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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