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What's Next for Ubuntu?

Ubuntu In Five Years

  • October 26, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Sean Michael Kerner

One of the reasons Ubuntu developers gather at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) is to figure out what the next version of their Linux distribution should be about.

At the Natty UDS currently underway in Florida, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has provided a new desktop direction with a move to the Unity shell, instead of the GNOME Shell. Moving beyond just the user interface, Shuttleworth has also shared some insight into where he sees Ubuntu headed in the next five years.

"I hope that Linux will be very widely adopted in five years, I see good reasons why that might come to pass," Shuttleworth said during a press conference call. "I think that the key challenges for us are first in the form factors -- we support the netbook and desktop today and the key question for us will be how we adopt and work with other form factors."

Shuttleworth sees opportunity in mobile and even for in-vehicle automotive systems. He added that currently Ubuntu is working on synchronization with mobile platforms including Android.

One particular form factor that Ubuntu isn't on yet is tablet devices. It's not an area that Ubuntu is currently working on, though that doesn�t mean that Ubuntu isn't the basis for tablet devices.

"We don't have a tablet product today," Shuttleworth said. "We are aware of people that are using the Ubuntu core as well as the touch framework that we've published to make tablets."

Beyond just form factors, Shuttleworth also sees a need for continuing efforts at improving and expanding the developer ecosystem. He noted that today Ubuntu has a six month release cycle, which originally might have seemed fast to some people.

"In an Internet world, we need to be able to release something new every day," Shuttleworth said.

He added that the Ubuntu ecosystem needs to help free up developers so they can engage more directly with their users and to enable more real-time software delivery.

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