Friday, February 4

Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' Alpha 2 Released - Overview and Screenshots


Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' has been released. With Ubuntu 11.04 the new Unity interface has become default for Desktop version as well.

Changes/New Features till Alpha 2

Unity Interface

The biggest change in Ubuntu 11.04 is the Unity interface with Compiz as a backend for it. Unity will have two versions, one for systems capable of 3D hardware acceleration and another one, Unity 2D for low end systems.

Unity launcher now have auto-hide mode turned on by default so that windows can take full screen space. Also Unity Applications and Places shortcuts have been added to the Unity launcher but are barely functional.




Unity Dash View with big tile like icons (similar to Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition) was also introduced but its not working anymore in Alpha 2. The Appmenu is enabled by default now and is activated once you hover the pointer over the window title on the panel.


The window control buttons lie on the panel if any window is maximized. Minimized windows have window decorators on the title bar as usual.

A new window snap feature has been introduced that allows you to snap windows to the screen edges by dragging them.


Windows can be dragged to different workspaces by simple drag and drop once you click the workspace switcher on the Unity launcher.


The sound menu now have playlist support for music players that support MPRIS protocol.


Unity will be available for low end systems as a 2D version has been ported using QT\QML.



You can install Unity 2D by running following commands: (For both Ubuntu 11.04 and 10.10)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-2d-team/unity-2d-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-2d

Ubuntu One

A new Ubuntu One dashboard is in development that makes managing your Ubuntu One account much easier. Ubuntu One indicator is now also there in messaging menu.




Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu Software Center has been greatly improved with lower start-up times. Software recommendations and ratings and reviews have also been introduced. Users can now review their favorite app using Ubuntu One SSO login.



Default Applications

Firefox 4 is now the default web browser (currently beta 10). LibreOffice has been made the default Office suite and Banshee as the default music player.



Download

Before proceeding please note that this is ALPHA quality build and it is far from stable. It is suggested not to upgrade your Ubuntu version. The best possible method would be to try it in Virtualbox or in Live mode on a USB stick.


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