The next release of Ubuntu, version 10.04, "Lucid Lynx" is set for April 29, 2010. The Alpha 3 version is out, and there is much buzz about what to expect from the next release.
This release is set for long term support which offers bug fixes and security patches for three years for desktops and five years for servers. Usually the six month Ubuntu releases are supported for only 18 months.
Something that all the Linux distros have struggled with is keeping up with video drivers. Ubuntu has made a concerted effort to support NIVDIA drivers, even though NIVIDIA keeps its drivers proprietary. With this release, the Nouveau project will be the standard NVIDIA project used by Ubuntu. The Nouveau project specializes in high quality, open source drivers for NIVDIA cards. This is good news for system builders, who are major users of Ubuntu, and favor NIVDIA graphic cards. Currently, Nouveau offers full 2D support for NVIDIA cards. 3D support is not quite there yet, but there working on it.
Along with this, transparency in all areas of the desktop and in applications will be supported. GNOME 3 will be available in March, before Lucid Lynx, with additional functionality for the desktop. What all this means is that those fancy aero screens in Vista and Windows 7 with desktop stunning images now will be possible in the Ubuntu desktop. With Gnome 3 and transparency coming to 10.4, we could be pleasantly surprised with a considerable upgrade in "eye candy" for this release.
New applications include easier file sharing between Windows and Ubuntu implemented with Personal File Sharing. Gwibber will allow for easier social networking by retrieving and combining information from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Digg to name a few social sites. And there will be support for Apples iPhones and iTouch drag and drop in Rythmbox.
Much effort has been put into getting Ubuntu to boot quickly. Ten second boots has been the goal. This new release will be close to that goal. Boots from 10-15 seconds have been reported. That's incredible! We're getting closer and closer to "Instant On." Microsoft, which touted quick booting as a feature of Windows 7, takes twice as long. A splash screen has been added to start, so you don't have a period of time with nothing on your monitor while booting during that 10 seconds that is. I'm still blown away by this kind of boot time, just amazing.
Ubuntu is getting very close to being a better operating system environment for computer hardware and software than Microsoft Windows. If the public becomes knowledgeable about just how good Ubuntu is, we could see a positive shift in Ubuntu's market share.