Ubuntu 11.10 Released

It is October again, which means it's time for candy.  If you happen to be one of the 20 million Ubuntu users, today's candy comes in the form of the biannual Ubuntu release: 11.10 - Oneiric Ocelot.

If the official release notes below draw your interest, an online tour is available at http://www.ubuntu.com/tour/

LiveCD's, which can be used to preview (without installation) or install the OS are available on Ubuntu's site.  For those who don't want to take the plunge and allow Ubuntu to resize their drives for dual boot, there is also an option for installing Ubuntu inside of Windows via Wubi.

Release Overview

Oneiric Ocelot includes new releases of all major flavors of Ubuntu: desktop, server, cloud, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, and Ubuntu Studio. For Ubuntu, this release provides a full Unity experience, even without 3D hardware acceleration, promoting Unity 2D to the primary fallback shell. LightDM steps forward as the login manager for Ubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Mythbuntu, and Ubuntu Studio. It also includes a customized Unity greeter. Kubuntu showcases the best and the newest features of the KDE Platform, Plasma Workspaces, and Applications (including the Muon Software Centre). Ubuntu Server introduces a technical preview of Juju - a modern approach to service deployment and orchestration on cloud and bare metal environments, and support for the ARM architecture.


New Features

Lenses and Interface Changes

11.10 includes a new release of compiz and Unity. Highlights of this release are:

A new Alt+Tab switcher.
"Places" are renamed to "Lenses". This feature now also integrates multiple sources and advanced filtering options like ratings, range, and categories.

The Dash has a new music lens, linked to Banshee, that searches your personal and online music collections.

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 reduces the delta with Unity, shares more code with it, and has an almost completed accessibility support set of features. See known issues for the missing accessibility parts.

The indicators got a visual refresh that includes a refactoring of the session indicator and a new power indicator.

The Ubuntu Font Family, developed under the guidance of the Dalton Maag type foundry and the Canonical design team, has been expanded with Ubuntu Mono and Ubuntu Condensed.

Ubuntu Software Center 5.0

11.10 includes Ubuntu Software Center 5.0, featuring a completely revamped interface that provides a simpler and more enjoyable experience for browsing, searching, and managing your software. The navigation tree view pane from previous Ubuntu Software Center versions has been replaced by a much cleaner toolbar approach for navigating between views. Top-rated applications are now displayed prominently in the main view as well as in category views, leveraging the extensive database of excellent review data that has been provided over the past year by the Ubuntu community.

Application list views can now be dynamically sorted by top-rated, by name, and also by the date the application appeared in the Center. A dynamic banner has been added to the main view that will serve to highlight interesting new applications as well as themed collections. These banners will be updated regularly, and this, along with the dynamic What's New and Top Rated sections, should help to ensure an interesting and fun experience each time you open Software Center.

Last but not least, OneConf is now built in to keep your installed applications in sync between multiple computers. To activate it, use "File → Sync between computers…".

New ARM subarchitectures

Ubuntu 11.10 introduces two new desktop images for ARM subarchitectures: armel+ac100 for the Toshiba ac100 netbook (NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC), and armel+mx5 targeted at the Freescale i.MX53 Quick Start development board. Both of these images are "best-effort" community-supported images aimed at developer and hobbyist use.

Revised DVD content

In Ubuntu 11.10 there is now a revised, smaller (in size) DVD based on community feedback over the last few cycles. This new DVD has a more manageable size of 1.5G, and is an extension of our current CD image that includes all the language packs and some other useful applications, such as Inkscape, GIMP, Pitivi, and a more complete LibreOffice suite. All the packages that used to be on the DVD are still available from the archive.

New App Developer Site

Coinciding with the Ubuntu 11.10 release, a significant milestone in the ongoing effort of making Ubuntu a target for application developers has also been reached: the Ubuntu App Developer site launch.

developer.ubuntu.com should now be the central point of reference for any topics related to Ubuntu application development, from creation to publication: porting, sharing, contributing, and finding information. This site should grow organically to provide the tools, share knowledge, and act as the springboard for fostering application proliferation and developer community growth.

Read more in the official announcement.

