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News of 'Natty Narwhal' preview what's next for Ubuntu

Katherine Noyes | Jan. 18, 2011
A raft of changes are on the way for Ubuntu, starting with the next official version of Canonical's Linux distribution

Cloud Support

Last week word emerged that Natty Narwhal will support cloud computing through both OpenStack and Eucalyptus cloud platforms.

The cloud is "all about reshaping the way that people think they will consume GNU/Linux, and making it easier to amplify the effects of good skills," Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth explained in a recent video interview.

"What's important to us is that people can deploy OpenStack and they can look at it through the same set of APIs that they can look at a Eucalyptus-based cloud and the same set of APIs that they can look at an Amazon or RackSpace-based cloud," Shuttleworth added.

Audio, Office Apps

With Ubuntu 10.10 we saw app changes including the replacement of F-Spot with Shotwell as the default photo manager. Now, it was just recently announced that in 11.04, Rhythmbox has been replaced by Banshee as the default audio player.

Banshee supports portable media players including iPod, Android devices and Creative's ZEN players; it also offers integration and podcast support, among many other features.

Though it's been the subject of some debate, there's also been word that LibreOffice will replace

Qt Applications

Looking beyond Natty Narwhal, Mark Shuttleworth announced on Tuesday that future versions of Ubuntu will incorporate the Qt user interface libraries and may include applications based on the Qt framework.

"We'll need to find some space on the CD for Qt libraries, and we will evaluate applications developed with Qt for inclusion on the CD and default install of Ubuntu," Shuttleworth wrote on his blog. "We should evaluate apps on the basis of how well they meet the requirement, not prejudice them on the basis of technical choices made by the developer."

Canonical is currently guiding the development of dconf bindings for Qt "so that it is possible to write a Qt app that uses the same settings framework as everything else in Ubuntu," Shuttleworth added.

What this will mean: more choice, more applications.

'What Free Software Can Be'

All in all, I believe Ubuntu is shaping up to take the mass-market by storm, even more than it has already, and that's definitely a good thing for Linux and open source software.

As Shuttleworth concluded in the video interview mentioned above, "it's important to show the world what free software can be."


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