Ubuntu 14.04 will be the next long-term support (LTS) version of the operating system which means, as Shuttleworth is well aware, that it must be stable for business customers and that it will need to be supported for five years.
Many new features that were introduced in Ubuntu 13.10, such as scopes, will be fine-tuned in Trusty Tahr. Other features that didn't make it into the full version of Ubuntu 13.10, but made it into the new mobile version, Ubuntu Touch, will be included in all versions of Ubuntu 14.04. Among these are image-based updates and the Mir graphics stack.
Shuttleworth offered some details on these two features. "Image-based updates," he explained, "is really important work. For the first time we can guarantee the integrity of a device running Ubuntu, knowing exactly what version of the OS is installed. I can’t wait to get that on my laptop. Yes, it will be a big change, but I can already see how it’s going to make things easier for me."
As for Mir, "The agenda of the Mir team is speed, quality, reliability, efficiency. That’s it. From what I’ve seen on the smartphone, Mir is going to be a huge leap forward for gaming performance, battery life and next-generation display capabilities. So thank you for the many contributions we had to Mir, and to everyone who is testing it in more challenging environments than the smartphone. I'm enjoying it on my laptop and loving the gaming benchmarks for native Mir," said Shuttleworth.
In general what you can expect from Ubuntu 14.04, according to Shuttleworth, will be "performance, refinement, and maintainability." Shuttleworth also invited developers to "please join us...as we shape 14.04 as a platform for long-term deployments on the PC and the cloud and the server. In particular, we will be providing OpenStack...on 14.04 for LTS deployments, so we need to make sure we meet the needs of that community for a solid core."
"On the desktop,” he continued, “13.10 has benefited greatly from the fact that it has a team just focused on improving quality. We’ll do the same again and more for 14.04. On the mobile front, we’re going to keep racing forward, the platform is too new for an LTS and we’re excited to complete the journey of full convergence. We won’t get there in one cycle but given the pace of improvement of the phone and tablet in the last month I think it’s going to be a fantastic cycle there."
This new Ubuntu, Trusty Tahr, is scheduled to arrive on April 17th, 2014. Oh, and the name? The tahr is a goat-like species. Shuttleworth describes the creatures as "shaggily suited, sure-footed and steady. A small tahr population lived on my favorite Table Mountain, and while they’ve made way for indigenous animals, for a long time they symbolized hardiness and fearlessness, perched as they were against the cliffs."