Ubuntu 11.04 Released

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News Posted: Fri, Apr 22 2011 2:20 PM

How time flies!  Every six months, Ubuntu releases the next iteration of their popular desktop Linux distribution, and today is just such a day.  Ubuntu has officially released version 11.04 "Natty Narwhal".  There are thousands of package updates in this release, but what follows are some of the more notable items.


Desktop:
The default desktop environment for Ubuntu is now the Unity Desktop.



Previous versions used the Gnome Panel, which in Gnome 3.0 is being replaced by the Gnome Shell. Due to the high level of integration between Gnome Shell and the Mutter window manager, and the wide array of platforms targeted by Ubuntu, the Canonical team opted for Unity as the default desktop Gnome Shell's stead

Should you not care for the Unity interface, the “classic” Ubuntu desktop interface can be selected from the login menu.

The Unity Dash now allows you to quickly search through your applications. Not only does a single keypress allow you to start searching for applications you have installed, but it will even suggest possible matches that you do not have installed (and a single click will then take you to the description/installation screen in the software center!)


A new style of scrollbar has been introduced for both the Unity and Gnome Shell desktops. The new scrollbars take up less space and dynamically appear as you approach their area. This gives more space for actual content, while giving the controls a static size that is easy to use on portable devices.

Due to the tablet/netbook friendly GUI of Unity, Canonical has dropped the netbook edition of Ubuntu. The one interface has been conceive to work for all devices.


Music/Audio:
  • Rythmbox had a good run, but has been replaced by the more popular Banshee music player.
  • Better support for iPhones in Nautilus.
  • Media playback has been integrated into the volume control


Office and Productivity:

As mentioned in a previous HotHardware news article, OpenOffice has been replaced by LibreOffice as the default office suite.

The Software Center has been improved and now has WebLive support.  This allows you to "Test Drive" many applications without installing them.  Clicking the "Test Drive" application connects you to an instance of the application via an NX session on a remote server.

On the anti-productivity front, unless you really use the web for work, the default web browser Firefox has been updated to version 4. Work has also been done to integrate it with the rest of the desktop environment in a more seamless fashion.


Synchronization and Cloud support:

Ubuntu One has seen a bit of work since 10.10. It now sports a much nicer interface and is cross platform.




Ubuntu One allows you to synchronize music, folders, and bookmarks across multiple systems, even with Windows, Android, and iPhone devices. Music bought through Ubuntu One's store is backed up in the cloud and accessible from any of your other Ubuntu One devices.

Music from the Ubuntu One Music Store does not count against your Ubuntu One storage limit (First 2GB free, $3/mo for every 20GB greater than that).

Ubuntu Server Cloud has improved OVF support, as well as dynamic resizing/renaming upon first boot.


Social Networking:

If you so desire, you can set up broadcast accounts to send broadcasts to Twitter, Facebook and other services directly from the desktop.

   

Messaging is also integrated into the interface, and you can use a plethora of back-end servers to communicate with your friends.


Kernel Updates:

Ubuntu is now using the 2.6.38 version of the Linux kernel. The 20,000+ updates since the kernel in Ubuntu 10.10 offer several advances. Some of the highlights include:

  • Increases desktop performance. This includes the “wonder patch” that gained attention for allowing the desktop to get a better share of system resources when the system is highly utilized by processes in other control groups..
  • VFS (Virtual File System – communications between the kernel and user space) optimizations. The VFS is now 30-50% faster on some operations.
  • Improves support for popular video chipsets and adds support for newer hardware. Specific items include support for Bobcat APUs, Radeon 6200, 6800, & 6900 family GPUs, and better power handling for i3, i5, and i7-2000 APUs.
  • Many driver improvements, including better support for wireless LAN drivers for chips from Atheros, Broadcom, Intel, Ralink and Realtek.
  • Fixes suspend/resume issues for some hardware;.
  • Improvements to Ext3, Btrfs, SquashFS, UDF and XFS file system performance.
Derivatives:
For those not interested in the Unity or Gnome desktop environments, several derivative versions should also be celebrating releases today.  These use the same repositories as Ubuntu, but have varying desktop environments and default packages.