New Localized ISO Tools

Ubuntu now provides a set of tools for Ubuntu LoCo teams to create custom images to provide an experience even closer to the culture of the region they cover. After setting the foundations in Ubuntu 11.10, in the next cycle we plan to work with the community on expanding community usage. Learn more.

Updated Applications

Thunderbird is included as the default email client. This now includes menu and launcher integration via Unity.

Backups are easy in Ubuntu 11.10 now that Déjà Dup is included as the default backup tool. Securely store copies of your important data on a separate hard drive, cloud server, or even Ubuntu One.

The new Gwibber landed in Ubuntu 11.10, bringing improved performance and a new interface using the most recent GNOME technologies.

GNOME 3.2 is included and is a major upgrade from GNOME 2.32 included in Ubuntu 11.04. GNOME Classic is no longer installed by default, but can be enabled after installation completes by installing gnome-panel. Note that the indicator status menus have not yet been ported to the new gnome-panel and the default upstream panel layout is used instead of the heavy Ubuntu customizations. GNOME Shell is also available for install.

Ubuntu now uses the LightDM login manager with the Unity greeter.

Synaptic and Pitivi are no longer included in the default install but are still available in the Ubuntu repositories.

Ubuntu Server

New Features

Juju is available in Ubuntu 11.10 as a technical preview. Juju is a service deployment and orchestration framework developed by Canonical and used to deploy and manage services both on bare-metal and in the cloud. Through the use of what we call charms, juju provides you with shareable, re-usable, and repeatable expressions of DevOps best practices. You can use them unmodified, or easily change and connect them to fit your needs. Deploying a charm is similar to installing a package on Ubuntu: ask for it and it’s there, remove it and it’s completely gone.

Orchestra is a collection of the best free software services for provisioning, deploying, hosting, managing, and orchestrating datacenter services. Instead of manually setting up a complex network installation environment, users can now leverage Orchestra to rapidly deploy new servers into production. The process is standardized and fully automated, and thus minimizes manual intervention and ensures consistency. This solution is provided as a response to all user requests that we received for making multiple installs and deployments easier. The core component of Orchestra provisioning is Cobbler and Juju.

Ubuntu Server 11.10 is the first release with support for the ARM architecture. In this last cycle, the Ubuntu Server team worked closely with the Ubuntu ARM team to deliver a technical preview of ARM server support in Ubuntu Server 11.10.

Updated Applications

Former UEC components (including Eucalyptus) are no longer part of the CD image and are no longer included in the security-supported main component of the archive. An upgrade path is provided from from 11.04.

The Xen hypervisor has now been reintroduced as an option in Ubuntu Server.

Ubuntu Cloud

Ubuntu 11.10 introduces the new Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure and Ubuntu Cloud Guest images. The Cloud Infrastructure images are the successor of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud and provide a ready to deploy Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS) based on the Openstack Diablo release. Ubuntu Cloud Guest was previously known as JeOS or UEC-image. This Ubuntu Server image is specially tailored for use in a public or private cloud instance. ARM cloud images are also being built. However, currently no cloud infrastructure can consume ARM cloud images properly. Therefore, these images are available on a best effort basis.

More information is available at https://cloud-images.ubuntu.com.

Ubuntu Common Infrastructure

Hybrid CD/USB images supported

All ISO images released with Ubuntu 11.10 are hybrid CD/USB images that can be written directly to a USB disk and booted without the use of special software. Users who wish to enable persistent storage on a USB stick can still use the usb-creator tool to configure the USB stick.

32-bit compatibility on amd64 systems

Ubuntu 11.10 provides "multiarch" support for installing 32-bit library and application packages on 64-bit systems. For all amd64 installs and upgrades, select 32-bit software (like Skype and Flash), will now be installable directly using the same 32-bit packages that are used on i386 installations. You are not required to install the ia32-libs compatibility package. For users, this change means that the 32-bit libraries will always be available at the same time as their 64-bit counterparts, even in the case of security updates, and users will only need to install those 32-bit libraries required by the user's application(s).

Linux 3.0 Kernel

Ubuntu 11.10 includes the 3.0.0-12.20 Ubuntu kernel which brings the 3.0 upstream kernel, the latest mainline release. The Ubuntu kernel is based on the linux v3.0.4 upstream stable kernel.

