Last week Canonical released Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal, which brought significant user interface changes to the Linux distribution. Canonical previously told thinq_ that the changes would help persuade Windows users over to Ubuntu, but the possibility of a cloud-based trial version of the OS was also mentioned.
Canonical said the trial would be available after the public release of Ubuntu 11.04, and now the outfit says it is working to put the final touches the ambitious system. Gerry Carr marketing manager at Canonical said, "We ran a beta of the online trial last week, which was largely successful in serving 13,000 sessions in 20 hours, but it did throw up some technical hitches which we want to fix before it goes live."
Carr said that Canonical is working to fix those faults over the next few days but added that there wasn't a "definite go live date yet".
Although Carr had previously said that due to rendering limitations, Canonical will only serve up a 2D version of the Unity interface, the try-before-you-buy will almost certainly help Canonical pick up a few more floating users. It should also help dispel myths about Linux distributions having a steep learning curve.
The live online trial is Canonical's latest attempt to lower the barrier to entry of Ubuntu becuse, for some, even downloading and burning a LiveCD had put people off trying Ubuntu in the past. To try Ubuntu once its cloud-based trial gets off the ground, Carr said users would only require a web browser.