Kubuntu
:  Uses the KDE4.6.2 Desktop Environment.
Xubuntu
:  An official version of Ubuntu that uses the XFCE Desktop Environment.
Edubuntu
:  An Ubuntu distro with heavy emphasis on educational software packages.

Users already running Ubuntu or a derivative may upgrade directly from their existing install.  Users interested in trying Ubuntu for the first time can download a LiveCD from the main site and try it without installing anything to the hard drive.
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Ahh huge graphic lol. Time to upgrade :) It sounds like there are some great upgrades as usual.

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10.10 was good, but this looks to be even better!

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10.10 was great I agree this looks better. 6 hours to download so far on high speed Cable.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 2:36 PM

I've been running it since alpha, but I'm using the KDE4.6.2 desktop - which is rock solid. I'll probably give Unity another try after it's had a month or so to get in more bug reports/fixes.

If Unity is too buggy on your hardware, you can add the KDE desktop packages by installing the 'kubuntu-desktop' package inside of Ubuntu (you may need to click the "show technical items" link at the bottom of software-center, if you're not using another package manager). Conversely, installing the 'ubuntu-desktop' package inside of Kubuntu will give you access to the Unity desktop.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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Inspector replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 3:17 PM

Nice, now to download and try it out... :D

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So for those of you who are running this, what is the major advantage over windows? Cost obviously, is it faster? Does it crash less? I've been pretty happy with windows 7's performance.

Now you're just mashing it!

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Advantages are it's free and not really a lot of viruses for Linux. It is faster than windows and there are many free awesome programs available for Linux. But if you need to run Windows programs then you probably want to stick with Windows 7. I am running Ubuntu on a spare machine but my main laptop and desktop are both Windows 7.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 5:48 PM

@Drake:

- Zero viruses. More secure. Someone might throw a link to some trojan here, but they'd be dreaming if they think any Linux user actually sees them in the wild. They just don't propagate.

- Easy access to 10's of thousands of free software packages via built-in package managers.

- Easy updates not just for the OS and manufacturer programs, but for *all* installed programs - as soon as an updated version hits the repositories, you're one click away from updating to the current version (no installer dialogs either!).

- No DRM built into the system, stopping you from doing what you want with your media.

- The ability to change and improve *anything*. You have the source code and free compilers for everything.

- Support for more advanced higher-performing file systems like Ext4 and Btrfs.

- Not owned by any one entity, all open - No potential for consumer abuse by the distros; no vendor lock-in.

- Runs on any architecture. This is why Linux (in the form of Android) had the leg up in the phone and tablet space.

- Incredible community and developer support. Take a look at ubuntuforums.com and launchpad.com.

- Developing at a phenomenal pace. Want to see what's in Windows 8? Use Linux.

There's literally no area where Windows comes out on top, other than market-share and the fact that they used that market-share to lock game manufacturers into DirectX. You can still play a lot of these Windows games and other software on Linux anyway, by installing Wine.

>> is it faster?

Depends on the install, but generally yes. It boots in six seconds on my PC where Windows 7 takes ten. Along the same lines, it's much more customizable than Windows, so you can make it perform better on more limited hardware.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 5:54 PM

Yeah I have tried to install a couple of versions since getting this computer with an SSD in it. I have had no luck it does not even seem to be seen as an install path. It see's my 2 750 GB standard HD's, but the SSD is the main boot drive (plus I don't want to use any of the SSD space anyway). I screwed around with it for a while with no luck. I will try Ubuntu it may have new drivers that see and can go around the SSD.

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 System Model: Gigabyte X58A-UD5
 Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU         930  @ 2.80GHz (8 CPUs), ~3.6GHz
 Memory: Kingston 6144MB RAM
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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 5:58 PM

That's weird. My main system has an SSD and was seen without issue.

