Now that Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) is out and stable I thought I would look into what is on the horizon for the next release of Ubuntu. There are a lot of questions that I have about the next release and I have found some solid answers, rumors and a lot of speculation as to what the next release will have.
Ubuntu has committed to have a regular release schedule. I came across a lot of mixed feelings about this idea/concept. Some people feel that this regular release gets in the way of how users see the distribution. Some users like to be on the edge of technology and what the developers have made for the release. Once people get used to that release it is about time for another release that uses new ideas and concepts.
On the other hand, Ubuntu wants to offer what they call a Long Term Support version (LTS). An LTS is released every two years. This is so that instead of jumping on every release, you can upgrade only when an LTS release comes out. LTS releases are supported by Ubuntu with security updates available for five years for servers and three years for desktops. The stability and longer life cycle of the LTS releases make them appealing to hardware makers and organizations that are rolling out large Ubuntu deployments.
Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx release will be the third LTS release just two years, as promised, after the last LTS release, 8.04 Hardy Heron. What this means for 10.04 is that with the increased focus on stability there won’t be a long list of new features.
So what is 10.04 going to have? Let me explain what I found out.
No New Interface
If you are wishing, hopping or wanting Gnome 3 to be in the next release you are going to be disappointed. Gnome 3 will not be used as the default environment. 10.04 will use Gnome 2.x as the default environment with the intent and focus to use Gnome 3 in future releases. Gnome 3 is not scheduled to be released until early 2010, but can already be tested in the early stages within 9.10. If you would like to test the Gnome Shell, install the package “gnome-shell”, open a terminal and enter the command “gnome-shell –replace&”.
I read that the Ayatana team are working on an enhanced version of the GTK+ that will include RGBA support. What does this mean you ask? In short it means that the sleek interface that you have seen on Windows Vista and 7 (called Aero), Linux will have a theme that will be enabled, out of the box, to mimic that look. It will have global transparency for all applications. And this transparency will be on the widget level too not border and window level.
The Look / Artwork
GNOME 3 will not be released in time for 10.04. The Ayatana Team of Ubuntu developers are working on an enhanced version of GTK+ that will include RGBA support. That sleek Aero interface that Windows Vista and 7 use by default, a Linux take on that theme will be enabled, out of the box, for 10.04. This is out of the box goodness. This is not preferences hacking, this is out of the box, global transparency for all applications. And this is transparency on the widget level – not border and window level
Benchmarking is out of the question as 10.04 is very much alpha. But word from Canonical is that coveted 10 second boot time just might make it to fruition. What they are doing is targeting a mid-range machine to reach the 10 second time. This will mean some machines will boot fast and some slower. The targeted machine: A Dell Mini 9 netbook. If they can get a netbook to boot in 10 seconds, imagine how fast your quad core will boot!
Also along the lines of speed improvements is installation time. Ubuntu 10.04 will install (under the hood) a bit differently than previous versions. In earlier versions the install required downloads to occur first. Now downloads and installation will happen in parallels so to greatly shorting the installation time.