Two months after Ubuntu 8.04 LTS was released and almost one month after Ubuntu Netbook Remix was first showcased, Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04 has been released. This is the newest Canonical product in the Ubuntu family and is designed for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). Ubuntu MID Edition is a cut-down version of Ubuntu 8.04 for the desktop but with many packages sliced away and with optimizations for Intel's Atom Processor and mobile software enhancements as a result of the Moblin project.
With Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04, some packages have been removed, some added, and some are modified to better run on MID/UMPCs. One of the additions in Ubuntu MID 8.04 is a Gecko-based web browser designed specifically for smaller screens and with support for screen zooming. This piece of software is just called just MID Browser.
Some of the included pieces of software are Pidgin for instant messaging, GNOME's Cheese for web-camera integration, Claws Mail as the default mail client, and Moblin Media for music and video playback. A few games are also included such as Neverball and Frozen Bubble. For reading books on your MID or UMPC, Ubuntu MID provides FBReader as one of the default packages. Last but not least, there are a variety of other small applications such as an alarm clock, calculator, and contacts list.
While everything looks a bit different with Ubuntu MID Edition, it continues to use NetworkManager for managing wired and wireless Internet connections. The X Server 1.4.1 pre-release and the Linux 2.6.24 kernel also power this release.
The Ubuntu MID Edition benefits from many of the Intel Moblin projects such as parts of the UI framework, the mobile web-browser, multimedia, and the applets. This software is, of course, optimized to run on Intel's Atom processor / Menlow platform. A few Intel Menlow UMPCs we looked at back during the Consumer Electronic Show in January can be viewed here.
Canonical has produced separate images of Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04 targeted at different installations. For those just interested in trying out Ubuntu MID Edition but without a MID, Canonical has produced a special image intended for KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) installations. Canonical produces separate builds at this time for the McCaslin and Menlow platforms. Canonical had used the McCaslin-based Samsung Q1U during development while the Menlow image is for the premiere MIDs using Intel Atom processors. However, Canonical isn't gearing these MID images to end-users but rather developers and MID vendors. Significant modifications may be needed if you wish to install Ubuntu 8.04 MID on an unsupported Menlow device. There are no custom spins at this time for the recently announced NVIDIA Tegra or VIA Nano platforms. The KVM version of Ubuntu 8.04 MID is 471MB in size.
Ubuntu MID Edition 8.04 can be downloaded from Canonical.
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