August 18, 2010 · News · Email This Post

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again, when numerate pollsters make nasal proclamations about the naming of the next next version of Ubuntu. When gazers of balls crystal provide nifty suggestions for new new features and, of course, suitable nomenclature to match.

What will it be? A Naiant Nailtail would make a fine coat of arms, but we’re not really in the business of arms. Most of our businesses have legs. Most, I say. We could hedge our bets and go with the Neutral Newt, but it’s placing bets and seeing them through that raises the game for the free software desktop, and now’s a time of great change and invention, not a time for fence-sitting.

As you can imagine, after a few weeks with a dictionary and colouring in book of animals, I could draw this out N-definitely. The problem is NP-complete, which I’m now reliably informed by the good folks at HP means it’s provably quite difficult and not something that can be delegated to chips of the non-quantum kind. My chips are most definitely non-quantum though my bugs, strangely, are.

And so, we come swiftly to a conclusion: allow me to introduce the Natty Narwhal, our mascot for development work that we expect to deliver as Ubuntu 11.04.

The Narwhal, as an Arctic (and somewhat endangered) animal, is a fitting reminder of the fact that we have only one spaceship that can host all of humanity (trust me, a Soyuz won’t do for the long haul to Alpha Centauri). And Ubuntu is all about bringing the generosity of all contributors in this functional commons of code to the widest possible audience, it’s about treating one another with respect, and it’s about being aware of the complexity and diversity of the ecosystems which feed us, clothe us and keep us healthy. Being a natty narwhal, of course, means we have some obligation to put our best foot forward. First impressions count, lasting impressions count more, so let’s make both and make them favourable.

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