Keeping track of the ever-changing ranks of the Ubuntu mascot menagerie is not for the faint of heart. My debut into LinuxLand was shortly before the introduction of the Hardy Heron and Ubuntu 8.04 LTS last April. Simple enough. Until today.
Today I learned that on Monday, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced the future addition of another mascot, the Jaunty Jackalope. A Jackalope, I learned, thanks to a folklore reference in the Gospel of Wikipedia, is a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope.
The Jaunty Jackalope is just one in a series of Ubuntu motivational mascots. Intrepid Ibex the mountain goat, Jaunty Jackalope’s immediate predecessor, gets crowned for his work on Oct. 28 with the release of Ubuntu version 8.10. Jaunty Jackalope takes over from Ibex, and will lead the team until the release of Ubuntu 9.04 the following April. Then, of course there’s Hardy Heron 8.04, my first mascot acquaintance, whose reign began last April and lasts three years for desktops, five years for servers.
Shuttleworth must be placing a lot of stock in the Jaunty Jackalope, because his lofty goals for the Ubuntu team over the ensuing seven months include nothing less than catching up to Apple and Microsoft Windows in eye appeal and user-friendliness, and forging ahead of them in merging Web services and applications into “weblications” that straddle online/offline environments.
I suppose if you can keep track of herons, rabbit-antelopes and mountain goats, an ambitious software development track is no problem at all. Perhaps that’s Shuttleworth’s way of weeding out job candidates who aren’t great at multitasking.