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Ubuntu 11.04 is here

Canonical released Natty Narwhal with features that could improve cloud functionality, Puppet Labs debuted its Faces API feature, and more Linux news.

Ubuntu 11.04 now available
Canonical released its newest version of Ubuntu operating system on April 28. The new version, known as Natty Narwhal, uses the Unity interface, and includes several new features that improve cloud functionality. One new feature is the addition of OpenStack ‘Cactus’ as a technology preview available for download through Ubuntu software repositories. Users may also notice improved power management capabilities. The next expected release of Ubuntu will be version 11.10, which is scheduled for Oct. 11, 2011.

Puppet Labs releases Faces API
Puppet Labs’s new Faces API, aims to simplify the process of extending the Puppet configuration management system. Faces enables users to directly interact with Puppet core functions, build new behavior atop them. They can also use simple API to control unrelated software, all sitting side-by-side with Puppet’s built-in tools, according to a press release. Attendees of Puppet Camp in Amsterdam, on April 28-29, got a demonstration of the new Faces feature.

RHEL fastest growing server OS
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) was the fastest growing server operating system last year according to new  Gartner market share analysis. RHEL server license revenue increased 18.6% to $592 million for 2009-10. RHEL accounted for 58.2% share of the Linux server market for that a period. Gartner analysts said the increase shows that consumers have accepted Linux as a viable alternative to Unix for mission-critical environments. IBM maintained its second-place status again for 2011, growing by a smaller 5.6% and holding 7.5% of total market share. However, "other proprietary Unix systems" took a hit, losing a full 3% of the total market share over the same period, according to the analysis. Although, RHEL took a big step in the server OS segment, Microsoft continues to hold the leading position, with 78.6% of the total market share.

Google loses Linux patent lawsuit
A Texas jury ruled against Google earlier this month in a patent infringement lawsuit over Google’s use of some Linux-related technology. The  court ordered Google to pay $5 million to Bedrock Computer Technologies. The lawsuit could reverberate beyond Google, because the patent infringement has to do with the Linux kernel used in the company's Linux servers and the Android operating system, which dominates the smartphone market. Google has a lot of litigation on its hands. Last August, Oracle Corp. sued Google over  its use of Java in the Android OS.

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