Ubuntu's netbook look is coming to desktop PCs, as the Linux distro demotes its long-standing default Gnome interface. Natty Narwhal, aka Ubuntu 11.04, due next April, will set the Unity multi-touch interface as the Linux's default interface, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth says. Unity was introduced only this month with …
So much for choice?
With testing time limited I'm sure the default interface will get the most testing. Which leaves Gnome second best?
I never understand why there's always a bias towards KDE or Gnome with distributions.
Why move to a netbook interface, are Ubuntu trying to push their OS towards netbook makers?
Ubuntu's Gnome interface was already pretty basic, like Mac OSX but done badly.
Is it because the Netbook interface supports touch screen more readily?
I think your first point answers your second btw. There is a bias towrds KDE or Gnome in a distro because testing time is limited?
I think you're right
Shuttleworth is no fool: he's already looking ahead to a future where desktop PCs are less and less relevant. Apple have announced they're doing a facelift on OS X for 10.7 next year to blend it with the iOS interface. Plus ex-Microsoft Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie, warned as he walked out the door that Microsoft need to close their eyes, think hard about what the post PC future is going to look like, and the kind of devices and interfaces their competitors will be using. Shuttleworth gets this, and is aiming to position Ubuntu so it's a class leader for the future. The GNOME Shell developers, for all the good work they're doing, are really just re-inventing the wheel instead of designing something that doesn't need wheels. Of cause many Gnome die-hards who just want a better wheel today will whine loudly about this. But it's Shuttleworth's job to have longer vision than that and to plan for where he thinks we'll need be 3-5 years from now. Even some people in the Fedora project have recently started talking about shifting focus away from the Desktop and more to building a platform that people can better use to build cloud and web apps with. The writing is on the wall people.
Canonical has finally made Linux usable on the desktop, largely by giving it an attractive, intuitive interface and simplifying many common user tasks such as installation. If the developers push the envelope on the UI, so much the better. Still, I look forward to the onslaught of butthurt penguinistas demanding that Canonical allow the development of the Ubuntu interface to stagnate and instead be subject to the inadequacies of GNOME.
Yep. I agree. Been using *buntu since Dapper. I like the software, I like the brand, I like many of the corporate decisions. Like this one. Like being able to install codecs on linux more easily than on windows.
I know the tardalikes think supporting a business is some form of emotional and intellectual disease, but that speaks to their inadequacies not mine.
The biggest leech
No. The entire development community made Linux usable on the desktop.
Canonical just rode the wave.
From the looks of things, it looks like this is the way IT SHOULD STAY. Let Canonical do the packaging and the final touches but keep them far away from any of the important stuff.
People like to whine about GNOME but don't really say much.
The Ubuntu Runaway Bandwagon
UBUNTU did not make Linux usable on the desktop. Canonical emerged at at time when desktop linux had evolved to a point when it became usable and installable by mere mortals. There is nothing easier about a Ubuntu install than Suse or Mandriva formerly Mandrake or any of the other major Distros. Also, their configuration tools are short in supply and nowhere near as comprehensive or yast or the tools I used on Mandrake in 2002 before I switched to Suse as my Major Distro.
Ubuntu is a great desktop distributions but not near as innovative as you and others suggests. Corel Linux had the same hype when it was released but that was a little early before Linux became this easy and user friendly. Yes, we all want a box to be up and running in 20 -30 minutes with drivers for all devices installed and running. In my experience Ubuntu does this as well as the other major distributions.
I have been using linux since the days or early Slackware when getting X to run or sound from your box took a few days work at times. I have seen the os evolved over the years and see hype distros come and go. Today I run both Ubuntu and Suse on My two desktops. I hate all the fluff that is emerging with both Gnome and KDE but have to live with it.
Just getting tired of al the praises to Ubuntu about ease of use and tools because all the major Distros are similarly easy to use and I suspect offer better tools. I personally find the tools of Ubuntu to be deficient. I installed UBUNTU server last week and wanted a quick config job. The default install did not include a single tool that could be used for a quick config. I ended up installing Webmin. Never even realised it was still around after all these years and it was sufficient for the job. But UBUNTU offered no tools in their default install to get a quick job done.
At best UBUNTU is just a decent repackaging of Debian. I have seen nothing introduced by Ubuntu that I consider earth shattering innovation. Yes it gives a clean easy install but so what. All the other Major Distros do also.
