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.
Ubuntu Software Center
With Ubuntu 9.10 the Ubuntu Software Center (UBC) was introduced. It was an improvement on the Synaptic manager. But now with Ubuntu 10.04 the USC will finally take over as the sole installation tool for Ubuntu. Synaptic, GDebi, and even the Update Manager will all be replaced by USC.
Hopefully the USC will include the ability to install more than one piece of software at a time.
Mark Shuttleworth’s Announcement
Attendees at Atlanta Linux Fest’s breakout session Ubuntucon were among the first to hear the Lucid Lynx announcement straight from Mark Shuttleworth himself.
Software Coming Out/In
With the launch of 9.10 Ubuntu decided to take out Pidgin IM client. Instead they made Empathy (edit – thanks guys typed the wrong thing) the main IM client. I tried it and didn’t like it. Pidgin may be lacking in video conferencing but it still has a lot of features that I have grown very accustomed to.
With the launch of 10.04 the rumor is going around that this time they are going to be taking out Gimp. Yeah the program that is like Photoshop on Linux. Infact with some customization and some plugins I have seen some tutorials and screen casts that show that Gimp can do the same things as Photoshop.
Ubuntu tries to keep things simple for the user and they feel that Gimp is a bit complex. I agree, it is not for the average user. It does take some basic knowledge what you want to accomplish. But still it is a very powerful program. Because it is Linux you will have the ability to install it after your initial install but by default Ubuntu is only going to provide F-Spot.
F-Spot will allow most users the ability to edit the photos as they need and want. If Gimp is like Photoshop F-Spot would be like Elements. It will work for most people but I will be removing it and installing Gimp as I know that is what I want and need.
I have heard rumors about a new menu named “MeMenu” coming out with this launch. I don’t know a whole lot about this as it just came to my attention recently. In short what I understand it to be is that it will be a menu that is built around the Social Networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.).
For a quick explanation about it look at the Ubuntu Wiki
Things I hope or wish for in Ubuntu 10.04
I know we all have our wishes and hopes as the new versions of Ubuntu are released. Again I am not a professional or an expert with Linux. I am still learning. But I still recommend Ubuntu to friends, family and heck even strangers now. But there are things that could be a bit better.
First, I want wireless to work out of the box. When I first started with Ubuntu 8.04 it was horrible. I still to this day have no clue how my friends where able to get it working. They had to install ndiswrapper and download the .exe (that just sounds wrong) and configure it. I swear it was a shot in the dark at time. Even with a supported card it is not easy. It is easier yes, but it could be better.
Second, sound. I have always been able to tell that the sound is not as good as it could be. I admit it has gotten better with the launch of 9.04 and I hope that it continues to get better. But it still feels that it is lacking.
With the help in these two areas I think Ubuntu would have a good stable foundation to stand on. Wireless is the only thing I always cringe about when I talk to others about Ubuntu. But even with that I still think Ubuntu is a very solid OS.
My Thoughts About Ubuntu 10.04
Since I have been using Ubuntu I always get excited with a new launch. It is like a new present every six months. Only it is a free present. It almost brings new life to my computer too. I know the hardware and how it is supposed to work. It is nice to have a fresh clean install and start all over again with the new tricks, tips and tweaks that I have discovered in the past six months.
With the launch of Ubuntu 10.04 my excitement is just as that as a young boy who still believes in Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. There are some added features that I am excited for and another that I am really excited for and that is for the stability in 10.04. As Ubuntu evolves the user interface is coming along. It is becoming a bit more pretty or enjoyable to the eye (I was never fond of the brown, sorry).
I feel that 10.04 will be a good solid OS for those new to Linux and even for those who just want to give the new Linux a try. I feel with the new eye candy that is going into this release it will be more appealing to the new users. And another factor is the economy. How can you argue with a free OS. Instead spend the money on better hardware and still get a great looking and solid OS.
I am looking forward to 10.04 and I hope you are too. Let me know what you think.