The next major version of the Linux distribution Ubuntu has been announced, with the release date scheduled for April 2008.
In line with Ubuntu's tradition of alliterative, sequentially alphabetical release names, the version, 8.04, will be called "Hardy Heron".
The next version to be released will be Gutsy Gibbon (7.10), due in October of this year, but Hardy Heron will be the first Ubuntu version since Dapper Drake (6.06; released in June 2006) to be labelled as a "long-term support" release — meaning it will benefit from security updates and paid technical support for five years on the server and three years on the desktop.
Hardy Heron was announced on Wednesday on the blog of Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu community manager for Canonical, the operating system's commercial sponsor.
"Each new release gives us all an opportunity to shine, irrespective of which bricks in the project we are laying, and this is at the heart of our belief — working together to produce an operating system that will empower its users and shape the IT industry, putting free software at the cornerstone of our direction," wrote Bacon. "Thousands of us get out of bed every day, united behind Ubuntu, ready to make a difference, working together to make our vision happen. Importantly, our ethos of collaboration and freedom extends to the development process as well as the end product."
Bacon also invited users to suggest features that could be incorporated into Hardy Heron.
An Ubuntu Developer Summit, to be held in Massachusetts in October, will provide a forum for the plans to further take shape. Those users who want to contribute, but cannot be there physically, will be able to participate via VoIP and IRC, Bacon said.