Mark Shuttleworth has laid out the details of Ubuntu 9.10, now officially dubbed Karmic Koala.
The name follows Canonical's conventions of naming each release after an animal and the statement suggests innovations on the desktop will be based around boot times.
The forthcoming Jaunty Jackalope release aims to get boot times down to 25 seconds on a netbook, and Shuttleworth wants to go even faster on Koala.
Alongside this, the new release will also see the introduction of the "newer and shinier" Plymouth graphical boot tool, currently doing the rounds in Fedora 10.
Shuttleworth also promised a new look: "The desktop will have a designer's fingerprints all over it - we're now beginning the serious push to a new look. Brown has served us well but the Koala is considering other options," he writes in his announcement notice.
On the server side, most of the big advancements revolve around cloud computing.
"Ubuntu aims to keep free software at the forefront of cloud computing by embracing the APIs of Amazon EC2 and making it easy for anybody to setup their own cloud using entirely open tools. We're currently in beta with official Ubuntu base AMIs [Amazon Machine Images] for use on Amazon EC2. During the Karmic cycle we want to make it easy to deploy applications into the cloud, with ready-to-run appliances or by quickly assembling a custom image," he writes.
Shuttleworth also confirmed that Karmic Koala will integrate a set of open-source cloud management tools being developed at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Rather brilliantly, the tools are called Eucalyptus.
"It's no coincidence that Eucalyptus has just been uploaded to universe and will be part of Jaunty - during the Karmic cycle we expect to make those clouds dance, with dynamically growing and shrinking resource allocations depending on your needs," Shuttleworth explains.
"A savvy Koala knows that the best way to conserve energy is to go to sleep, and these days even servers can suspend and resume, so imagine if we could make it possible to build a cloud computing facility that drops its energy use virtually to zero by napping in the midday heat, and waking up when there's work to be done."
Shuttleworth promises further details at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in May.
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