"It was important for us to get the feature out there, listen to what people had to say, make the changes, and respond to user requests," George said. "We want to make sure we're listening to that. We take user privacy very seriously."
The second big focus area in Ubuntu Linux 12.10 is applications, George told me.
Specifically, "we've added the ability to put Web apps into the local environment," he said.
So, for example, users can now put the Gmail icon directly into the Ubuntu launcher. Then, when they launch it, Ubuntu automatically opens a separate window with Gmail in it without requiring that users first launch their browser.
From the user perspective, it's designed to make online apps feel just the same as local apps.
"It obeys all the conventions you'd expect of a local app," George noted. "We've added a bunch of these and put them into the Ubuntu Software Center. We've also shown developers how they can add more."
'It's a big deal for them'
Last but not least, George had a message for small businesses: "If you're on XP, which a lot of businesses are, it's a great time to re-look at your desktop strategy," he said. "Windows 8 is a challenge to explain to users--it's a big deal for them."
Meanwhile, with the arrival of technologies like Google Docs and virtualization, "a lot of the tie-in Microsoft has to people's data is disappearing," he pointed out. "A lot of the friction that used to stop people from using alternative desktops has been massively reduced over the past few years."
Ubuntu 12.10 is now available as a free download from the project site.