The new release for Ubuntu, which does biannual releases, has been designated Karmic Koala, or Karmic for short. The new version, 9.10, is scheduled for release on October 29, 2009.
Ubuntu has a unique way of doing these six month releases. After a release, they get together an interested developers conference. The latest was held in May. Developers attending the conference decided what should be in the next release. Not only do they decide on the specifications, but they assign someone to commit to implementing the specification without passing it on to someone else. Remember this is open source software, and developers can come from all over the world.
So what can one expect in the next release. Well, one of the items that peaked my interest is a new GRUB loader, called GRUB 2. GRUB is the boot loader that allows you to do multiboots. I have long had issues with GRUB and the way it trys to take over the operating sytem booting from Microsoft and look forward to an improved version. GRUB 2 also promises a faster, smoother, and flicker-free start-up.
There will be improved synchronized file sharing with other computers, which led to a new file system, called ext4. You can still use the current ext3 file system, or upgrade to ext4.
Other hardware related improvements will be an improved power management system for those running on laptops, and a new Intel video driver for those who use the Intel graphics on the motherboard.
For software applications, Karmic will embrace the Amazon EC2, Elastic Compute Cloud web services interface, for customers that would like to do all their computing on the Internet. This will lead to more use of Netbooks or what has been termed, Virtual Machines and Cloud computing.