Is your SSD connected to some kind of add-in card? I can help you search for known issues/workarounds if you'd like to PM me with the deets.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 5:59 PM

And I pre-emptively apologize for the use of the word "deets". It was uncalled for, and my kids watch iCarly. :)

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 6:01 PM

Downloading now :) I like the look of that Unity desktop, and I liked the last version of Ubuntu as well although I was only able to run it on the CD (because of the SSD recognition error). I hope this version can see and skip the SSD!

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 System Model: Gigabyte X58A-UD5
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 Memory: Kingston 6144MB RAM
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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 6:05 PM

There's also an alternate-install version of the ISO that uses a text-based installer. I've successfully used that in the past when I had a system with a funky RAID setup that the LiveCD did not like. You can get it here: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily/current/

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 7:48 PM

BTW: Found this good article - 10 Things to do after installing Ubuntu 11.04

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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Thanks 3vi1 :) I know who to ask if I have any questions. Like I said I have just been using it on a spare machine mostly to play around with. I am thinking of building an HTPC and dropping Linux on it rather than Windows.

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realneil replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 8:20 PM

omegadraco - "6 hours to download so far on high speed Cable"

What? It took me 7 minutes on my cable modem. (my brand new, installed today, haulin' ass cable modem)

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

(Mark Twain)

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 8:28 PM

No problem, omegadraco!

And don't forget you can always dual-boot if you're unsure Linux is right for what you want to do. The Ubuntu CDs will even re-size your existing Windows partition and install in the free space. I think that's the best way to migrate anyway, as new users won't be aware of all the ways to do more complicated things, and may need time to find a free Linux app that is the right substitute for their bought Windows software.

If you're looking at a HTPC, I suggest checking out Mythbuntu (http://www.mythbuntu.org/), or installing the MythTV packages on any other distro. Also, XBMC and Boxee are great.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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OSunday replied on Thu, Apr 28 2011 11:00 PM

I wonder if you could use UbuntoOne's cloud storage system that sync's across platforms with windows to have a Linux box that you could just mess around with and explore another OS, but also serve as backup for your main computer and have things synchronized with the cloud feature,

I think it wont be long until Linux starts showing up in retail machines (5-10yrs maybe?), its just the idea of doing any coding or anything that is more complex than clicking the next button in an install guide or following simple instructions is intimidating to many

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Apr 29 2011 7:17 AM

>> I think it wont be long until Linux starts showing up in retail machines (5-10yrs maybe?),

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Asus-EB1007B0410/16332632

I've seen other Linux machines in retail outlets before, but they usually put it on the lowest-end hardware known to man.  That's good in a way, because the users of those machines shouldn't be expecting to do any high-end gaming, and Linux is great at everything else.  In a way it's bad though, as it gives people the impression that Linux is underpowered when they have no idea just how poorly a modern version of Windows runs on the same $200 worth of hardware.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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It looks like its time to update the netbook....

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

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Thanks for the info. I will definitely give it a try on my laptop. All I use it for is a few docs and surfing the web. I saw @rapid was having problems with an ssd and you weren't. Has anyone tried it with a hybrid drive? I have a momentus xt in my laptop. I'll try it out and see how it goes, I don't see why there would be any problems. 

There were a few posts in the umbuntu forums about the momentus xt and everything seem to work good for those gents.

Now you're just mashing it!

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fat78 replied on Sat, Apr 30 2011 10:22 AM

I haven't used linux on one of my computers before, but i have just installed ubuntu on my laptop and i am enjoying it a lot. Still exploring it so i cant say to much atm but might install on my desktop

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realneil replied on Sat, Apr 30 2011 11:08 AM

Drake_McNasty:
Has anyone tried it with a hybrid drive? I have a momentus xt in my laptop. I'll try it out and see how it goes, I don't see why there would be any problems. 

No problems with my xt 500GB drive at all. I'm responding to this on a Dell with that drive in it and running the newest version of Ubuntu, and I like it too.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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Has anyone got Unity to work in VMware workstation?

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3vi1 replied on Mon, May 2 2011 8:54 AM

I haven't tried it there, but you probably need to install the guest additions within the VM before it will boot into Unity instead of the classic interface.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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This is the best Ubuntu I've used so far. I really like the Unity dash better than the previous GNOME versions.

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