Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical (which is the lead commercial sponsor for Ubuntu), told InternetNews.com (via LinuxPlanet) that 12 million people are using Ubuntu GNU/Linux as their primary operating system. The number is significantly higher than 2008's numbers, jumping up 4 million over the last two years. This may be a good indication that end-users are desperately seeking alternatives to Microsoft's Windows platform and Apple's Mac OS.
But the number of users may actually grow at an even faster rate once Ubuntu GNU/Linux incorporates "Lucid Lynx," a codename assigned to the Ubuntu 10.04 update. Scheduled for distribution by the end of the month, the update will overhaul Ubuntu GNU/Linux's interface and provide multiple new features on the desktop. Lucid Lynx will also be the first new Long-Term Supported (LTS) release in two years, providing three years of support for Ubuntu Desktop and five years for Ubuntu Server.
LinuxPlanet goes into more detail about the changes coming to the Ubuntu desktop, reporting that the traditionally brown-colored interface will be replaced with a "aubergine" purplish look. There will also be the new Me Menu, combining chat and social networks into one user interface button. This new feature will be compatible with Facebook, Digg, IRC, Google Talk, and more.
Kenyon also added that users still running the 8.04 LTS will probably upgrade to 10.04 LTS when it becomes available. The 8.04 release, codenamed "Hardy Heron," first made its debut back in April 2008.