New Ubuntu Linux runs in Windows from an emulated image

The latest Ubuntu operating system, version 8.04, code-named "Hardy Heron," has a new feature aimed at making it easier for Microsoft Windows users to install and test the operating system without creating a separate virtual machine.

"Wubi" is a Windows-based installer that puts Ubuntu on the same partition as the Windows partition. Though it physically writes to the hard drive, it does not actually partition or format it -- which, of course, would defeat the purpose. Instead, it installs Ubuntu onto a disk image that emulates a hard drive.

Ubuntu users simply select the Windows Install option, then choose total disk allocation, disk drive to install to, and user account information before the installation should take over and install the OS onto the Windows partition. After installation, a system reboot must be performed before users can select Ubuntu Linux during the Windows boot manager.


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Early reviews indicate the process works fine using Windows XP, though reviewers appear to have issues completing installation using Windows Vista. Windows Users who wish to uninstall Ubuntu can do so using the Add/Remove Programs item from the Control Panel.

Operating on the Gnome 2.22 desktop, the latest version includes the newest builds of several popular programs, including Firefox 3.0 and OpenOffice. The Transmission BitTorrent client, Brasero CD burning program, and webcam program Cheese are among several new programs available through the latest Ubuntu OS.

Canonical, Ubuntu's commercial sponsor, plans to release Ubuntu 8.10, known as "Intrepid Ibex," in October. However, it's billing Ubuntu 8.04 as an long term support (LTS) release, which means it will be supported for the next three years.

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