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Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' Released - Review, Screenshots Tour and Videos

Much awaited Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' has been released today. Ubuntu 11.04 is getting a radical change with this release as the Unity interface has been made the default Desktop Experience for Ubuntu users. Classic Gnome Desktop is still available as an option.

Lets look at the main changes over Ubuntu 10.10 and what has been happening in Natty development over last six months.

The Unity interface was developed for Ubutnu 10.10 Netbook addition and was based on Mutter much like Gnome Shell. However, with this release Ubuntu Netbook edition has been dropped and there is no separate Desktop or Netbook Edition but simply 'Ubuntu'. Unity has been also ported from Mutter to Compiz and has been made more robust, fast and stable overcoming Mutter's Limitations.

For Netbooks and other devices that are not capable of 3D hardware acceleration, Unity-2D will be default desktop experience for them. Unity-2d is based on faster and lightweight Qt/Qml framework.

Ubuntu 11.04 is not yet using Gnome 3 stack but is still on Gnome 2.32.1. But in future bringing in Gnome 3 stack should be high priority. Gnome Shell is not available in official Ubuntu repositories, so users won't be given Gnome Shell as an option for default interface. However, there is a Gnome 3 PPA available, using that entire Gnome 3 stack including Gnome Shell can be installed on Ubuntu 11.04.

Ubuntu 11.04 comes with Linux Kernel 2.6.38, Xserver 1.10 and Gnome 2.32.1 stack. New Default Applications include Firefox 4, LibreOffice 3.3.2 and Banshee 2.0.

New Unity Interface (Scroll Down Below For Video Showing Complete Unity Interface)

We have completely covered all the aspect of Unity interface in details in our past Beta 1 and Beta 2 reviews. For more information you can read our older posts:
Here is a list of Changes
  • Unity as Default Desktop Interface. Read our in depth review of Unity interface from here
  • Ratings, reviews and recommendations support for applications in Ubuntu Software Center
  • More clean and cohesive look on panel as only appindicators are supported
  • No support for adding panel applets and systray support available only for wine, Skype, java applications and printer application
  • All Unity Settings can be tweaked from Compiz Config Settings Manager (CCSM). You can install it from Ubuntu Software Center.
  • Windows can be snapped to edges by dragging
  • AppMenu is enabled for all Applications including Firefox. Appmenu integration for LibreOffice can be installed from Official Repositories.
  • Better Multi Touch Support with Unity grab handles
  • New Ubuntu Font version - Ubuntu Light
  • Overlay Scrollbars now default
  • Compiz Grid plugin (Similar to Aero Snap) has been made more robust with animation effect
  • Dragging and dropping files and application icons works perfectly on Unity launcher
  • Google Chrome/Chromium now integrates better with Ambiance GTK theme
  • Both ATI and Nvidia Proprietory Drivers updated to latest version bringing in support for Xserver 1.10
I missed out on providing any Video previews so far. But here are some videos showing all new features.

Unity Video (Watch in HD)

Unity-2D Video (Watch in HD)

Screenshots Tour

Download Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal'

Ubuntu 10.10 users can upgrade to 11.04 by running following command - sudo update-manager -d

After installing/upgrading, you may want to customize Ubuntu. Read our guide - Things To Do After Installing New Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal'

Also check out - 17 Top Rated Applications in Ubuntu Software Center You Should Have in Natty Narwhal

Congratulations to all Developers and Contributors working really hard over past six months!! 


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