Earlier this month (May 2011), Ubuntu developers from around the world gathered at the Ubuntu One Developer Summit with the primary purpose of laying down plans for the next release of the operating system. Although not yet set in stone, here are some of the things users can expect from Ubuntu 11.10, also known as Oneiric Ocelot.
Gnome Classic goes
Something that won’t please many users is confirmation that the Gnome 2 desktop (also known as Classic Gnome) won’t be included on the default Ubuntu CD. For users that have non-accelerated hardware, Unity 2D will be included. For those with better hardware, the new Unity desktop will be default.
In order to make room for new applications on the default release CD there are a number of applications that will no longer be included in the release. Among these are the PitiVi video editor and Computer Janitor. Computer Janitor was intended to be a tool for automatically cleaning up an Ubuntu install, but could also cause damage in the hands of inexperienced users.
Evolution vs. Thunderbird
For now, Evolution will remain the default e-mail application shipped with Ubuntu, but there are moves afoot to make Mozilla’s Thunderbird the default. For now though, Mozilla Thunderbird still lacks some of the features of Evolution and lacks proper integration with the Ubuntu Unity desktop.
Something else that will be getting much attention during the development of Ubuntu 11.10 will be the Unity interface. The new desktop interface, included for the first time in Ubuntu 11.04, has been widely criticised for being a radical departure from the previous desktop. Canonical will no doubt be spending a lot of time before the next release to refine the Unity interface.
For now the focus is on improving the Unity Launcher and icons, as well as adding additional features, such as progress bars, to existing icons. Ubuntu 11.10 will be released as a beta on 1 September 2011 and as a final release on 13 October 2011.