Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth recently announced that the next version after "Jaunty Jackalope" is codenamed "Karmic Koala". This ended some humorous speculations that Ubuntu 9.10 will be called Kinky Kangaroo.

"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the Karmic Koala, the newest member of our alliterative menagerie.

When you are looking for inspiration beyond the looming Jaunty feature freeze, I hope you’ll think of the Koala, our official mascot for Ubuntu 9.10. And if you’ll bear with me for a minute I’ll set the scene for what we hope to achieve in that time."

As for me, I was expecting Mr. Shuttleworth to go for a mythical creature and name it after the mighty “King Kong”, and have never thought that he would go for a tree-hugging, eucalyptus-eating, sleepy marsupial.

Aside from having a cute name, Ubuntu 9.10 will have huge improvements in both the server and desktop editions. For the server, it will be embracing the API’s of Amazon EC2 making it easy for anybody to setup their own cloud using entirely open source tools. For the desktop, there will be massive changes. Ubuntu may use Red Hat’s Plymouth graphical boot in favor of Usplash. They are also aiming for a much faster boot speed.

Perhaps the most interesting part in Mark Shuttleworth’s latest announcement is this:

"The desktop will have a designer’s fingerprints all over it - we’re now beginning the serious push to a new look. Brown has served us well but the Koala is considering other options. Come to UDS for a preview of the whole new look."

Is Mark already tired of brown? Will the long-promised Ubuntu new look finally become a reality? I guess we will have to wait until May when Ubuntu Developer Summit kicks off in Barcelona, Spain. However, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the upcoming Jaunty Jackalope will have a new theme. What do you think?

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