Anyone remembers the days of installing SLACKWARE from a hard drive or network with your root floppy and boot floppy and the days you had to spend tinkering and recompiling to get basic devices and X to run. Back then it almost always required you to recompile the kernel to get your network card and sound card to work. I just get annoyed today listening and reading these discussions where people talk like it was Ubuntu that led us away from those days. When Ubuntu arrived those days were already over.
So sing praises to Linux. After 12 years on my desktop I no longer have time to get under the hood and appreciate being able to pop in a DVD or CD and have a box up and running in 20 or so minutes. Another few minutes get all the multimedia support need. And everything JUST works.
Ditto and strongly in agreement
First time I used linux was about 15 years ago, getting a usable X interface was a disaster.
I came back about 11 years ago, winmodems were not supported so I could not access my then-dialup internet.
I tried again about 7 years ago, I could not get my wireless card recognised.
Then, within the last 4 or 5 years, everything has started to come together and Linux has evolved into a usable and easily installable out-of-the-box desktop operating system!
My favourite config tool
"I installed UBUNTU server last week and wanted a quick config job. The default install did not include a single tool that could be used for a quick config"
What, you mean it didn't install nano?
One can only hope that your "butthurt penguinistas" fail...
Used them all since Caldera & RH5.2, Mandrake was way ahead of Ubuntu in ease of use. I don't miss recompiling or configuring sox at all...
Nano ? Pah !
Real men use vi. I won't hear a word said against it.
Here's hoping they polish Unity
I have tried to used Unity on my netbook, and it is not ready for prime time. It is slow, clunky, and buggy on a machine that lacks the horsepower for such a cutesy interface. And, the sidebar cannot be overlaid, which really messes up most of the netbook applications that are already pressed for space on a 1024 x 600 screen. I sincerely hope they make Unity a whole lot more configurable by the time Ubuntu 11.04 comes out.
They're moving it to Compiz, which is a lot faster, by all accounts.
Given the work that they've put in to Ubuntu, publishing the next version with a half sorted desktop would be suicide and thus isn't going to happen.
I agree.. for netbooks, tablets etc, really, a simple lightweight interface should come first. Memory is also at a premium on these things, not just CPU might. I personally think xfce is a a reasonable choice.
But in all fairness to Ubuntu, while I do not use it, they are providing some form of.... err... direction that perhaps is necessary for gnu/linux as an OS to become more widely used.
The motivations behind unity i can well understand. It's just that I wonder about the wisdom in such a bloated choice on such platforms.
Maybe they will get it right eventually. God knows aqua/OS X in its first incarnation was godawful.
Spellchecker panic? proofreader on leave?
There are so many things wrong in that article that I am not even going to start. Ok, one: it is the first time since primary school that I see someone write become in two words ...
A for GNU/Linux: I run Debian because Ubuntu cannot handle upgrades properly.
As for friends on Windows, I tell them to get a Mac. There are cheap Mac Mini's on ebay for the tight!
"it is the first time since primary school that I see someone write become in two words ..."
Rule #1 Do not criticize grammar unless your grammar is perfect.
Lucid 10.04 FTW
Maverick is the first release that I didn't see the need to install.
Lucid works fine for me and I think I may skip the next release or two as well.
May have a look at this once things have settled down.
"particularly Ubuntu, could be come a good destination of disaffected Mac developers kicked off their platform by the Apple cult leader."
Like all good cults you're free to leave but you must first speak with our exit advisor. The interview will only take about 18-24 hours and you will not be allowed a rest, food or drink during that time.
NO ONE LEAVES THE CULT!
Unity unsuitable for desktop use
I downloaded the 10.10 netbook version today and let's just say that if this will become the new default desktop, bye bye Ubuntu. I'm sure I'll try to re-gnomify it before completely running away screaming but I doubt such a dumbed-down interface is going to win too many converts. In fact, it'll probably scare away a large chunk of Ubuntu's hard-won user base more than it wins dummy converts.
Some applications use the Mac-style menu at the top, and others have the menu at the top of the application window. Clicking on the file manager "tile" or whatever that square is called results in a full screen kiosk-looking window. And being able to tell the difference between what's running and what's not is about as intuitive as a Mac. In short, if Mark Shuttleworth wants a Mac, then why doesn't he just buy one, and leave GNOME alone? I used to hate GNOME but since the KDE 4 fiasco I've grown to quite like it, but there is absolutely no way I'm going to put up with a sidebar thingy that is as bad as the Mac dock, or worse!
