Ubuntu 10.04: A Closer Look

Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced objectives for Ubuntu 10.04, a.k.a "Lucid Lynx," to attendees of the Atlanta Linux Fest (more conference coverage) last week.  Here's a look at the major points highlighted by Shuttleworth, and what they mean for the future of Ubuntu.

First, the video of Shuttleworth's remarks:

And now some thoughts...

LTS release

Shuttleworth's first major point of emphasis is that 10.04 will be Ubuntu's third long-term support (LTS) release, coming two years after 8.04, the last LTS version.  This achievement, he said, demonstrates Ubuntu's ability to deliver releases on a reliable schedule.

I agree.  As I argued last summer, many free-software projects are plagued by a chronic inability to stick to development roadmaps and release schedules.  Ubuntu deserves a lot of credit for having followed the same release cycle to a tee for the last five years.  Few other Linux distributions--or proprietary operating systems--can boast of similar feats.

Critics contend that Ubuntu's regular release cycle compromises quality, since it forces software to be pushed out the door before it's been adaquately tested.  To a certain extent, that's true.  But let the developer of the bug-free operating system throw the first stone.  For users who don't want to deal with the inevitable glitches that come with each new release, there's a simple solution: wait a month or two for the smoke to clear before upgrading.

Gnome 2.0

Ubuntu 10.04 will use Gnome 2.0 as its desktop environment, with the focus to shift to Gnome 3.0 thereafter.  This means the Lucid Lynx won't look very different from previous releases, which is a bit unexciting.  But it also substantially simplifies the task of Ubuntu developers, who will have a longer period to prepare for the major changes that will accompany the adoption of Gnome 3.0.  Overall, this is a wise choice.

Shuttleworth anticipates Gnome 3.0's debut, which should happen with Ubuntu 10.10, to be especially beneficial to users of netbooks and similar devices.  But for the time being, they'll have to make do with the interfaces currently available.

Eyes on the cloud

The final major point of Shuttleworth's speech is a continued emphasis on cloud computing, which has been at the forefront of Ubuntu server edition development since the 8.10 release.  Although he didn't explain specifically how 10.04 will improve upon the cloud infrastructure available in current versions, it's clear that Canonical expects the cloud to become a cornerstone of Ubuntu's future on the server.

Investment in the cloud, as I argued a couple weeks ago, is a wise choice.  It will likely prove key to achieving the holy grail of a reliable revenue stream for Canonical, and may help redefine the way that Linux is deployed.

Concluding thoughts

Lucid Lynx's release date is almost seven months in the future.  Solid blueprints for its development have yet to materialize, as Canonical remains focused on delivering Karmic next month.  But the goals expressed for the release by Shuttleworth appear well reasoned, neither too ambitious nor lackluster.

