After the great release of 9.10 Mark Shuttleworth announced the next release of Ubuntu 10.04 as code named Lucid Lynx. Lucid will scheduled for release in April 2010. This version is highly significant because it will be offered with long-term support (LTS). This means that security updates will be available for five years for servers and three years for desktops. Regular Ubuntu releases are only supported for eighteen months. The enhanced stability and longer lifecycle of LTS releases make them appealing to hardware makers organizations that are rolling out large Ubuntu deployments. The last LTS version was 8.04, codenamed Hardy Heron, which was released in 2008.
There could be similar problems with 10.04 as it aligns roughly with the scheduled release of GNOME 3, a major new version of the desktop environment used by Ubuntu. If the new experimental GNOME Shell is introduced at that time, it seems unlikely that the Ubuntu developers will be willing to include it in an LTS release.
In his official announcement, Shuttleworth confirms that the developers intend to be more conservative with the LTS release and will also put a stronger focus on testing and bugfixing. The first alpha release is scheduled to arrive in December and there will be beta releases in March and April. The official release is planned for April 29.