Apple let Snow Leopard out of its cage earlier this autumn, and Canonical will release another beast this week: Karmic Koala, otherwise known as the open-source operating system Ubuntu 9.10. This comes on the heels of Microsoft's launch of Windows 7, a major update of Vista.
There are hundreds of different versions or distributions of Linux, some pitched for general use and others for specific needs or tasks such as high security, older machines or multimedia. In the five years since its launch, Ubuntu has risen to become one of the most popular.
Linux is popular running servers or embedded systems, but it remains a minority sport as a desktop operating system. Desktop Linux use figures are difficult to pin down and highly contested. Some put the figures as low as 1% while Linux enthusiasts say that figure is closer to 12%. As Bruce Byfield wrote earlier this year when looking at the figures, choose your logic and choose your figure.
Based on the Debian flavour of Linux, Ubuntu has focused on trying to bring Linux to the masses, promising "Linux for Human Beings". I'm going to put Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 head-to-head in this review.