jackalopeIts no secret that Ubuntu is my distro of choice, and I like to keep up to date with the latest versions, LTS or not. I have been very happy with my Ibex to date, but 9.04 I get the feeling will be something rather special.

Its also intended to be aimed towards the Windows market (and the attracting of users from) which can only be a good thing.  I am looking forward (as always) to the release, and from experience with Ubuntu in the past, I have found each version of Ubuntu bring with it significant improvements over the last.

In my opinion 9.04 will be one of the most important releases for Canonical.  There has never been a better time to get Linux pushed into the mainstream and offered as a viable alternative to Windows.  I doubt Windows 7 will be released by the intended April 22 2009 of Jackalope.  Its no secret that Vista has had issues, its no secret that IMO MS are suffering the worst case of bad publicity in a long time.   I repeat, there has never been a better time.  A fast, functional and slightly “flashy” release of Ubuntu could be the catalyist Linux needs for mainstream migration to our beloved platform.  We are already seeing netbooks and PC’s with Ubuntu pre-installed getting good reviews and a further “bettering” of a platform which is well loved and respected, will only strengthen the viability of mainstream penetration next year.

Will it happen?  Well, I believe that if Novell hadnt jumped into bed with Microsoft, we may well be having the same discussion now about OpenSUSE.  As it is, I believe that if Linux is going to break into the “average users” home in a large way, Canonical is the one to do it.

Now, whats to look forward to in the new version?  Well it is promising faster boot times, smaller power requirements.  Maybe also a revamped theme?  Here is a list of intended release dates leading towards the final official release in April 09:

December 18th, 2008 – Alpha 2 release
January 15th, 2009 – Alpha 3 release
February 5th, 2009 – Alpha 4 release
February 26th, 2009 – Alpha 5 release
March 12th, 2009 – Alpha 6 release
March 26th, 2009 – Beta release
April 16th, 2009 – Release Candidate

On the 22 November 2008 the Alpha 1 of Jaunty Jackalope was released and can be downloaded here:

http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/jaunty/alpha-1/