In just a few months, two years will have passed since the official announcement of Ubuntu for mobiles and tablets. It looks like Canonical is almost ready to release the OS on a device that's actually selling in stores, and that will be the true test of the new operating system.
The first Ubuntu Touch-powered phones are expected to arrive in December, from Meizu, so the release of an RTM version a couple of months ahead of time is actually very good news. In case you didn't know, RTM means release to manufacturing and indicates that a system is almost complete, feature-wise, and that the developers are now only focusing on the bugs and various performance issues.
For now, if Ubuntu 14.10's Unity default page look familiar, well it should. On the surface, Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, has done little with the Unity interface. While experienced Linux users tend not to like it, I still find it to be a great desktop for new users.
Under the hood, Unity is still using the X.Org display server instead of Mir, Ubuntu's next generation display server. While Mir and Unity 8 are still being worked on, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth doesn't see Mir becoming the desktop default until Ubuntu 16.04 LTS appears two years from now.
The Ubuntu community has been asking this question ever since the Meizu, Bq, and Canonical partnership was announced. The developers didn't want to provide a clear answer to the launch question and only the launch window was provided, the fall of 2014.
The Ubuntu developers are working to promote an RTM (release to manufacturing) version of Ubuntu Touch and they are almost ready, but it looks like they still have a couple of months, at least, to polish it up. The operating system still needs a few more features, but above all it needs stability.
After writing earlier this week about a new AMD Catalyst driver paving the way for X Server 1.16 in Ubuntu 14.10, the updated packages have officially landed within the Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" archive.
The updated AMD Catalyst driver has xorg-server 1.16 ABI compatibility, which for weeks was blocking X.Org Server from being updated in Ubuntu to avoid forcing users to run the open-source AMD driver, etc. Now that AMD sent over this updated driver that has yet to be publicly launched on AMD.com, Canonical went ahead and pushed down the X.Org Server 1.16 update and the updated DDX input/video drivers with compatibility for the new server. Those packages are now in the official Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic" package archive for anyone doing daily testing of the distribution.
Still packages and found within the Ubuntu Utopic (14.10) archive are the various Wayland packages. Right now within Ubuntu Universe is Wayland 1.5, the Weston 1.5 compositor release, and various other Wayland-related packages like for VA-API acceleration, the basic GLMark2 benchmark for Wayland, etc. Granted, most of these packages were just supplied by the upstream Debian base and are of no special interest to Canonical. The Wayland packages for Utopic can be found by this package search.
While Ubuntu 14.10 is finally getting X.Org Server 1.16, it doesn't yet have Mesa 10.3 but that can be easily addressed via third-party packages.
Mesa 10.3 will hopefully still make it into Ubuntu 14.10 ahead of its debut next month since Mesa 10.3 brings many new features to the commonly used open-source Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau graphics drivers (along with promising drivers like Freedreno and VC4). If you want to try running the newest open-source user-space graphics driver code on Ubuntu 14.10, it can be easily achieved today using the well known Oibaf PPA.