The problem with the sidebar/dock thing is that it's difficult to tell what you've opened since turning on the machine and what's just waiting to be activated. And determining the application with focus will require a magnifying glass or an update to my glasses! The GNOME panel at the bottom is great because it's empty unless I've gone and started something, and the more I start, the more it adds, and switching between different windows in different applications is a breeze. Now I have a bunch of coloured squares, and everything is now at least two clicks away.
After 2.5 years 100% linux usage at home after escaping Windows, it's probably time I grew up and become a Debian user if Ubuntu is going the way of stupidity.
Ubuntu peaked years ago and needs a new funding model
I've been using Ubuntu (when I can) for some years. My current attitude is just waiting for something better to come along, though I have little hope. In terms of usability, I'd say that Ubuntu peaked out several years ago and has continued to trend downwards, mostly because of sloppy regression testing, but you can argue that is just another aspect of not listening to their users. The current situation is basically driven as a rich man's charity with geek pressure in favor of more flash for no reason.
As a user, I just want it to work well. I do NOT want a constant flood of new problems that were fixed in previous versions of the OS. This is NOT progress. As a proponent of Linux (or anything else) over the evil works of Microsoft and Apple, I just want Ubuntu to succeed. Unfortunately, I also have a scientific mindset. I know that most people believe whatever they want to believe, but us scientific folks are obliged to consider the evidence from the real world, even when we don't like the conclusions. In this case, the fuzzy evidence is that Ubuntu is NOT getting better, but the absolute evidence is that Ubuntu is NOT threatening Microsoft or Apple.
As regards this particular situation, I suggest that a better funding model would allow the users of Ubuntu to put money behind their preferred interface. Specifically, using the system described at the URL below, they would offer several interface options and let the users vote with their wallets. Maybe they would get the funding for both interfaces--but the funding MUST include adequate regression testing. (In this particular case, the two budgets might be substantially different, but if they have enough committed Gnome users who are willing to make up the difference, then that's fine, too.)
In conclusion, whatever bad things you can say about Microsoft or Apple (or increasingly Google), you have to acknowledge that their financial models are working. OSS needs better financial models.
I installed Maverick netbook remix (or whatever it is called today) with unity on my netbook.
It's a dumbed down interface that is only suited to the most basic of users. Sure, have it as an option, I applaud that there are options for every type of user, but for gods sake don't concentrate your efforts there to the detriment of gnome or you *will* lose users.
Uncertain times ahead
Not installed Maverick yet (becasue lucid works quite well enough), but the first thing I did with my Lucid netbook remix after seeing the god-awful interface was to switch back to a Gnome interface, which works very well.
I hope that on Maverick and Natty this will be as simple as it was on Lucid (one tick box in startup config menu) otehrwise I also will be moving back to debian or mandriva(or whatever fork of mandriva is in existence next year).
If you're on a desktop and want the classic Gnome interface, then it is one click. For the netbook interface of 10.04, no joy. They've killed it for good ... according to the suport forum.
Shuttleworth is turning Ubuntu in to an open-source version of Microshaft and Apple ... taking Ubuntu in his vision and he will not listen to the users on this. As much as we scream and shout that we hate it, it will nevertheless stay .... and he won't care until the download numbers start dropping off.
I believe that we could be seeing Shuttleworth's aping of Jobs and Balmer ... and Ubuntu becoming just another OS dictator.
I hate it ... did you hearn me ... I HATE IT
The netbook interface on 10.04 was brilliant.
Nice, clear wording which I've used to welcome quite a number of less computer conversant people over from the dark side of Windows.
The replacement of the left hand bar for this new interface is a disaster, especially on netbooks.
*) The nice large section wording has been replaced with small, meaningless icons
*) Running processes are now mixed in with the application icons
*) There are small arrows either side of these running processes which are a bleeding NIGHTMARE to see ifyou're sight isn't perfect.
BIG FAIL UBUNTU ... BIG FAIL ... and that from a long time fan.
Get rid of that pathetic, useless ... OFFENSIVE .... side bar darn quickly.
I mean ... it's almost enough to make me go back to ... cough ... Windows. (well, all the open source software is multi-platform anyway so leaving Ubuntu for Windows wouldn't be that much of a pain.)
