Ubuntu Version 11.10: Days Away Now
As we've reported before, the official release of Ubuntu 11.10, Oneiric Ocelot, is due on October 13th. In addition, many people are already using the beta releases. In case you missed it, at ThisisTheCountdown.com you can track the minutes and seconds leading up to the next major release of Ubuntu, and get QR codes and URL strips. The previous release of Ubuntu, Natty Narwhal, provoked some controversy among users, especially due to its desktop interface, but version 11.10 has some much desired improvements. Here's an updated look at what's under the hood.
You can find release notes for the second beta of Ubuntu version 11.10 here. 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.
Regarding Unity, Canonical's release notes provide this information:
"A new release of compiz and Unity has been included with this milestone. Highlights of this release are:
- A new Alt+Tab switcher.
- "Places" were renamed to "Lenses", now integrating multiple sources and advanced filtering like ratings, range, categories…
- A new music lens linked to Banshee is also installed by default.
- The restructuring for getting some new features has been done. Known bugs and regressions are documented below.
- Better performance of launchers and panel, ported to GTK 3 and GTK 3-based indicator stack.
- Full support for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other script languages.
Unity 2D reduced the delta with Unity, shares more code with it and has almost complete accessibility support. See Known issues for the missing accessibility parts."
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. As noted above, Ubuntu 11.10 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.
Those of us who use Ubuntu regularly will have lots of poking around to do in just a few days, as the official version 11.10 rolls out.