Big dreams for Ubuntu Ocelot

Oneiric Ocelot. It’s the name of the next release of Ubuntu, which was announced earlier this week by Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth.

The name is reserved for the Ubuntu 11.10 release scheduled for debut in October 2011 and follows the long tradition of giving Ubuntu releases names based on animals. In this case it is the Ocelot, a leopard-like cat. The Oneiric name refers to dreaming, obviously implying the intentions for the next release of Ubuntu.

In this case, says Shuttleworth, the name neatly sums up the intentions of the 11.10 release as “part daydream, part discipline.”

With Ubuntu Natty Narwhal to be released in April 2011, Shuttleworth says that it is now time to look forward to its successor. New versions of Ubuntu are released every six months in April and October.

“We’ll need to keep up the pace of innovation on all fronts post-Natty,” he said. “Our desktop has come together beautifully, and in the next release we’ll complete the cycle of making it available to all users.” The Ocelot release will ship with both the OpenGL Unity interface as well as a 2D version of the desktop for older machines or those with lower specifications.

Mark ShuttleworthThe Natty Narwhal release is scheduled to ship with the new Unity interface as default for the first time. Unity is built on Ubuntu’s original netbook interface design and replaces Gnome as the default. Ocelot in October will presumably extend the capabilities of the OpenGL and Unity interface while still catering for older machines with the 2D desktop.

A big addition in Ubuntu Ocelot will be the inclusion of Qt, the interface framework that was, until recently, being championed by Nokia. Qt is already in extensive use elsewhere in the open source world, especially in the mobile world, but has not until now been included in Ubuntu. Qt is a cross-platform framework for developing interfaces and adds new opportunities for developers wanting to work with Ubuntu and also opens up the potential for KDE applications to be worked into Ubuntu.

Looking ahead

Although Ubuntu Ocelot is only scheduled for release in October, Shuttleworth and his team are looking even further ahead than that. He said that April 2012 is planned as a long-term-release so the developers would need to start making decisions about what is most suitable for that release. Standard Ubuntu releases are supported for 18 months while long term releases are supported for three years on the desktop and five years on servers.

Shuttleworth said that in the cloud arena particularly the development team will be looking to scale down the number of services supported. “We’ll have to tighten up and make some firm decisions about the platforms we can support for 12.04 LTS,” he said.

Although Shuttleworth and his team are already gearing up for the Ocelot development cycle they have one major thing ahead of them – next month’s Natty Narwhal release, in particular Natty’s new desktop interface which is sure to stir up a lot of debate.

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Big dreams for Ubuntu Ocelot