Canonical has announced a new type of support for enterprises running Ubuntu that need some extra hands-on help: the Premium Service Engineer (or PSE).
A PSE Ubuntu expert would working as a single point of contact for Canonical's larger customers, becoming "virtual team members" with the company's IT staff. Canonical says PSEs will provide regular technical and service reviews, share best-practice wisdom, and help companies optimize Ubuntu environments. Apparently, PSEs will even serve as advocates for the company for future Ubuntu releases.
You can adopt your very own Ubuntu engineer for $50k a year (~£30.6k). More on PSEs here.
Meanwhile, the Ubuntu developer team has conjured up the fifth alpha release of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) today, for pioneering souls ready to test the OS on non-vital systems.
New to alpha 5 is an updated desktop environment powered by GNOME 2.28 Beta 2 (2.27.91) and the kernel nudged to version 2.6.31-9.29 (based on Linux kernel 2.6.31-rc8.) Full release notes and links to the six variants of Ubuntu Alpha 5 are available here.
The Ubuntu folks hit their release mark squarely with Alpha 5 - and if the schedule holds - the next (and final) alpha release will land September 17. Karmic's beta is scheduled for October 1, followed by the release candidate October 22.
On October 29, Ubuntu 9.10 is scheduled to be the eleventh general release of the operating system.
And now your regularly scheduled warning: Karmic Koala ain't done yet, so don't install Alpha 5 on any production machines because that way lies madness. Madness! ®