The Ubuntu Developer Summit has just taken place in Boston. The good news for Linux fans is that the talk was already of "Hardy Heron", the next major release of the Ubuntu Linux distribution.

Ubuntu is usually updated regularly - version 7.10 has just been released, but this new version is expected to be more robust and long-lasting, as Linux Format's Acting Editor Paul Hudson explains:

"Ubuntu's normal releases are supplanted within six months, but every so often it releases a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that's supported for three years on the desktop and five years in the server room."

From Gutsy to Hardy

"Hardy Heron is set to be an LTS release," says Hudson. "And that inevitably means less glitz, less focus on new features and fewer surprising changes."

So stability is the key. Gutsy Gibbon - version 7.10 - was a far more experimental version of Ubuntu, designed to improve the user experience. But that meant that in several areas it wasn't up to the job of providing the stable and robust solution that many Linux users require.

"Expect polish: a smarter theme, high reliability and other business-focused refinements," adds Hudson.