Hardy Heron is the code name for version 8.04 of Ubuntu, the open source Debian-based Linux distribution. It is widely recognized as one of the most easy-to-use desktop Linux distributions for novice users. Canonical Software, the sponsor for Ubuntu, has released Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition to target the enterprise IT market, competing with Red Hat and SUSE Linux.
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Hardy Heron can be run on a PC without uninstalling other operating systems. It may be downloaded or started up from a LiveCD inserted while Windows is running. When users open Hardy Heron for the first time, a virtualization application called Wubi will allow them to create a virtual Ubuntu installation inside of Windows. The next time they boot up, Ubuntu will be available as a boot option.
In general, Hardy Heron improves on earlier versions of Ubuntu by upgrading previous functions and software rather than adding new features. The operating system includes support for CD burning, a BitTorrent client, more wireless drivers and virtual network computing (VNC). Users that dualboot into either Windows and Ubuntu are also now able to read and write directly to the Windows partition. The update also features stronger encryption and improved support for third-party plugins and drivers.
Hardy Heron is the second version of the operating system to be released under Ubuntu's Long Term Support (LTS) agreement. LTS includes security updates for five years and three years of desktop support. Hardy Heron was released in April 2008 and succeeded Gutsy Gibbon.