Ubuntu 12.04 released in 2012 will be focused more on the cloud and not old server hardware, according to the Ubuntu developers, even though “old server hardware” is running the cloud, obviously the meaning of this statement is that cloud storage will be used extensively and not local storage for the users files. You can already create a file in ~/Documents and it will be automatically uploaded to the Ubuntu One cloud storage system. Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin will be focused more on modern hardware rather than older hardware that is supported by the Linux kernel. The Linux kernel source still includes drivers for very old hardware, I guess this means they will not be shipping a kernel that supports older hardware. But if you wanted to fix that surely you could install the build-essential package and install a kernel from source from kernel.org. The Ubuntu desktop operating system will be supported for five years after release in April 2012. It remains to be seen if the Unity desktop environment will be accepted in the future or will users continue to be divided over this new interface. I have just switched to the Gnome 2 lookalike fallback interface in Fedora due to the frustration stemming from the Gnome 3 interface. If it had a proper taskbar at the bottom then it would actually be more usable.
It is better in the Unity interface that Ubuntu users seemingly will be stuck with. But with 5 years of long term support the install base of Ubuntu 12.04 will at least get a lot of help with the distribution and make the transition to this new distribution more easy and fun to use. The reliance on cloud storage will require a fast and reliable Internet connection, but this will allow users to access their documents from anywhere in the world with Dropbox. The infrastructure is already there and Canonical just have to hope they do not stuff this distribution up and change anything else dramatically like they did with Unity.