We are proud to announce today, December 2nd, that the first Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system is now available for download. As usual, we've grabbed a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 11.04 development.
While all Ubuntu are still discovering and enjoy the brand-new Ubuntu 10.10 (Maevrick Meerkat) operating system, somewhere deep in the Ubuntu headquarters, the Canonical developers are working on the next major update for their popular Linux distribution.
What's new in Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1? Well, the big news is that Unity is now the default in the Ubuntu Desktop Edition, as Mark Shuttleworth said at UDS. Unity uses Compiz, therefore you will need proper video drivers installed to see it. If you don't have video drivers installed, you'll see the default two panels layout.
"Unity is now the default in the Ubuntu Desktop session. This is partially implement. The Unity Launcher is now available. It can be used to launch applications that are pinned to the launcher and switch between running applications."
"It support Quick lists on context menu. It can be set to auto-hide. Places is not yet available in Alpha 1. Clicking the Ubuntu logo in the upper left of the screen will open the applications directory. This is temporary until the Application place is available." - said the Ubuntu developers.
Users will also be able to choose the proffered desktop session right from GDM (GNOME Display Manager), by selecting Ubuntu Desktop (with Unity) or Ubuntu Classic Session (without Unity). This is how Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 looks now...
...and this is how it looks if you don't have video drivers installed, or if you choose Ubuntu Classic Session...
Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.37 RC3, but the final release of Natty Narwhal will have Linux kernel 2.6.38. The GNOME desktop environment is still at version 2.32.1.
"This kernel update includes the initial versions of FANOTIFY, KMS+KDB integration, a number of desktop related responsiveness improvements, AppArmor (upstream!), a lot of debugging tool updates, and updates for the virtualisation which should improve performance there. In addition the kernel is testing out further responsiveness tweaks which are showing promise."
Moreover Network Manager applet was patched to use appindicator. The Mozilla Firefox web browser has been updated to version 4.0 Beta 7...
Last but not least, the Ubuntu Netbook Edition was merged with the Ubuntu Desktop Edition!
What's new in Kubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1? Well, the first Alpha version of Kubuntu 11.04 is build on top of KDE Software Compilation 4.5. DVD image and Armel port are not available with Kubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 release.
What's new in Xubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1? Well, the first Alpha version of Xubuntu 11.04 has new versions of xfce4-notifyd, xfwm4, xfce4-appfinder, ristretto, xfce4-volumed and xfce4-dev-tools. The final version will feature Xfce 4.8.
Also, Xubuntu will continue to use GTK2 libraries instead of the GTK3 ones. PS3 and PowerPC images are not available in Xubuntu 11.04 Alpha1.
On April 28th, 2011, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) will become the fourteenth release of the Ubuntu operating system. See you again in two months (February 3rd), for the second Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal).
The Natty Narwhal Release Schedule:
December 2nd, 2010 - Alpha 1 release
February 3rd, 2011 - Alpha 2 release
March 3rd, 2011 - Alpha 3 release
March 31st, 2011 - Beta release
April 21st, 2011 - Release Candidate
April 28th, 2011 - Final release of Ubuntu 11.04
Download Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Server 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Download Kubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Download Xubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Download Edubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Download Ubuntu Studio 11.04 Alpha 1 (Natty Narwhal) right now from Softpedia.
Remember that this is an alpha release and it should NOT be installed on production machines. It is intended to be used for testing purposes only. Please report bugs to the Ubuntu Bug Tracker.