AND NOW ... for their next trick ... you can't even download netbook remix 10/04 from the web site any more .... AND IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN LTS RELEASE!!!!!!
Pathetic, Ubuntu, really pathetic.
Turn back from this dark course of action before it costs you user base.
"AND NOW ... for their next trick ... you can't even download netbook remix 10/04 from the web site any more .... AND IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN LTS RELEASE!!!!!!"
Try going here: http://releases.ubuntu.com/lucid/ and scroll down a bit
Thanks for that link. Much appreciated.
People shouldn't have to require knowledge like that to get hold of the current LTS, though.
Another day, another F/OSS schism. In the name of the wee-man people. STOP creating new problems. STOP forking. Pick ONE thing and BLOODY WELL FIX IT!
The only exception would be where something is so old, so broken, so out of step with the modern era that there is no other choice (e.g. X Server).
I totally get that the default Gnome (or KDE, or...) interface may not be optimal for touch, but are these desktops really so rigid that they cannot be themed/skinned/configured to work with touch? Do we really need another one?
Why can't they fix the BASIC things? Like having consistency between left and right click on application icons in Gnome? It's should be "Left is *always* program menu, right is *always* icon management. There will be no discussion, no variance. The Desktop Overlords have spoken." It's little things like this that make people hanker for a Mac or slowly drive them insane.
We all know there are problems with X. We know that the abstraction between client and server does not suite all types of application and can be an apparent performance barrier.
BUT (and this is a big but)
If you know X, and work in an environment with many networked systems all of which understand X, then the benefits of the abstraction are HUGE. Don't suggest that VNC can fill the gap, because unless you have a big fat network, the performance is crap compared to properly written X apps. If you've not worked in such an environment, you may not know this, but your view risks throwing the baby out with the bath water.
One of the problems as I see it is that because the font handling in X was based on the fonts that the server know about, rather than the fonts that a client wanted to use, some applications appeared to display poorly. To get round this, both KDE and Gnome introduced models that meant that font glyphs were effectively loaded by each client when the client started, often multiple times.
This increased the X server memory footprint and client startup time no end, and almost completely broke the efficient font model that X had (and still has!). In my view, the best way of handling non-standard fonts is to have a font server somewhere (either locally or on the network) and have a mechanism for font-picky applications to add the FreeType or Type1 scalable fonts to that server, either for the duration of the run, or permanently.
Similarly, the way that some application treat pixmaps (and Java is one of the worst culprits, wanting to do it's own graphic abstraction) mean that X performance is much worse than it needs to be for such apps.
X.org is making what I think is a very sensible move to OpenGL based rendering, especially if it has network abstraction built in (I've not checked). This should allow good 3D performance, and as we can see allows the gloss to be added. What we need now is a well recognised, resource controlled window manager and application framework. Whether this is Gnome or KDE, or something completely different remains to be seen, but introducing a new default must be backed up by allowing users who want to remain with what they like to do so.
I actually cannot stand the netbook remixes, even on systems with small screens. They are just too proscriptive, and just get in the way unless all you want to do is what they provide. I use Gnome on my EeePC 701 (800x480), and I only have a small number of times when windows fall off the screen, so I don't see the need for the netbook remix.
I agree with a lot of this. It's very noticeable that VNC on my home network is perfectly usable for routine stuff but when using VNC by SSH from my holiday home to my home network (final link being ~3Mbit/500kbit ) it's rather a dog and just using X is MUCH smoother.
To get serious about this...
I've installed the netbook remix on desktop computers for a number of people who aren't as conversant with computers. The interface was much easier for them to learn than the Windows Start bar and 10.04 netbook remix really was a pinacle of design achievement in my small and humble opinion. Sure, a few nips and tucks, but it really opened doors.
I first encountered the 10.10 Unity interface when doing a similar install for someone, and the changes on the left hand bar seem to be designed by computer geeks with no thought of usability of any segment of society other than those who are young (or lucky) enough to have 20/20 vision and have a strong intuition on how these icons work.
It is particularly galling to find that Long Term Support releases seem to have been removed from the Ubuntu web site and that there has been no intelligent come back to my complaints about the left hand bar. It feels like Shuttleworth is starting to dictate his wishes to the user base and f**k the rest of us. That, along with the useless side bar, is what is making this change so upsetting. The last thing we need in Linux world is a character like Steve Jobs. Emulate his designi direction, sure, but leave the mans dictatorial personality in the gutter.
