Ubuntu Opens Up Development for LTS 8.04, Due in April 2008
Published: September 4, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
On the heels of successive alpha releases for the future Ubuntu Linux distribution, Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu community manager that works with the Ubuntu community and Canonical, the commercial entity behind the popular variant of Debian Linux, announced its plans for 'Hardy Heron,' the next iteration of Ubuntu that will come with long-term support.
As we have previously reported, the rumor mill had it that Canonical would create a Long-Term Support (LTS) spin of its Linux sometime early next year, with April being the most likely time. Executives at Canonical had hinted in past months that this would probably happen, but last week Bacon confirmed the plans in his personal blog; Ubuntu also sent out email notifications about Hardy Heron to its lists.
'Gutsy Gibbon," which is in alpha release right now, is rapidly heading toward launch on October 18. This will be a normally supported Linux distribution, meaning it has support for security and other patches for desktops and servers for at least 18 months. With the LTS distribution, Ubuntu and Canonical provide three years of support for desktops and five years of support for servers, and as such, this is really something that is provided for commercial IT operations where no one wants to touch a machine that is working properly. Even applying security patches is something that most IT shops hate to do, since they do not want to destabilize a working machine, given the immense grief this causes to business operations.
By opening up the release cycle for Hardy Heron, the Ubuntu community is asking for Ubuntu users the world over to contribute ideas to what should be included in or fixed in the Debian variant--a process that is called blueprinting. Not all of the Ubuntu blueprints are accepted, of course, and even those that are may not result in code that appears in the final product in any given release. (You can toss your ideas into the mix here.)
While Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's founder, normally does the announcement, Bacon was given the task this time out. He did not provide any technical details on the upcoming Ubuntu 8.04 LTS release. "With the opening of each new release cycle of Ubuntu, we have more and more opportunity at our fingertips," he said in the announcement notice. "Not only are our friends in the upstream world constantly innovating and extending their applications and software, but the Ubuntu community continues to see incredible growth in its diverse range of areas such as packaging, development, documentation, quality assurance, translations, LoCo teams and more. 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."
The Ubuntu community will be hosting the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, following the launch of the Gusty Gibbon release, and that is when all of the proposed blueprints will be gathered up and sorted out so work can begin on the new Ubuntu LTS release.
Ubuntu is a popular variant of Linux, but it is not as widely used in corporations as distributions from Red Hat or Novell--or if it is, data center managers do not know about it. But Ubuntu has its fans among some big IT players. Sun Microsystems has worked with Canonical and the Ubuntu community to get Ubuntu certified on its "Niagara" Sparc T1-based servers, and Dell recently announced that it would pre-install Ubuntu on PCs in Europe. Hewlett-Packard is offering support for Debian Linux, too. If any Linux distro has a chance of becoming the third most popular distro, then Ubuntu has as good of a chance of being number three as Oracle Enterprise Linux, Oracle's clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
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