Ubuntu Lucid was released in April and the next release of the popular Linux operating system is now looming large. Planned for final release in October this year, Ubuntu 10.10, otherwise known as Maverick Meerkat, is already available as an alpha release.
The alpha release doesn't yet include many of the features that are planned for the final version and many of those that are included are still in the dearly development stages.
Better sound management
One of the major things to look forward to in the Maverick Meerkat are better sound controls. Sound on Linux has been a major stumbling block over the past few years with a confusion of tools available to manage sound output from applications.
Ubuntu 10.04, the current release, went some way to improving these issues and included per-application control over sound, but the plans for 10.10 are a little more ambitious.
The plans for 10.10 are not only to enable per-application control for each sound action on the desktop but for the drop-down volume control to act more like a "remote control" for all audio applications. So, for example, the drop-down sound panel will not only display a volume slider but also list the title, run time etc of currently playing songs. This will initially include only support for the Rhythmbox audio player and will also include control buttons (stop, play, skip etc) in the drop down volume box. The drop-down will probably also include a place for album art.
One thing that will be missing in Ubuntu 10.10 will be the full Gnome 3.0 desktop. Although version 3.0 is expected to be released by the time Ubuntu 10.10 is released, Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth has already said that the developers will treat the next-generation desktop with caution.
This doesn't mean that all of the changes being built into Gnome 3.0 will be absent from Ubuntu 10.10, just that some will be included by default and some will be optional extras. At this point it looks likely that Ubuntu 10.10 will include the Gnome 3.0 platform but will not include by default all of the interface changes. So things such as GnomeShell, the new way to work with files and applications, will be included as an optional extra.
With each new release of Ubuntu decisions are made about the default applications that are included in the release. This time around the major changes proposed as far as default applications go are that Firefox remains the default browser for the desktop release but that Google's Chromium is used for the Ubuntu Netbook Release version.
The default image editor with the release of Maverick will be the Shotwell application.