This kernel update brings a number of performance improvements both to ext4 (the default filesystem) and the process scheduler. This enhancement will improve interactive behavior and introduce support for newer hardware.

For the server, the kernel also brings the return of Xen dom0 support as a tech preview building towards full support for the 12.04 LTS Release. It also has container and namespace improvements enabling full LXC support which is of particular interest on ARM platforms. There are also a number of networking and netfilter improvements.

A note to application developers, the default number of file descriptors has been increased to simplify management of those programs that utilize very large numbers of files.

For the deeply technical, there are improvements to TCP and fragment identifier generations, btrfs has a number of significant improvements, ext4 has SMP scalability improvements, and the Big Kernel Lock is dead!

Upstart 1.3

Ubuntu 11.10 features an update to Upstart 1.3, with support for displaying boot-time status on servers and more reliable handling of legacy sysvinit scripts.

GCC 4.6 Toolchain

Ubuntu 11.10 includes gcc 4.6 as the default compiler. The GCC packages are built from the 4.6-2011.07 Linaro GCC release based on the GCC 4.6.1 release. See ToolChain/CompilerFlags for a summary of compiler defaults which are different from the upstream release.

The compiler passes by default two additional flags to the linker:

-Wl,--no-copy-dt-needed-entries is also known as --no-add-needed. This option affects the treatment of dynamic libraries referred to by DT_NEEDED tags inside ELF dynamic libraries mentioned on the command line, and also has an effect on the resolution of symbols in dynamic libraries. This will be the default in the upcoming binutils-2.22 release. This may result in build failures. More information and recipes how to fix such build failures can be found at NattyNarwhal/ToolchainTransition and the corresponding Debian page.

-Wl,--as-needed with this option the linker will only add a DT_NEEDED tag for a dynamic library mentioned on the command line if if the library is actually used. A common build error with this option enabled is seen when libraries appear on the command line before objects that reference them. More information and recipes how to fix such build errors can be found at NattyNarwhal/ToolchainTransition and the corresponding Debian page.


Default and available versions of Python have been updated as follows:

Default: 2.7.2 (Ubuntu 11.04 had 2.7.1)
Available: 2.6.7 (Ubuntu 11.04 had 2.6.6)

Available: 3.2.2 (Ubuntu 11.04 had 3.2)

Python 3.1 has been removed (3.1.3 was available in Ubuntu 11.04).

The primary work done on Python this cycle was internal/developer-focused and not user visible. We made the transition to the dh_python2 helper for packaging Python libraries and applications. Previous Python helpers have all been deprecated in Debian, and in Ubuntu 11.10, all Python packages on all of our CD images now use the best-of-breed dh_python2.

Backports are now more easily accessible

To enable users to more easily receive new versions of software, the Ubuntu Backports repository is now enabled by default. Packages from backports will not be installed by default — they must explicitly be selected in package management software. However, once installed, packages from backports will automatically be upgraded to newer versions.

Ubuntu Core

Ubuntu Core is a new minimal rootfs for use in the creation of custom images for specific needs. Developers will now be able to use Ubuntu Core as the basis for their application demonstrations, constrained environment deployments, device support packages, and other goals. More information is available on the Ubuntu Core wiki page.

Ubuntu One

The new music lens in the Dash supports searching your personal and online music collections, as well as the Ubuntu One Music Store.

The Déjà Dup backup tool, shipped by default in Ubuntu, supports backing up to the Ubuntu One cloud.

Ubuntu One music collections are now streamed to Android and iOS devices, as well as supporting file sharing cross-platform compatibility with Windows.


Kubuntu brings the latest and greatest from KDE and aims to provide a well-rounded desktop suitable for all types of users.

New Features

Muon Software Center and Package Manager, Kubuntu's new default appication management suite provides both user-friendly and power-user interfaces for package management.

kubuntu-low-fat-settings provides package which brings a collection of configuration settings that turn off some services, krunner plugins, and graphical effects which will allow Kubuntu to run on older, lower-end systems by reducing the memory footprint of the workspace.

Technical Preview of OpenGL ES Powered Desktop Effects For those adventurous and curious, Kubuntu 11.10 has packaged the work towards using a more compatible and reliable version of OpenGL, OpenGL ES.

Updated Applications

KDE 4.7.1 provides an entire selection updated software.

