I posted the question on askubuntu.com about what's the current status of ThunderBolt in the Linux Kernel and on Ubuntu in particular. The response was quite interesting: partial support exists, while hotplugging does not work yet. We can hope for a better support in the upcoming Ubuntu 12.10 Release, which will be ready in october 2012.
As of May 2012, support in the Linux kernel was still buggy and being worked on. For example, hot-plugging did not work, while cold-plugging did, etc.
Considering that the new Linux kernel will only appear in Ubuntu 12.10 (October 2012), I think that's the earliest you can hope to expect partial Thunderbolt support in Ubuntu.
DigiTimes reports that Intel has notified partners that the company will "fully release" its Thunderbolt technology (previously known as "Lightpeak") in April 2012. Intel is reportedly preparing to launch Thunderbolt-supported motherboards, notebooks and desktop PCs at that time, other mainboard suppliers such as Gigabyte and Asus will follow.
Intel and Apple originally partnered on the new technology which has become standard across Apple's MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and iMac. Digitimes reports that the cost of Thunderbolt technology is expected to drop in the second half of 2012, allowing more widespread adoption. While this sure is great for Windows users, that also means Thunderbolt will be available for hackintosh users!
While Apple does offer Thunderbolt across most of its product line, the first Thunderbolt products have been limited to relatively high end devices, such as the Blackmagic Ultrastudio 3D, the Magma Expressbox 3T or the Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID. More widespread adoption should help drive adoption by accessory makers that will benefit both Mac and PC users that use the Thunderbolt technology.
Thunderbolt is not competing against USB3 (Intel said they see both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt as complementary technologies) - furthermore there will be USB3 support for Apple devices, since there will be breakout boxes that offer USB3 connectivity.
Intel will bring Thunderbolt to the PC, which means you can use your devices such as the Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID or the Lacie Little Big Disk, but also products such as the black magic intensity extreme Thunderbolt video capture cards on your Windows PCs - and on your hackintosh machines as well.
During Intel’s Developer Forum, the chip maker showed off some Ultrabook prototypes running on its Haswell-based processor and sporting the high-speed Thunderbolt port. The technology was developed in collaboration with Apple and has so far remained exclusive to Macs. That may change soon as Intel teases that Thunderbolt will be heading to Windows PCs as well.
hunderbolt was originally code-named Light Peak and was installed on the update to the Mac Book Pro earlier this year. Rights to the Thunderbolt technology were originally registered under Apple, but were transferred over to Intel which is why you'll see it's name popping up a bit more. We already know Acer and Asus are planning Thunderbolt integration, but we're unsure how the port will look. Currently, the Thunderbolt port on Apple products is identical to the mini-display port, but PC users would rather it be more like USB for increased compatibility. Not to many people are aware of this, but Sony released their VAIO Z with a hybrid USB 3.0/Light Peak port, so it's kind of up in the air as to how things will shape-up.
Expected timeframe: anywhere in 2012.