Mark Shuttleworth tipped his hat to a few new features planned or the "Q" release of Ubuntu beyond the 12.04 LTS.
First, the code name of the next release: Quantal Quetzal.
In a blog yesterday, the Ubuntu captain said the next release cycle of four releases -- which will culminate in a 14.04 LTS -- will show off next generation iconography and typography and incorporate the "Quantum" virtualized networking stack.
It will also likely involve the release of another "form factor" but it's not clear what that is.
"12.04 being an LTS we’ve been minding our P’s and Q’s, but many of our quality-oriented practices from 12.04 LTS will continue into Q territory ... The effort we put into polishing Unity and the rest of the platform in 12.04 seem to have paid off handsomely, with many quondam quarrelsome suddenly quiescent in the face of a surge in support for the work," Shuttleworth wrote in his blog.
"And so the stage is set for a decision: I give you the Quantal Quetzal, soon to be dressed in tessellated technicolour, now open for toolchains, kernels and other pressing preparatory packages," he added.
What does that mean?
In the next cycle, the most respected Linux client will be further improved with font enhancements and new icon technology.
"From a styling point of view, we think in terms of quadruples: this next release starts a cycle of four, which will culminate in 14.04 LTS," Shuttleworth wrote. "So there’s an opportunity to refresh the look. That will kick off with a project on typography to make sure we are expressing ourselves with crystal clarity – making the most of Ubuntu’s Light and Medium font weights for a start."
Ubuntu is also working with the University of Reading on an iconography project to improve the look of applications and interfaces across Unity.
"It’s amazing how quaint the early releases of Ubuntu look compared to the current style. And we’re only just getting started! In our artistic explorations we want to embrace tessellation as an expression of the part-digital, part-organic nature of Ubuntu. We love the way tessellated art expresses both the precision and reliability of our foundations, and the freedom and collaboration of a project driven by people making stuff for people. There’s nothing quixotic in our desire to make Ubuntu the easiest, steadiest, and most beautiful way to live digitally.
A new form factor?
"The quintessential stories of Q will be all about style on the client, with a refresh of our theme and typography, a start on new iconography and perhaps even a new form factor taking flight. So brown is out and something colourful and light is called for.
Finally, and no less significant, the Q generation will take a leap forward on the virtualization and cloud front by incorporating the Quantum networking stack. Quantum is a virtual network service for Openstack.
"On the cloud front, the new virtualized network madness called Quantum will make its appearance. Being a first cut, it’s more likely to be Folsom than wholesome, but it’s going to be worth calling out, and the name is reminiscent of our package-oriented practices, where goodness is delivered one piece at a time,"
What will NOT be in the Q generation?
"Rumours and allegations of a move from Upstart to SystemD are unfounded: Upstart has a huge battery of tests, the competition has virtually none. Upstart knows everything it wants to be, the competition wants to be everything," Shuttleworth wrote about the event-based system for handling tasks and services during bootup. "Ustart ... is the better choice for a modern init, innit. For our future on cloud and client, Upstart is crisp, clean and correct."