It's the question thousands of users will surely ask when Canonical debuts Ubuntu 9.10 in October: "Will Ubuntu 9.10 work on my PC?" Canonical has developed testing software to help you determine if your system will fully support the new Ubuntu. Here are the details.

During the Atlanta Linux Fest held Sept. 19, Canonical and Ubuntu volunteers used a USB thumb drive -- equipped with diagnostics software -- to help attendees determine if Ubuntu 9.10 can fully run on their systems.

Here's how it works:

First, I used the Canonical USB thumb drive to boot up my ZaReason netbook. Next, the USB drive's diagnostic software determined if Ubuntu 9.10 was compatible with my netbook's WiFi, sound, video and other services. The diagnostic software generates a bunch of yes-no questions that I had to answer. Overall, the test took about 20 minutes or so to complete. And it was well-worth my time.

Once completed, the diagnostic software determined my netbook was fully compatible with Ubuntu 9.10. Other Atlanta Linux Fest attendees weren't quite as fortunate. Many of them discovered their current systems would experience WiFi, video or sound problems under Ubuntu 9.10.

The Bigger Picture

But in this case the bad news is good news: Canonical is gathering all of the diagnostics test results to fix potential bugs and address as many potentual user issues as possible. Also, the diagnostics software eliminates the potential pain of installing an operating system only to discover it doesn't really work with your hardware. Kudos to Canonical for the pro-active testing approach.

Scores of people completed the USB Thumb Drive test during Atlanta Linux Fest. That's great. But thousands of additional Ubuntu users would surely like to test their systems for Ubuntu 9.10 compatibility. Stay tuned: I hear Canonical plans to potentially move the USB Thumb Drive diagnostics software online -- for anyone to use. We'll share details on WorksWithU if/when they become available.

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