Ubuntu 10.10 (codenamed the "Maverick Meerkat") is set to integrate GNOME 3.0 and according to Mark Shuttleworth this post-LTS release will integrate more social networking capabilities, continued speed improvements for netbooks / mobile devices to make for a speedy Internet experience, more virtualization / cloud computing enhancements, and other new features. Per the Ubuntu 10.10 release schedule, the Maverick Meerkat should be officially released on the 28th of October.
This morning Mark Shuttleworth has outlined plans for another new feature of Ubuntu 10.10 and that's for a "global menu" with Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Canonical continues to look at ways to optimize the netbook experience and they feel a better user experience can be achieved by providing a single menu system in order to conserve vertical space on the generally low-resolution screens.
In the first few iterations of Ubuntu’s netbook-oriented UI, we concentrated on collapsing the window title into the top panel. In 10.10, we’re going to put the menu there.
It’s not confirmed yet, but we will aim to go beyond what Apple and others have done with panel menus, to consolidate both the window title (and window controls) into the panel along with the menu.
By default, we’d display the contents of the title bar. When you mouse up to the panel, or when you press the Alt key, the contents would switch to the menu. That way, you’re looking at the document title most of the time, unless you move towards it to click on the menu.
In mockups and prototype testing, the result was a leaner, cleaner feeling netbook interface. Less clutter, less wasted space, and improved clarity of purpose. We’ll have to get running code in front of users to evaluate the usability of it and tweak transitions and presentation.
All of the details concerning this Ubuntu improvement for netbooks can be read about on Mark Shuttleworth's blog.