Discuss this Video 15

Jo-Erlend Schinstad (not verified)
on Sep 22, 2009
I am very happy to hear this. I'm not excited about Gnome-Shell at all, it seems to me like a less efficient solution (HIG wise) and I bet there won't be _less_ animations, which means my terminal servers will struggle. I am very excited about using dbus for everything though. The sabdfl sais it will use "GNOME 2.0", which I think is a bit vague. If it simply means that we'll stick with Gnome Panels instead of switching to Gnome-Shell, then I'm all for it, but I think we might get into some problems there. GNOME 3 will deprecate Bonobo and the panels and its applets are all dependent on it. If, on the other hand, it means we'll stay with GNOME 2.28, how will this affect Evolution and such? I've heard rumors that people are working on a compatibility layer between Gnome Panel and DBus, granting the panels the "freedom to stay in love with Bonobo". Vincent Untz is supposed to be working on that, the rumor sais. Having GNOME 3 with my old panels and applets would be wonderful! I think the panels should probably be rewritten sometime, but that'll be a rather big project, I suspect, and shouldn't be done in haste. I would love it if Ubuntu and Canonical can make sure we can use GNOME 3 with our panels and applets. Oh, just to make it clear: I don't think Gnome-Shell is bad in any way. Actually, it's quite cool. I just like Gnome Panels better.
neo (not verified)
on Sep 22, 2009
Canonical is not working on GNOME Shell or d-bus or the switch to d-bus. Red Hat is the organization primarily involved with the development of GNOME Shell and created d-bus in the first place and continues to develop and maintain it. Red Hat developer Mathew Barnes has been working on moving Evolution away from Bonobo to d-bus for well over an year and the work has been merged recently http://mbarnes.livejournal.com/3367.html Canonical isn't actively taking a lead in the development of many key projects and hence will have to fall back to the current approach.
remin raphael (remin) 's status on Wednesday, 23-Sep-09 02:0 (not verified)
on Sep 22, 2009
[...] !Ubuntu 10.04 #Lucid Lynx #LTS: A Closer Look http://www.workswithu.com/2009/09/22/ubuntu-1004-a-closer-look/ [...]
Dario (not verified)
on Sep 22, 2009
what about the 10 seconds goal they promised?
Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 22, 2009
Canonical is mostly a leech and not leading the development of anything. Let's be clear about this: Ubuntu relies on the development of Debian and does not develop much at all. It's not in the same league as Debian, Red Hat/Fedora, Novell, or even little old Mandriva. They are major developers in Linux. They contribute a lot to many projects around the FOSS community. Ubuntu mostly markets itself.
r4 sdhc (not verified)
on Sep 23, 2009
I watch this video about Ubuntu and read the all contains it's really cool. Ubuntu is my favorite operating system.. Thank you for share the video...
Adrian (not verified)
on Sep 23, 2009
But anything is better than Windows. Ubuntu has provided me a solution to escape the issues of running a Microsoft OS in a closed environment. It's great times for Linux. Its slowly being recognized as a viable alternative to using Windows. We should all get together and support and make Linux great.
aikiwolfie (not verified)
on Sep 23, 2009
The Clutter desktop that comes with Moblin looks really good. I'd like to see that as an option for the desktop. Even if it's just sitting in the repositories. I tried to build it my self but some thing's missing from my system.
Roy (linuxcanuck) 's status on Thursday, 24-Sep-09 18:49:07 (not verified)
on Sep 24, 2009
McIvor (not verified)
on Sep 27, 2009
@ Anonymous, September 22nd, 2009 at 8:47 pm: Maybe Ubuntu doesn't contribute as much to the code base of upstream projects as the other distributions do. But that's all right, because there's more to an operating system than coding. If writing good code was all that mattered, Windows would be no more than a distant memory. Ubuntu really shines in the areas of interface and usability. You'll never get people to switch to a Linux-based system if you give them a fresh Gentoo install and tell them to go wild. (Ok, maybe some people will, but not enough to mention.) Canonical is also responsible for Launchpad, Landscape, and Bazaar, which are very important in their own right, although not necessarily a part of the operating system. I think Ubuntu has done an excellent job of looking at the system as a whole instead of just a coding project.
Nillbug (not verified)
on Oct 3, 2009
".... I think Ubuntu has done an excellent job of looking at the system as a whole instead of just a coding project...." This is very true. In fact they're looking both at the system and at the end user as a whole, and by investing a lot in marketing they brought widespread attention to Linux in general. "......Critics contend that Ubuntu’s regular release cycle compromises quality, since it forces software to be pushed out the door before it’s been adequately tested."....... I think maybe Canonical could experiment a joint venture with another distribution that would work as a kind of her testing branch. We know that lots of users like to stay always at the bleeding edge of technology even if compromising some stability. So, this related distribution would work like Canonical's Suse vs Novell or Fedora vs Red Hat.
Leonel Nunez (len) 's status on Monday, 05-Oct-09 18:22:55 U (not verified)
on Oct 5, 2009
[...] http://www.workswithu.com/2009/09/22/ubuntu-1004-a-closer-look/ a few seconds ago from Gwibber in context [...]
Zac (not verified)
on Oct 8, 2009
I hope that Canonical can have a descent and reliable revenue stream. I would love to see Linux people in a paying job, and I hope Canonical can help with that. The more money they get the more they can offer full time work, and then Linux with improve.
on Oct 26, 2009
On quality of release cycles... I think this is why Canonical uses LTS releases. The releases in between can be used to test new features and implement new code without hurting those who desire the stability of LTS. I don't think anyone can argue that Canonical has not contributed as much to the Linux Kernel but as previously stated, sometimes its not just about the code. Creating ease of use and nice packaging goes a long way with end users. Creating lots of services that actually work is fantastic as well. Lastly...Gnome Shell. Oh, how I am mixed on it. If it works better than KDE 4 on release I'll be surprised. KDE 4.3 still crashes on me and is a slug relative to Gnome 2. I know that Gnome is feeling a bit dated but it works. However, I'm one of those bleeding edge folks that likes wiz bang newness. So I'm willing to give Shell a shot.
Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04LTS #8211; Landmark release? laquo; O (not verified)
on Nov 29, 2009
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