I've been working with Ubuntu 8.04 in my spare time over the past weekend, and I'm definitely going to be reviewing it sometime soon. (I don't know how or why I let so much time slip by, but the last time I reviewed an Ubuntu distribution was almost three years ago [!!!] with version 5.04.)

As always, Ubuntu is interesting stuff. But I think moving forward it may make sense to look at this thing not so much as a "Windows replacement" but rather as the basis for a second PC and/or a PC that is aimed primarily at cloud computing activities: Email via Gmail, calendaring via Google Calendar, document creation and management via Google Docs, and so on. The world is moving on, and in some ways, Linux is more relevant than ever as a result.

Anyway, in relation to last week's release of Ubuntu 8.04, Ubuntu has set up a nice tour of the new features in the Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop Edition, which is the version with which I'm most interested. There's some good info here:

The latest Ubuntu release brings the best of open source together on a platform that is here to stay with 3 years of free updates. With hundreds of improvements and the addition of the latest version of Firefox amongst other outstanding applications, more and more users are assessing why Ubuntu wins more and more converts with every release. This tour will help you discover this for your self.

Productivity tools: Ubuntu supports all of your favorite web-based mail programs like Yahoo(TM) or Gmail (TM). But for the office, Evolution provides all the calendering, contacts and full function office email you need. Pidgin IM also puts you in instant touch with colleagues and integrates with your personal IM services simply and easily.

Browsing: Including Mozilla Firefox (Beta 5) - tested and stabilized for a platform. Faster, safer and themed for Ubuntu.

Photos: Upload from your camera or phone to F-Spot and manage, tag, share and sort your photos and upload easily to you favorite social networking sites.

Music and video: Plug in your PSP, iPod, MP3 player; share playlists with your friends; buy in the creative commons online music stores, stream more live radio and plug in more devices with UPnP.

Office applications: Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations can all be delivered through Open Office. And, they completely integrate with the proprietary office applications out there. The big difference is that they are free.

Accessibility: At the core of the Ubuntu philosophy is the belief that computing is for everyone and access should be free and complete whatever your economic or physical circumstances. Ubuntu is one of the most accessible desktop operating systems around.