If you’re asking, “What’s Ubuntu?” then listen up; the answer could be “the future of the PC.”
Ubuntu is a version of the open source Linux operating system, like RedHat [NYSE:RHT] and others, which has been gaining headway against the Microsoft [NASDAQ:MSFT] Windows juggernaut with the recent popularity of netbooks and other simple, Internet-oriented devices. Ubuntu, which is developed mainly by a company called Canonical, says that their next major release is due out in April, and it’ll be called Jaunty Jackalope. Not exactly “Vista” or “Leopard,” but following in Ubuntu’s alphabetical naming scheme.
While Canonical is releasing a minor update in a month, Intrepid Ibex (are you noticing a naming pattern?), April’s version — which will be 9.04, as opposed to next month’s 8.10 — will focus mainly on speed. That’s territory where Linux versions are quickly gaining an advantage over Windows, each successive release of which seems to be more bogged down and hardware-hungry than the last.
The new Jaunty Jackalope version promises “booting or resuming Ubuntu blindingly quick,” and a “blurring of web services and desktop applications.” Elaborating a bit, Canonical’s CEO mentioned that the company is trying to conflate deskop apps with web services — “weblications” — in a way that will make Ubuntu a seamless Web-desktop environment. The company is also reportedly placing a premium on its cloud computing research. Could it be that the future of the PC operating system is light, local software serving as a conduit for a Web-based desktop? That sounds good from this blogger’s seat.