The first version of Ubuntu scheduled for next year will be called Hardy Heron and will be the second of Canonical's Linux products to feature long-term support.
He invited interested people to submit feature requests for the release at its Launchpad site. Canonical will hold an Ubuntu Developer Summit in October 2007 in Cambridge, Mass., to hash out details and implementation plans, he added.
Ubuntu's next update, Gutsy Gibbon, is due in October and will sport the version number 7.10, a reference to the year and month of its release. Following the six-month release cycle, Hardy Heron, or 8.04, is scheduled for release in April 2008.
Hardy Heron will be the second release to feature long-term support, in which Canonical sells support and provides bug fixes for three years for desktop versions and five years for server versions. The first release to feature long-term support was Dapper Drake, released in June 2006. Ordinary versions have support for 18 months.
Numerous companies and projects have emerged in recent years to challenge leaders Red Hat and Novell's Suse, but Debian-based Ubuntu is one of the few to gain any prominence. Ubuntu founder and Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth set up the project so that freely downloadable versions of Ubuntu are identical to the supported versions. In contrast, Red Hat and Novell only support versions that people pay for through subscription plans.