Ubuntu developers will be releasing the beta of the next major version of Ubuntu Linux: 9.10 sometime in the next two weeks. Yours truly, plans on upgrading my main home system to help with the beta test. With every release I’m expecting a rather incremental improvement. However the real interest feature (which I doubt will show up in the Kubuntu side of things just yet), is the new Ubuntu App Centre. On the face of things, it will be an improvement over the “over-techy” Synaptic and friends, that most Ubuntu users are used to. Also it will look and feel more polished, so that will be a very welcome change.
The potential game changer comes into play with the possibility of buying software, for Ubuntu. This buying does not imply that a deluge of proprietary software will sweep into Ubuntu. But rather buying can also mean donating money to upstream projects, and that will help resolve the long standing issue of how to fund open source/libre software projects. An option to buy software, would also create incentives for the software industry to create professional software for Linux. What really excites me is this: I envision that the Ubuntu App Centre, doing for Linux gaming what Valve’s Steam has done for Windows gaming; providing a convenient platform for digital distribution and marketing which will be HUGE for independent gaming studios and small software houses.
Additional Sources: FLOSS Weekly episode on Ardour and the issues of funding FLOSS development