The fothcoming version of Ubuntu Linux, Lucid Lynx, has just gone beta and it’s going to be the most important Ubuntu release in years. I say that not just because it brings numerous important changes to this most popular of Linux distributions but because Ubuntu 10.04 is the next LTS (Long Term Support) edition. As such, is going to be supported for paying desktop customers for the three years and for corporate server users for five years. In other words, this is the edition that’s going to make, or break, Ubuntu’s parent company Canonical’s business future.
And, what will this future look like? Based on my quick look at the beta, the main thrust of this re-design is to make it as friendly as possible to people who aren’t already Linux desktop users.
With that in mind, it should be no surprise that Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, has been laying down the law on what going in Ubuntu 10.04. As Shuttleworth said in a discussion over some major changes in Ubuntu’s graphical design, “This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But, we are not voting on design decisions.” As my compadre Brian Proffitt pointed out in IT World, “Shuttleworth is in the right here. Ubuntu and a vast majority of free and open source software projects, including the Linux kernel, have never been democracies. They are meritocracies, and any member of a community that thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. ”