Ubuntu 11.04 Crystal Ball

Ubuntu 11.04 Crystal Ball

Please note this list is not the complete list of upcoming features. Nor are all things listed guaranteed to be included in the release. I have also split the features into three sections:

Almost a Sure Thing:

Listed as blueprints or have documentation.


Features with documentation with a low priority. This list also includes things that are very much “common sense.” Thus, they may or may not be included in the next release.


Features that members of the community  would enjoy. These likely won’t be included.

More complete blueprints will be up after UDS-N (October 25-29th).

Check out the UDS-N website for more information.

Almost A Sure Thing

Gnome 3

So after a few delays I believe the GNOME may finally reach the 3.0 milestone with the Ubuntu 11.04 release. But it is unlikely that Ubuntu will ship the new GNOME Shell interface on the default install. All the other GNOME 3 goodies are still going to be there:

-Backup will be built in with Deja Dump. Deja Dump supports both off site and local backups. According the launchpad blueprint page there is planned Ubuntu One integration for off site backups. [More on Deja Dump]

(Note that Ubuntu may not choose to include this application in 11.04 but I would bet against it.)

-Improved help application which is topic based instead of application based.

-Drag and drop note sharing from tomboy into empathy.

-Multi-user text editing with real time keystroke sharing (like etherpad or sync.in) in gedit.[Find out more]

Ubuntu Software Centre

-A working software store. Although 10.10 will include one paid application it is only there as “beta” to refine the process. Ubuntu 11.04 will change that. I do expect multiple applications but as with any software store the selection is going to take time to grow as publishers will need to see the platform as stable and profitable.

-User software reviews.

-Ability to share with your friends what applications you have installed.

-Installing software from CDs (like AptOnCD).[Find out more]

Firefox 4

(Note: Although Chromium might ship in Ubuntu Netbook Edition it is unlikely that it

will be included in the desktop edition 11.04.)

-New Theme (See here)

-Although still slower than Chromium, Firefox 4 gets a huge speed boost in both rendering webpages and start up time.[Find out more]

Open Office

-Open Office is undergoing some major usability improvements (See project Renaissance) . The first of these are improvements to Impress in Open Office 3.3. Currently the timeline slates OOo 3.3 to land in Q3 2010 (still no definitive date) so those improvements will make it in to Ubuntu 11.04 for sure. But OOo 3.4 is slated to land in early 2011. So depending on how early it is shipped it may be included in 11.04 (I personally doubt it will be ready). [Find out more]

Update: OpenOffice.org developers have distanced themselves from Oracle and created The Document Foundation. If Oracle does not give them the OOo trademark: OOo will be renamed LibreOffice.These changes will have a huge impact on development of OpenOffice/LbreOffice. One of the many great positives is that go-oo (novell’s OOo fork) will be merged back into the main codebase. To learn more about the features included in go-oo click here.

Ubuntu One

-Support for proxy connections (a much requested feature) is to be included in Ubuntu 10.10 but full support (due to desktopcouch work) going to arrive with 11.04.


-It is expected that Ubuntu 11.04 will ship a complete set of indicators and no “notification area.”

-Window indicators(“windicators”) are a feature that Mark Shuttleworth announced a few months ago. It was expected that they would ship with Ubuntu 10.10 but are now expected to launch with 11.04. This is likely for further refinement of the API and preparing a larger intail set.


-A problem for people using the Unity interface in 10.10 is that it lacks an auto-hide function. This feature will definitely be shipping with Ubuntu 11.04.