Sure, change the underlying engine to Compiz (it seems to have been running under 10.04 for a while) even though it keels over when the machine chokes and takes me back to a grey theme, until I reboot. Just don't sc**w up an interface which is serving the population as a whole, in favour of one that prefers a particular segment of the user base.
... or at the very least ... allow people the choice.
If removal of the 10.04 interface from the standard build really has to be done ... and in my personal opinion, it is a retrograde step ... then at least allow us the ability to have it present for the sections of society that it benefits.
Unity == Microsoft Bob
If I have to install a non-default WM, then I might as well just use (recommend, contribute to, donate to) Debian, right?
OK so I haven't tried Unity so I can't comment thereon. I am, however, puzzled by all those people posting in support of Gnome. The Gnome UI is stuck somewhere about a decade ago and desperately needs updating. They've been promising a new version for years, but it never happens. Aligning themselves to horrible, clunky old GL graphics is an increbibly blinkered move. Open? Who cares? It's slow.
I moved to KDE4 ages ago for one app that needed KDE to run*, installing a whole load of KDE in parallel with GNOME wasn't going to happen on my PC so I made the switch. I found that the move was painless and I was quickly doing more and working more efficiently. Earlier this year I tried to go back to GNOME and found it restrictive and annoying.
A load of GNOME devotees tried to convince me that if I installed and configured various things just so then I could get all the functionality of the KDE GUI in GNOME, but why bother when a default installation of Kubuntu gets the job done.
Anyway if the Gnomes are so upset why don't they just launch GUbuntu. After all the KDE and XFCE crowd don't whinge that their favourite GUI. They just created their own distro.
* Something Linux evangelists never warn newbies about.
((Open GL != Clunky) || Slow) && Netbooks != Underpowered
"Aligning themselves to horrible, clunky old GL graphics is an increbibly blinkered move. Open? Who cares? It's slow."
Open GL is difficult to learn to write apps for (I certainly have not mastered it) and this might be interpreted as being clunky, but it is exactly the opposite of slow.
I think Shuttleworth is equating the popularity of Android and the iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone devices to mean that people want these kinds of GUIs on their netbooks. In this I think he is mistaken, for exactly the same reasons that notebook PCs which rotated their displays to become tablets never took off when running a traditional GUI. It is not what people expect.
Form follows function and the netbook is seen as a small laptop, so people expect it to behave that way. A true tablet form-factor computer (i.e. no keyboard mouse or click-buttons) is not the laptop form-factor and as a result (IMHO) people expect (and accept) a different behaviour and a different way of using them. In those environments the Android/Unity/iOS kind of environments are readily accepted.
Now, about netbooks being unable to run a full blown GUI like Gnome or KDE, this is a load of bovine excrement. My Acer Aspire 1 runs Gnome just fine thank you very much, it also runs a second Gnome desktop @ 1280x900 resolution which I pull across the LAN via VNC so that when the netbook is in the office I access it as if it is a part of the larger PC's desktop environment. That little Aspire One runs both GUI sessions as smooth as silk, and no I don't try to run Compiz on a GUI desktop environment that is being pulled across the LAN, that would be silly.
gnome shell is the new kde4
Gnome are about to do what KDE did a few years back. Complete redesign of a stable product with the new version full of bugs and very difficult to use.
Gnome-shell is awful, I built the latest version a few weeks back and I really can't see how this isn't going to be a complete disaster.
Ubuntu are correct to move away from gnome, although I'm not that impressed with unity screenshots so far (I'd need to test it to give a proper opinion).
Me?? I run Debian squeeze (they've frozen it now, only a few bugs left) and run avant-window-navigator with lots of compiz. I've completely removed the gnome taskbars and am very happy.
How many people have desktop computers with multi-touch capable monitors?
Is it more or less than 0.1% of users?
What I do know is...
My eyes are on the Adam when it gets released next month. It can run Ubuntu, so I would be looking forward to touch operation on that, rather than a desktop ... but not on the new 10.10 netbook interface ... but then, from my previous whinging on that subject, you'd have gathered that by now!
I also think that ultimately Android will give way to a version of "fuller" Linux in a few years so it makes sense to make touch a more solid part of the system.
Death of ubuntu is looming on the horizon...
