Now that Ubuntu 13.04 has been released, Caonical has started work on Ubuntu 13.10 (code-named Saucy Salamander), CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced in his personal blog. The blog gives the Ubuntu community a preview of what version 13.10 will look like.

For starters, expect that version, or at least its artwork, to have a lizard theme, since Shuttleworth has dubbed Ubuntu 13.10 the "Saucy Salamander."  This is, of course, in keeping with the trend that began with the first Ubuntu release, Ubuntu 4.10 "Warty Warthog," of bestowing an alliterative codename on each new version of Ubuntu.  Since Ubuntu 5.10 "Breezy Badger," the names have also progressed in alphabetical order, although Shuttleworth inexplicably skipped "C."  (Was it a slight, in the tradition of the apocryphal Pierre l'Enfant vs. John Jay tale, against New Jersey governor Chris Christie?  We can only speculate.)

Personally, I'm pleased that the next version of Ubuntu takes its name from an animal I could identify without the help of Wikipedia, described by an adjective I actually use in real life.  And according to Shuttleworth, Saucy Salamander is also an appropriate title for the next Ubuntu release because it speaks to Canonical's efforts to converge Ubuntu across a range of hardware devices a forge a single "Ubuntu mobile ecosystem":

The salamander is one of nature’s most magical creatures; they are a strong indicator of a pristine environment, which is a fitting way to describe the new world emerging around Ubuntu Touch – new applications, a new SDK, a gorgeous clean interface. You’ll find salamanders swimming in clear, clean upstreams – which is exactly what’s forming around Ubuntu’s mobile ecosystem. It’s a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the tremendous community that has joined the effort to create a single unified experience from phone to PC, with tons of crisp and stylish core apps

Beyond this, Shuttleworth has not actually said much about the specific goals for the 13.10 release, which is due in October. But that's not surprising, since the development cycle for the new version has only just begun. It should also be pretty clear enough already that Canonical is very likely to focus for 13.10 on the mobile and tablet expansion that has been at the center of the Ubuntu agenda for the 13.04 release.

In a sense, though, it's significant that Shuttleworth has even taken the time to introduce the new release on his blog, given that changes to the Ubuntu development cycle made it unclear to what extent Canonical would treat 13.10 as a distinctive release in the first place. Since Ubuntu developers have now adopted the "rolling release" schedule they debated earlier this spring, the Saucy Salamander will have a shorter support cycle than most of its predecessors, and may not introduce abrupt software changes.

But if Shuttleworth's latest blog post is any indication, we can expect Canonical to compartmentalize Ubuntu 13.10 at least to some degree, and to maintain some of the traditions that have been at the core of the ebb and flow of the Ubuntu ecosystem since the early days.