First Beta of Ubuntu 11.10 Begins Making the Rounds
While the official current release of Ubuntu remains version 11.04, the Oneiric Ocelot Beta 1 Release of Ubuntu 11.10 is now available. You can find a Technical Overview, including instructions on how to upgrade from version 11.04, on this page. This beta may be too early for everyday use, but it delivers an early glimpse of what the next major upgrade of Ubuntu will include.
Based on the 3.0.0-9.15 Ubuntu-centric Linux kernel, Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1 enables "multiarch" support for installing 32-bit library and application packages on 64-bit systems. It also includes an upgraded version of the much discussed Unity desktop environment, and many upgrades to the Ubuntu Software Center, designed to make it easier and more flexible to discover and install new applications.
Mark Shuttleworth has discussed some of the goals with version 11.10 of Ubuntu. As we reported here, it includes Mozilla's Thunderbird as its default email engine, replacing Evolution. This single change may be disruptive for many users, but if you've used Thunderbird in the past and had problems with it, it has improved tremendously. Ubuntu 11.10 also includes new Lenses technology, designed to take collections of information from disparate sources, such as media files, and allow flexible filtering so that users can view and organize them by category or other filters.
Déjà Dup is included as the default backup tool in version 11.10, facilitating uploaded backups to Ubuntu One. There is also a new Gwibber with improved performance and a new interface based on GNOME. Notably, Ubuntu Server version 11.10 also includes Orchestra – designed for deploying, hosting and managing enterprise-class services.
Canonical expects finished code for version 11.10 to be available in October, but you can get a peek under the hood of the new beta now.