It's almost that time again - time to start chatting up the next release coming out of the Ubuntu-verse. I know, I know...it seems the tires of 9.10 were just kicked. They were. Ubuntu 9.10 was well received, but now something bigger and better is coming around the corner.
But what should be expected of Ubuntu? How can they one-up themselves, after the hat-trick they pulled with 9.10? Well, I have taken a peek under the hood of Lucid Lynx and I really liked what I saw.
As you may know, Ubuntu has a very regular release schedule. Some say this prolific schedule gets in the way of users growing accustomed to the distribution. The minute a release gains a modicum of familiarity, Ubuntu releases another, better version.
On the other hand, Ubuntu offers what is called a Long Term Support version. LTS releases happen every two years and enjoys support for 3 years. So instead of jumping on every release, you can upgrade only when an LTS release comes out. Ubuntu 10.04 is an LTS release (due out in April 2010), so users could hop onto this release and ride it until 12.04 is released. But what will 10.04 bring to the table? Let's find out.
Even though GNOME 3 will not be released in time for 10.04, Lucid Lynx will be getting a major face lift. The Ayatana Team of Ubuntu developers are working on an enhanced version of GTK+ that will include RGBA support. What does this mean? You know that sleek Aero interface that Windows Vista and 7 used by default? A Linux take on that theme will be enabled, out of the box, for 10.04. If you are more visual, then take a look at Figure 1 for a reference. Upon first glance I would immediately say that theme could be taken care of with the help of a few Compiz and Emerald tweaks. It can. But 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.
Benchmarkings are out of the question as 10.04 is very much alpha. But word from Canonical is that coveted 10 second boot time just make make it to fruition. What they are doing differently this time 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.
One nice feature that was planned for 9.10 (but didn't make it) is the ability to install updates at shutdown. Another nice feature proposal is a graphical OS selector for multi-boot machines. Instead of a text-based selection menu, you will have a GUI for the selection of your os too boot.
Ubuntu Software Center
When 10.04 releases, the Ubuntu Software Center 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 USC will include the ability to install more than one piece of software at a time.
So far that's all that has been released for 10.04. But you can rest easily knowing that 10.04 will have to endure its 100 Papercuts before it reaches the public (it will go through 10 rounds of "healing"). I hope you are as excited about 10.04 as I am. I believe this could be the Ubuntu release that the public would have a hard time turning down as its desktop OS. Not only will it have a very solid foundation, the overlaying structure will be much more modern looking.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.