Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 has been released today. There's nothing much to talk about right now since it's only the beginning of the road, but since Unity received an update a couple of days ago, I though you might want to see a new video with Unity in action:

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For those who haven't read our initial Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 post, there are some things you should know: Dash (the file browser / application pane) is not yet implemented. Also, Unity finally got an autohide (and float) mode.

In the video you can spot most of the changes in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal alpha 1: besides Unity (which is now using Compiz instead of Mutter - you can enable / disable Unity from the CompizConfig Settings Manager), the notification area is gone, there's the new Network Indicator (which is required now that there's no more notification area) and some minor changes to the Ubuntu Software Center.

Unity changes (since our last Unity post):
  • changing the icon theme will also change the icons in the Unity launcher ("dock") - this wasn't working in 10.10. Unfortunately the icons only change after a log out and I can't do that and keep recording (and if I disable and re-enable Unity, it crashes).
  • the number of open windows is indicated by dots under the icon on the Unity Launcher. Clicking an icon for an application that has more then one window open will trigger an expose effect for the windows
  • right now, clicking the Ubuntu logo will launch Nautilus (applications folder) instead of Dash (about a week ago, this button did nothing). This should change in Alpha 2.

Also, since I've last tested Unity, some bugs have been fixed: there are no more Gnome panels (initially, both Gnome panels showed up even though I was running Unity - the top panel wasn't visible, but it was there, behind the Unity panel) and the quicklists now work.

Ubuntu 11.04 uses Unity by default, however if your graphics card is not supported, it falls back to the classic Gnome look:

Unity Ubuntu 11.04 - no 3d support

Even if you graphic card supports Unity, you can still login to the classic Gnome because there are 2 sessions you can choose from in GDM: Ubuntu desktop will run Unity (if supported by your hardware) and Ubuntu Classic which is the old Gnome look that supports all hardware and video drivers (which were previously supported by Ubuntu).

Up next:
  • December 2nd - Alpha 1
  • February 3rd - Alpha 2
  • March 3rd - Alpha 3
  • March 31st - Beta
  • April 21st - Release Candidate
  • April 28th - Ubuntu 11.04

Download Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 (use it for testing purposes only!)