It's name is not known yet, its the new Debian rolling release that is being brewed...
Yes I know Debian will do it the next decade or two (if they finally decide to do it )
However there is already an experimental Debian rolling release named "Linux Mint Debian Edition"
A rolling Debian distro is the next best thing.
No more "It's a Mark Shuttleworth thing, you have to be Mark Shuttleworth to understand the rationale behind it"
That's a crock and you know it. Ubuntu and the variants have a massive userbase, who aren't going to switch to Debian, but that's not the main reason. The main reason is that the target audiences are totally different. Ubuntu is a distro for those who are not particularly IT literate and just want to be able to stick in a disc and click next, next, next, next... By comparison Debian is a pain to install.
Too many people in the Linux "community" don't see that the home computer is as much of a domestic appliance as the TV to 99% of users. When Joe Public buys his new LCD TV from Argos he wants to take it home, plug it in and let it scan for channels. The end. That's how normal people view their TV and that's why Windows remains popular. It's also why Ubuntu will remain popular.
For years I've heard Linux devotees predicting that some new distro or the next release of an existing distro will lead to the death of Windows, but it's never happened. Likewise your prediction won't come to pass.
Crunchbang linux is going the same way.
It used to be Ubuntu with an Openbox WM, but due to the release cycle of Ubuntu they're making the decision to jump to Debian Squeeze as the source. Rolling updates for thems that like a system that they don't need to bork every six months to stay current.
"Too many people in the Linux "community" don't see that the home computer is as much of a domestic appliance as the TV to 99% of users."
This is why I have been installing Netbook Remix on peoples desktops, and why I think that replacing its simple and plain interface with the new side bar will do Ubuntu an awful lot of damage in that area.
Too many people think of themselves and not of the part of the community that don't know enough about computers to play a meaningful part in a technical forum ... so their voices aren't heard when things like interface designs occur.
A lot more care needs to be taken when designing a UI than has apparently been the case with the 10.10 Unity.
Can we have angel and evil Shuttleworth icons please?
You don't know me.
I switched to Debian (quite easily too, I might add) a couple of weeks ago. I'm the "target audience" for Ubuntu: I have never studied computers, nor do I work in IT. What Canonical neglects to understand about users is that if we just cared about trends, eye candy, or ease; we'd use a mac. Many non-technical people are drawn to Linux because they want a non-commercial operating system and also out of reasons relating to social responsibility. The Debian community still offers that. Tee hee, I just hope they don't get too annoyed in forums, etc. by basic questions from myself and other "Ubuntu refugees" :)
I installed Ubuntu Netbook on my NC10 and really loved the Unity interface, especially the mac-style menu bar. But it was just too slow and clunky, and I didn't like how Evolution was split up into different applications, so I ended up installing the desktop edition, which performed much better. Perhaps in Narwhal it will be ready for use.
"Anyone remembers the days of installing SLACKWARE from a hard drive or network with your root floppy and boot floppy and the days you had to spend tinkering and recompiling to get basic devices and X to run. "
Even better, I installed slackware *entirely* from floppies back in the day.
Oh and don't forget ModeLines --having to either look them up, or god forbid calculate them from scratch. Ouch!
Anyway... Agreed with JEDIDAH. I like Ubuntu, and I think Canonical does a great job on it. However, I have installed stock Debian, and have seen some other modern distros -- Canonical does do significant work on Ubuntu to smooth off some rough edges, but they did not create the easy-to-use distro, they are all* pretty easy now.
*Well, Gentoo or Linux From Scratch are probably not that easy. But that's the point of them.
Eclipse is a first class citizen?
Shuttleworth said that Eclipse is a first class citizen on Ubuntu.
Relay? If so, then why is Eclipse at version 3.5 in Ubuntu, when version 3.6 has been out for FIVE MONTHS?
Ubuntu have become two tied to their release schedule. There is a small window just after a release ships, when new software, (or new versions of existing) software can be incorporated into the next release, but after that hardy anything goes in, which means that that if you are running Ubuntu and need the latest version of anything, then you will end up downloading and compiling it from source, or getting packages from a non official source.
Ubuntu really need to put in a mechanism for adding important new packages at any time in the release cycle, including new major versions of existing software. I realise that for libraries the situation is much more complex due to the forest of dependencies, but for user programs, on which no other programs depend, it should be possible to release them into Ubuntu out of band.
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