system76_ubuntu_pcsAs major PC makers prepare to introduce Windows 7 systems on Oct. 22, upstarts like System76 are maintaining their focus on the Ubuntu market and preparing to preload Ubuntu 9.10 on a range of PCs starting Oct. 29. Here's a preview of what's to come.

I traded email on Oct. 13 with Carl Richell, president of System76 -- which offers Ubuntu on servers, desktops, laptops and netbooks. Richell offered these thoughts...

On how Ubuntu 9.10 is coming along:
"We've been testing Ubuntu 9.10 in earnest for two weeks. This is our 9th Ubuntu release -- our first computers shipped with Ubuntu 5.10. I think Ubuntu 9.10 is the most progress I've seen in a single release cycle. Bootup time is fast and beautiful with a smooth transition from login to the desktop. The theme is slightly darker and desktop effects were carefully chosen. Performance is improved -- particularly with Intel based graphics. Overall Ubuntu 9.10 is a very tight release. I'm looking forward to the October showdown."
On System76's plans to offer Ubuntu 9.10 on systems:
"System76 will offer 9.10 pre-loaded on release day (Oct. 29th) with shipments starting the following week."
On Ubuntu 9.10's potential benefits to customers:
"I like the goals of the Ubuntu Software Store. Although the benefits won't be fully realized in this release, simplifying software selection and installation is fundamental to easing a new users transition. Our largest asset is this enormous pool of excellent software freely available to everyone."
On Ubuntu One, Canonical's new file sharing and online backup service:
"Ubuntu One is a smart new service. Online backup and desktop synchronization are valuable -- particularly with netbooks in the mix."
On potential challenges facing the Ubuntu 9.10 launch:
"Release months are always a fun challenge. 15 products to test and launch with Ubuntu 9.10. Another 40 or so legacy products to test. Fortunately, Ubuntu's steady improvement make each release easier."

Thoughts From ZaReason

I've sent a similar email to ZaReason, another PC maker that focuses aggressively on the Ubuntu market. As soon as I hear back from ZaReason, I'll share their thoughts and plans for Ubuntu 9.10.

Over the next few weeks, the Windows 7 noise could become overwhelming. I'm curious to see and hear how the Ubuntu community holds up against the noise.

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