Well the release of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhale) is only a few days away and I just wanted to share my thoughts on it…
I had ran 11.04 Alpha 2 for a while back in February and it was no good. It was unstable and crashing, I couldn’t really view any folders because Nautilus (the file manager) would continually crash.
I am now running Natty again (this time Beta 2) and I am very happy with it so far. The interface is clean, snappy and overall a joy to use. Unity is overall very nicely implemented in Natty 11.04. Of course there are improvements that can be made but it is doing well for a first release.
The only negative thing I could say at this point is that it would be nice to have Natty boot faster. Ubuntu 11.04 booting isn’t slow like it was in older versions such as Ubuntu 9.04 but it doesn’t boot nearly as fast as 10.04 was. And it boots a lot faster than Fedora, I was shocked with Fedora 14′ slow boot time (55 seconds on my test PC). But still a faster boot would be nice.
And if you don’t like Unity, Ubuntu 11.04 will still have the option of using the “Classic Ubuntu Desktop”. This option may get removed in Ubuntu 11.10.
Ubuntu 11.04 is definitely a winner in my books so far, when it comes out in few days I definitely recommend making the switch!
Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) will be very different from all previous versions. The moment you start it up you’ll see a difference, the user interface will now be Unity which makes the desktop look very different then it has in previous versions. I very much like the new Unity interface, and I think it will give Ubuntu a much better chance with competing with Windows and the Mac OS X as an operating system. But if you don’t like it you can switch back to the old interface.
Ubuntu 11.04 will also include some new default applications:
– LibreOffice will be the new default office suite, replacing OpenOffice. It was created by some of the main developers of OpenOffice. It is almost identical to OpenOffice but is expected to have better compatibility and performance with Microsoft Office 2007/2010 formats than OpenOffice does.
– Firefox 4 will remain the default browser in Ubuntu for this release anyway.
– Banshee will be the new default music player for Ubuntu 11.04. It probably the closest program to iTunes that is available for Linux. However it is programed in Mono (the open source version of Microsoft .NET infrastructure) which some people hate, but the average user won’t even know or care anyway.
– It was proposed that Thunderbird replace Evolution as the default mail client but the developers have decided against it for 11.04 because Thunderbird needs some work before it would be ready and most of the time will be spent on developing the new user interface. Evolution will remain default for now but Ubuntu is looking for to including Thunderbird in the future.
Also Natty will include Global Menus, a feature which is only really found in the Mac OSX. Basically it put the menus normally found on the top of a window into the top panel instead. If you are unsure of what a global menu is check here, the image should provide you with the idea of Global menus.
All these changes make Ubuntu 11.04 a Linux distro to look forward. Although many of these changes are very controversial, I think Ubuntu 11.04 will prove to be a successful release (and maybe even because of these changes).
Mark Shuttleworth announced this past week at the October 2010 Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) that Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) will not use the standard GNOME user interface. Instead Ubuntu 11.04 will use the new Unity interface that was developed by Canonical (the company that owns Ubuntu) for the Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE) 10.10. Unity was not so successful (mainly to it performing sluggish) in the UNE but Canonical has plans to fix it up nice for the Desktop Edition 11.04. Why will Ubuntu 11.04 be using Unity? Well next April the GNOME Shell will ship. The GNOME Shell is a significant modification of the whole GNOME user interface. It will look something like this. Canonical has decided that the GNOME shell is not a suitable choice for Ubuntu due to it being more difficult to use along with several other reasons. So instead the Ubuntu will work on a desktop version of the Unity interface that is already used for Netbooks. But Ubuntu 11.04 will remain a GNOME distribution and it will still run all the GNOME applications. It will just use Unity instead of the GNOME Shell. Rumors are that 11.04 will also use Compiz and try to have to the beauty and graphical effects like other modern Operating Systems such as the Mac OS X.