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Ubuntu 11.10 christened Oneiric Ocelot

The poster child of Ubuntu Linux, Mark Shuttleworth, has code-named Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot." It's a complicated, and I'm not sure how to pronounce or spell it correctly.

Work on the new Linux distro has begun, and it will succeed Natty Narwhal, which is version 11.04, and will ship out on April 28. So far the developer releases have received rave reviews. The new features include a souped up Unity 2D/3D interface, and the new LibreOffice software as a replacement to OpenOffice.

So why the complicated "Oneiric Ocelot"?

"There’s something neat in the idea that 11.10 will mark eight years since Ubuntu was conceived (it took a little longer to be born). So “octennial” might suit… but that would be looking backwards, and we should have an eye on the future, not the past," wrote Shuttleworth in a blog entry.

"Oneiric means “dreamy”, and the combination with Ocelot reminds me of the way innovation happens: part daydream, part discipline," Shuttleworth writes.

So the name is part media blitz, part marketing circus. Other names he mentions: Orange Okapi, Oddball Octopus.

There's also underlying hope in Shuttleworth's entry. He wants to bring a better OS with a better UI that developers can exploit to their advantage. He cites the introduction of Qt, a cross-platform UI development framework as one advantage. 

He also wants to make the OS more cloud friendly, reaching critical mass  with version 12.04. Ubuntu already has a free online backup service and Canonical offers more integrated cloud services for businesses in its enterprise Ubuntu offerings. Shuttleworth doesn't provide specifics, but hopes for solutions through healthy developer debate at future summits.

The question: with so many changes in store, will the code base remain unified? Very exciting times for Ubuntu.