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Ubuntu 9.10: Better, Or Just Better-Looking?

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Ubuntu

Mark Shuttleworth recently outlined development goals for the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu, the “Karmic Koala,” set to be released in October 2009. The innovations planned for the desktop, which is set for a major aesthetic makeover, look nice enough. But is this the time to be placing looks before functionality?

Shuttleworth’s vision for Ubuntu 9.10 includes the following:

  1. better integration with cloud-computing environments, and the simplification of cloud creation using open-source tools on Ubuntu Server Edition

  2. faster boot
  3. seamless netbook support
  4. taking advantage of kernel mode setting to make the boot process and virtual terminals shinier and snappier
  5. sprucing up the desktop by giving it a prettier default theme

I’m all on board for making it easy to use Ubuntu servers as hosts for clouds, and am eager to see the specifics of the plan when developers lay them out.

I’m a bit warier of Shuttleworth’s focus on a better-looking Ubuntu. While making the boot manager and default theme more attractive isn’t necessarily a bad idea, I wonder if featuring it as one of the focal points of the next Ubuntu development cycle is really appropriate.

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