Ubuntu 10.04: A Closer Look
First, the video of Shuttleworth's remarks:
And now some thoughts...
Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced objectives for Ubuntu 10.04, a.k.a “Lucid Lynx,” to attendees of the Atlanta Linux Fest (more conference coverage) last week. Here’s a look at the major points highlighted by Shuttleworth, and what they mean for the future of Ubuntu.
First, the video of Shuttleworth’s remarks:
And now some thoughts…
Shuttleworth’s first major point of emphasis is that 10.04 will be Ubuntu’s third long-term support (LTS) release, coming two years after 8.04, the last LTS version. This achievement, he said, demonstrates Ubuntu’s ability to deliver releases on a reliable schedule.
I agree. As I argued last summer, many free-software projects are plagued by a chronic inability to stick to development roadmaps and release schedules. Ubuntu deserves a lot of credit for having followed the same release cycle to a tee for the last five years. Few other Linux distributions–or proprietary operating systems–can boast of similar feats.
Critics contend that Ubuntu’s regular release cycle compromises quality, since it forces software to be pushed out the door before it’s been adaquately tested. To a certain extent, that’s true. But let the developer of the bug-free operating system throw the first stone. For users who don’t want to deal with the inevitable glitches that come with each new release, there’s a simple solution: wait a month or two for the smoke to clear before upgrading.
Ubuntu 10.04 will use Gnome 2.0 as its desktop environment, with the focus to shift to Gnome 3.0 thereafter. This means the Lucid Lynx won’t look very different from previous releases, which is a bit unexciting. But it also substantially simplifies the task of Ubuntu developers, who will have a longer period to prepare for the major changes that will accompany the adoption of Gnome 3.0. Overall, this is a wise choice.
Shuttleworth anticipates Gnome 3.0’s debut, which should happen with Ubuntu 10.10, to be especially beneficial to users of netbooks and similar devices. But for the time being, they’ll have to make do with the interfaces currently available.
Eyes on the cloud
The final major point of Shuttleworth’s speech is a continued emphasis on cloud computing, which has been at the forefront of Ubuntu server edition development since the 8.10 release. Although he didn’t explain specifically how 10.04 will improve upon the cloud infrastructure available in current versions, it’s clear that Canonical expects the cloud to become a cornerstone of Ubuntu’s future on the server.
Investment in the cloud, as I argued a couple weeks ago, is a wise choice. It will likely prove key to achieving the holy grail of a reliable revenue stream for Canonical, and may help redefine the way that Linux is deployed.
Lucid Lynx’s release date is almost seven months in the future. Solid blueprints for its development have yet to materialize, as Canonical remains focused on delivering Karmic next month. But the goals expressed for the release by Shuttleworth appear well reasoned, neither too ambitious nor lackluster.