Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thinking ahead to the next LTS ubuntu release (after Lucid)

This post is purely speculative, but I like to speculate. I'm thinking ahead to the next LTS release. If the past reflects the future, then the next one should be 12.04. Of coures Lucid isn't out yet, so its hard to judge exactly how it will turn out. But besides some social networking stuff, the usual application updates, and hopefully more stability and hardware support, its not going to be a very exciting release. I'll probably use it though for a year or two while some really big changes come to the Ubuntu distro. It is my thinking about this that leads me speculate about the next LTS.

One of the biggest changes will beGnome 3.0, which, from the screenshots I've seen, seems to incorporate a number of fairly radical usability changes. It will be interesting to see exactly the shape it will take - esp the shell part.

Which applications will likely gain more prominence in the distro? I'm sure Banshee will finally become the default music player, and maybe the default video player if the Banshee folks devise a nifty way for it have a standalone video player (and I've never really liked Totem player anyway - I've always been a VLC guy). Openoffice might get around to overhauling their UI according to all the feedback on their Project Renaissance prototypes (even though the first prototype as uuuugly) - and maybe it be ready in by 1012. Hopefully Empathy will be feature complete - offering things like the ability to change the font stuff in rich ways, but more importantly, I hope it will be able to compete with Skpe on the Linux platform.

There are lots of little applications I'm excited about that aren't quite ready yet (though they are developing rapidly). For example, I want a damn good task manager (and the one in Evolution sucks hard), and it looks like GTG might step in and fill the gap. Presently I use Tasque, but the development of it looks to have stopped, so I have little hope for it. I'm looking forward to the single window version of GIMP, because seriously its presently a pain in the but to use. Video editors are starting to take off on Linux, and I'm keeping my eye on Pitivi and Openshot (though I also really like Kdenlive) - I'm hoping they will become a lot more feature rich in the next couple of iterations.

By god, I hope most of the issues will PulseAudio will finally be worked out. Many, many of them have since Hardy (thank goodness), but there still seem to be a lot more. Will Evolution finally get an overhaul? Probably not, but here's to hoping. I also wonder whether or not Netflix will finally be playable on Linux. I really hope so, but I have a hard time seeing Microsoft handing over the info on their DRM stack. Fuckers. And speaking about fuckers - fuck you Poulsbo guys. Get your shit together and put out a decent Linux driver for the hardware.

Let's see, what else? Maybe Songbird will figure out how it get in the Ubuntu repos (and hopefully by then the Linux client will have feature parity with their Windows client), along with Handbrake. Maybe Nautilus will finally give more information when copying over files (this one just makes me mad - its been years of annoyance and nothing from the developers besides petty disputes).

Oh, and lets not forget another biggie: Btrfs. I'm pretty sure this will be the default file system for the next LTS release, and I'm looking forward to it.

I'm hopeful with the release of Lucid, Linux will start to get a big up-tick in use by people who haven't really considered using anything besides Windows or OS X before. Although Linux systems still lack many of the very robust applications that Windows and Macs have, for daily use it pretty much has everything you need. The only thing that needs to change is the perception, momentum, and fear of change that a lot of users have about switching to Linux. I'm pretty excited about the release of Lucid, but I'm really excited about all of the big changes that are likely to happen over the next two years leading up to the next LTS.