This is good timing–as the computing world braces for the wide release of Windows 8 next week, the Linux evangalists at Canonical have released a new version of Ubuntu. The version is numbered 12.10, and in line with Ubuntu’s naming convention, it’s called Quantal Quetzal. For those wondering, yes, a Quetzal is a bird native to Mexico and central America.¬†

There are several improvements in the new version of Ubuntu. First, there was a big push to make web apps feel more local: for instance, Gmail can be placed directly into the Ubuntu launcher. There’s also a search available on the desktop called Unity that searches your computer, the internet, and Amazon. Also hardcore open-source types weren’t pleased with that development, normal users should find it very¬†convenient.

With this release, Ubuntu is going after businesses that are still running Windows XP. According to Steve Goerge, Canonical’s vice president of communications and products:

If you’re on XP, which a lot of businesses are, it’s a great time to re-look at your desktop strategy. Windows 8 is a challenge to explain to users–it’s a big deal for them.

That attitude is evident in the landing page–it takes a direct shot at Windows. If you want to try Quantal Quetzal out, check out the download link here.

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