-Running the xserver (ie graphical input/output system) without root privileges wasexpected to land in 10.10 but some more work was needed. This work is  expected to further enhance the robustness of security on Ubuntu. (See here)

-More multi threading. Xserver 10.10 is expected to have a threaded input code. Which
basically means under certain conditions mult-core chips (CPUs/GPUs) should see a little less latency in edition to other benefits. This is only the start of threading the xserver: work that should help increase Ubuntu’s performance. (See here)

-Improved desktop responsiveness. Due to some patches that will expose CFS low-latency features of the Linux kernel: Ubuntu will be feeling faster and more responsive. (See here)


-OneConf is designed so that system settings and programs can be persistent. The OneConf that is shipping with 10.10 allows for saved software lists to be synchronised with Ubuntu One. But in Ubuntu 11.04 OneConf will really simplify the process of installing and using Ubuntus In Ubuntu 11.04 OneConf will allow for application settings to be shared to multiple computers . Moreover, those reinstalling Ubuntu will be able to get the same benefit. (See here)

New Sound Theme

-Ubuntu will finally ship a new sound theme. Although the old theme is much loved: it has is feeling very dated and does not fit with the new Ubuntu theme. A few Canonical announced a call for submissions from the community. A list of submissions can be found here.


Gnome 3

-Improved performance (specifically login time).

-Geolocation and integration with social websites.

Software Centre

-Wine integration with Windows applications installed listed in software centre.

New Music Player

-There has been talk of replacing Rhythmbox for a few releases now. With 11.04 it will likely finally happen. Banshee seems the obvious choice but there are other contenders.If Rhythmbox is not replaced it likely have some serious enhancements partly due torecent usability studies done by Canonical (See here).

Ubuntu One

-A broader selection of music may be added to certain countries (pending sales data). Though this might also arrive with 10.10.

-Ubuntu Music Store interface enhancements are also bound to happen (the current
interface is very much a beta). This too may be included in 10.10.

-Yet another thing that may be coming with 10.10 is playing you Ubuntu One tracks through a web interface. Mobile streaming for smart phones is coming for sure but it still seems a little uncertain if a web interface will come to 10.10 but it is planned for the future. (See here)


BTFS will defiantly see install support in Ubuntu 11.04 but may also be included as a the default. BTFS is a next generation Linux filesystem bringing features like snapshots and subvolumes. (See here)


-OneConf may include application state sharing ie. “chrome to phone” but for applications like IM clients and text editors (in addition to web browsers).



– BURG gets rid of the the ugly text screen for multi-OS systems replacing it with clean icons. (See here)

GDM Theme Update

-I am one of the relatively few people who has anything negative to say about the current GDM theme. But it simply is not up the standard of the rest of the desktop and could use some enhancements. (Just my opinion).

Ubuntu One

-More U1 clients. Windows, Android and iPhone Ubuntu One clients are all set to launch with the release of 10.10. It is possible that Ubuntu will add a OSX client to the mix soon after. Ubuntu One could also be offered de-branded on other distributions (of course this is largely up to the other distributions).

-Using the same or similar framework as the Software Centre Ubuntu One could allow for music reviews and allow friends to see which tracks you have.


-Although the Unity interface was created for netbooks it looks and performs well on wide screen monitors as well. Thus, many member of the community are adopting it on their desktops and notebooks. Yet, it still needs some more love in order to go beyond the netbook.


Ubuntu 11.04 is going to be made up of much of the work to done to enhance several projects over the last year or two. It in my eyes is very much a return t0 “unity” in interface design and the Ubuntu project.

Ubuntu 10.04 in many ways changed the game. It introduced new themes and has created a divide between the traditional Linux user and the normal computer user. It emphasized the fact that Ubuntu is very much living by it’s goal of being “Linux for Human Beings”.  Yet, Ubuntu is still Linux: the same freedoms still exist, the same customization options are still there and the community is still what makes Ubuntu a joy to be a part of.

Like most Ubuntu releases Ubuntu 10.10 will be a great release. But Ubuntu 11.04, if things turn out like many of us hope, will perhaps be the greatest.

If you enjoyed, this blog post I encourage you to become a part of the community and push Ubuntu 11.04 to even greater heights. Become a developer, an artist, a tester or even a musician. Your work may never become a part of the default install. But that has never really been the point.

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2 Responses to Ubuntu 11.04 Crystal Ball

  1. om26er says:

    Awesome post really 🙂

    a little correction: its BTRFS
    for the BURG part ubuntu will never use it *but* the boot experience is getting love https://blueprints.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/packageselection-foundations-n-grub2-boot-framebuffer

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