Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop and Netbook Editions, also known as Maverick Meerkat, will be available for download from this Sunday, 10 October.
The Netbook Edition will sport an all new interface called ‘Unity’, designed specifically for smaller screens and will feature touch and gesture support for compatible hardware.
The new OS will focus on cloud based services and will offer Ubuntu One, which the company said would offer new services and expanded features. The basic service will be free of charge and offer 2GB of free storage and will sync files, contacts and bookmarks. If extra space is needed 20GB of extra space can be purchased for $2.99 per month or $29.99.
The Ubuntu One Mobile service meanwhile will let users stream their own music from their cloud space to their Android or iPhone handsets, but this will cost $3.99 per month or $39.99 annually.
The Ubuntu Software Centre, no doubt inspired by the success of mobile apps stores, will for the first time feature both free and commercial software.
Ubuntu said that is does not plan to sue Microsoft, as Opera did, in its quest for greater market share. "There's no doubt Microsoft is dominant in the industry and has much more marketing muscle than we do," Steve George, vice president of business development at Canonical told PC Pro.
Instead, Canonical is relying on the quality of the product to persuade customers to switch - and is no doubt hoping that people take the time to compare the Meerkat - to Windows. "The improvements we're making to Ubunutu... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base," said George.