Amarok 2.4.3 features native support for remote NFS and SMB/CIFS collections, a better looking user interface, support for gpodder.net, as well as vastly improved reliability.

Kdepim 4.7.2 is the new Akonadi based pim suite that includes Kmail2. Please see the known issues section for problems relating to migrating pim data from previous versions to 11.10 and open issues associated with use of this re-engineered kdepim suite.

QtCreator 2.2.1 provides configurable mime types and code snippets, support for the Bazaar version control system as well as improved support for Qt Quick.

Please visit http://kubuntu.org for more information about Kubuntu, and see Kubuntu's 11.10 release announcement.


New Features

gThumb is now in the default Xubuntu 11.10 installation, to help users with image transformations and viewing.

leafpad is the new default text editor (instead of mousepad), and now includes the ability to print.

pastebinit is now included in Xubuntu 11.10 installations by default. If you need to use http://paste.ubuntu.com/, you can use pastebinit in terminals to paste directly without copying and pasting the data.

LightDM is the new application that manages logins in Xubuntu 11.10.

Updated Applications

Onboard (the onscreen keyboard) is now included in the default Xubuntu menus, under Accessories. For those who require an onscreen keyboard, this will be much easier to access using only a mouse or touchpad.

Xubuntu will continue to use Synaptic Package Manager, yet provides the Ubuntu Software Center for those who prefer it.

See the Xubuntu 11.10 release announcement.


Lubuntu 11.10 is a brand new flavor of Ubuntu based on the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) as its default GUI. The goal is to provide a very lightweight distribution, with all the advantages of the Ubuntu world (repositories, support, etc.). Lubuntu is targeted at "normal" PC and laptop users running on low-specification hardware. The target user group for this flavor will be either those users who might not be proficient in using command line tools or those users who might not have enough resources for all the bells and whistles of the "full-featured" mainstream distributions.

With many LXDE components, Lubuntu also uses well-known applications, such as Chromium, Openbox, Pidgin, to name a few. The Lubuntu project wiki contains more information on the project and the applications used.


Edubuntu 11.10 inherits all the changes that occurred in the Ubuntu desktop.

This release of Edubuntu is better translated than ever before with all of our tools fully supporting translation.

If you want to try Edubuntu 11.10 without having to download our DVD, you can try it online on WebLive: http://www.edubuntu.org/weblive

To learn more about Edubuntu 11.10, go to: http://www.edubuntu.org/.

New Features

There is a refreshed look and feel with new wallpaper and login screen.

The default desktop environment is now Unity with fallback to Unity 2D when the hardware doesn't support running the 3D version. Gnome 3 Fallback (which uses an updated gnome-panel) is available for those who want it as an option in the installer.

Updated Applications

Updates in this release include:

gobby was updated to gobby-0.5.

gbrainy was updated to the latest and greatest version 2.

Default changes include:

Nanny, Pessulus and Sabayon haven't been ported to Gnome 3.0/dconf yet and were consequently dropped from the default installation.


11.10 is not a feature heavy release, but does bring in new HW support from the updated kernel and graphics stack. It is leading up in preparation for the new Mythbuntu release strategy, LTS only releases starting with 12.04.

New Features

LightDM is the new application that manages logins in Mythbuntu 11.10.

Chromium has been adapted by the Mythbuntu team to replace Firefox by default.

Ubuntu Software Center is now the default software installer instead of Synaptic, in line with the rest of Ubuntu.

Updated Applications

MythTV has been updated to more recent builds. While MythTV is still on the 0.24 series, it has been growing more stable with each new build.

Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio 11.10 is still working through our XFCE transition, so some items or features might not be completely resolved yet.

More details can be found at: UbuntuStudio/11.10release_notes

New Features

LightDM is the new application that manages logins in Ubuntu Studio 11.10 and has a new background.

The menu will be different as the Ubuntu Studio team is moving towards a more DE agnostic way of handling categories and submenus.

The icon set has changed.

Updated Applications

Many non-A/V/G specific applications, text editor for example, have changed to XFCE equivalent. Unfortunately, because of low resource bandwidth the Ubuntu Studio Team was not able to complete the testing in this cycle and therefore deficiencies are expected and we apologize in advance.