonical told PC Pro.

However, George claims Canonical won't take inspiration from Opera and complain about anti-competitive behaviour to the EU - a move which saw Microsoft forced to offer rival browsers to Windows users across Europe.

"I don't think we've ever considered it," said George. "The improvements we're making to Ubunutu... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base."

"The strength in Ubuntu is our community and reach - through advocates who can spread the message," George added. "We have to find different ways of getting our message out."

New features

Ubuntu 10.10 is a relatively minor update compared to the major (long-term support) 10.04 release of six months ago.

The standout new feature is a revamp of the interface for the netbook edition, called Unity. "The user experience [on a netbook] is different to that of a general desktop," George said. "If you're using specific apps a lot, Unity will show you the common apps you've used recently."

Ubuntu 10.10 Unity

Two features introduced with the 10.04 release - the Ubuntu One sync tool and Ubuntu Software Centre - have also been enhanced.

Ubuntu One now provides a subscrption-based music synchronisation service that allows users to stream their music collection to their smartphone. Canonical will release apps for both Android and iPhone handsets, and the streaming facility will cost $3.99 per month.

The increased commercialisation of Ubuntu is also reflected in the new Software Centre, which includes paid-for apps for the first time. "We've done a lot of work on the user experience," George claims, with users now able to view screenshots of software before they download it and view a history of their previously downloaded apps.

The final version of Ubuntu 10.10 will be available for download from Sunday.

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