The Ubuntu Linux project hopes to release later this year a groundbreaking product that could include support for virtualisation and some mixed 32- and 64-bit architectures.
The next update to the Ubuntu version of Linux -- Dapper Drake -- is set for release on June 1, six weeks later than originally planned. The project will recommend this operating system release for people who need "super-solid and super-predictable results," Ubuntu's founder, Mark Shuttleworth, said on Wednesday.
In contrast, the subsequent release, Edgy Eft, will be "cutting-edge, perhaps bleeding edge" with "brand-new code and infrastructure," he said.
"An eft is a youthful newt, going through its first exploration of the rocky territory just outside the stream. And that's exactly what we hope the development team will do with Ubuntu during the Edgy cycle -- explore slightly unfamiliar and uncharted territory that is perhaps a little out of the mainstream," Shuttleworth wrote in an e-mail to project members.
Although the Ubuntu distribution is less than two years old, it has risen in popularity among the Linux community.
Edgy Eft is scheduled for release around October 2006. It may include features such as support for XGL graphics software and the Smart Package Manager, which promises to make it easier to install and upgrade software.
"So dream a little about Xen for virtualisation, Xgl/AIGLX and other wonderful wobbly window bits, the goodness of Network Manager, a first flirt with multiarch (multiple architecture) support for true mixed 32-bit and 64-bit computing on AMD64, the interesting possibilities of the SMART package manager...and other pieces of infrastructure which have appeared tantalisingly on the horizon," Shuttleworth said in the e-mail.
But Shuttleworth said he will not be deciding what features will be in the release, and that it is up to the community to decide.
"I'm promising to impose (almost ;-) ) zero from-the-top requirements for Edgy, this release is entirely up the to development team to envision and implement," he wrote. "Almost everything that lands in Edgy will be driven from the development team, who get to play with whatever new technologies they fancy along the way. So that should give us a nice big bump in infrastructure and bling."
Ingrid Marson reported for London-based ZDNet UK. For more coverage from ZDNet UK, click here.