Mark Shuttleworth the founder of Ubuntu announced this week that the next LTS version of the OS will be Ubuntu 8.04, which is scheduled for April 2008. If you’re not familiar with the Ubuntu naming system, LTS stands for Long Term Support and it means that security fixes and desktop support will be available for up to 5 years. The general Ubuntu release cycle moves quickly with a new version every 6 months but this isn’t practical for potential business users. Home hackers like myself love the idea of getting something new that often and tinkering with it but for a business or any other kind of organisation really, they want something they know can be relied on for years and not months.
The announcement came at the Ubuntu developer conference in Portland, Oregon, USA this week and it shows a clear intention from Ubuntu to get serious with business customers. They’re already doing very well in the home desktop field but have never quite caught up to the like of Red Hat and Novell on the enterprise desktop. Shuttleworth announced that Canonical hoped to make a regular LTS Ubuntu release “approximately every 2 years” and this seems like a sensible schedule.
It remains to be seen if Ubuntu can eat into the enterprise desktop market but the product has come a long way in 2 years, with the new Dell partnership and strong rumours that HP is keen to sign up too, who knows where Ubuntu could be in 2 years from now. There’s a good chance it will still be on my home desktop anyway that’s for sure 🙂