Well, its finally here – today we released Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, known affectionately as the Hardy Heron. Its out there, go and download it, order a CD, or otherwise taste our latest release. :)

When a new release of Ubuntu comes out, I always feel an enormous sense of pride with what our community has achieved, and what it continues to go onto achieve. Building a Linux distribution is a tough job, both technically and socially – it is a job that involves hundreds and hundreds of packages and components, thousands of patches, hundreds of bug fixes, a great many weekly meetings, thousands of emails and thousands of people working around the world and around the clock to achieve the same goal – to deliver a high quality free software Operating System that is reliable and easy to use. Not only has this happened with the desktop release, but the server release is looking incredible too – the server team should feel hugely proud for their achievements with this release; a particularly significant release with it bearing the Long Term Support commitment.

What I am most proud of though is that free software community is changing and evolving, and it is changing and evolving in one very specific way – diversity. One thing I have repeatedly stated as a core ambition with the Ubuntu community is to ensure that everyone can put their brick in the wall and improve Ubuntu and to solidify this with a diverse community in which a range of types of contribution are possible. Everyone should be able to help in a way that is comfortable and familiar to them, whether developers, artists, musicians, testers, triagers, translators, documentation writers, advocates, event organisers or otherwise – and I am pleased to see that this is happening. Every day I am speaking to people who are making the important connection between an enthusiasm to help Ubuntu and their particular skillset, and our community is becoming increasingly accommodating to these different types of contribution. There is always room for improvement, but things are looking bright – diversity in collaboration is the embodiment of free software. :)

So, its time to crack open a few cold ones, and toast to a great new Ubuntu release, and to not only toast the present, but to toast to the future – on we go towards Ubuntu 8.10, the Intrepid Ibex, lets get ready to roll our sleeves up and bring free software to even more people. :)

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