For all you Linux enthusiasts, the next version of Ubuntu — Jaunty Jackalope is due to be released in April 2009. As the name suggests, Ubuntu 9.04 will endeavour to speed up boot time and offer more integration between desktop apps and Web apps. Furthermore, Canonical is to hire a team of specialists who will improve the interface for open source desktop apps.

Rules of the virtualisation game are changing with Microsoft announcing it’s offering its hypervisor for free. Users will now be able to download the new stand-alone Hyper-V Server 2008 from Microsoft’s website. Red Hat, who is also working on its own two hypervisors, foresees all operating systems will come with a free hypervisor in the future.

Chrome continued to make news this week. Just shortly after its release, vulnerabilities were discovered to which Google responded quickly.

The new browser appears to be a popular choice with readers with 3.8 per cent already using the browser, more than Apple’s Safari. We also had a look at some of the features that Chrome adopted from other browsers.

More in the world of browsers, Firefox 3.1 alpha 2 is now available to developers and testers. Some of the more notable features include support for the video tag element — part of HTML 5 and “Web workers” to make JavaScript run faster. Opera has also released another beta — 9.60 beta 1. There is now a “low bandwidth mode” for Opera Mail and the option to ignore contacts, which might come in handy.

Soon you’ll be able to find any newspaper story ever written, if Google doesn’t fall short of its goal. In collaboration with publishers, the company is to begin digitising old newspapers and making them searchable online. The documents will initially be available via the Google News Archive site, but Google is hoping to integrate the new feature into regular search as the index grows.

In other news, Opera has joined the Symbian Foundation in a quest to open source its mobile operating system.

Closer to home, IBM will present some of its workers with a new employment offer, after they called off a planned strike.