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03 December 2010, 11:40

Canonical releases Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1

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Ubuntu Logo Canonical has announced the release of the first alpha for Ubuntu 11.04, code named "Natty Narwhal". This development milestone is the first of three planned alpha releases, which will be followed by a beta and then a release candidate.

Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 is based on the 2.6.37-rc3 Linux kernel and features the Unity desktop, developed in-house by the Ubuntu developers, as the distribution's default desktop, replacing the GNOME Shell. According to the developers, Unity is "partially" implemented in the alpha and includes the Unity Launcher to open applications that are pinned to the launcher and to switch between running applications. Alternatively users can select ‘Ubuntu Classic Desktop’ from the session menu before logging in. Other changes include minor tweaks to the Ubuntu Sound Menu, Network Manager changes and various package updates.

As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they encounter.

More details about the development preview, including a list of known issues, can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes. A list of planned features and changes for version 11.04 of Ubuntu is available on the Blueprints for Natty page. Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 is available to download from the project's web site. Users currently running Ubuntu 10.10 on a desktop system can upgrade by pressing Alt+F2 and typing "update-manager -d" (without the quotes) into the command box.

The final version of Natty Narwhal is expected to arrive on the 28th of April, 2011. The latest stable release is version 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat", while the current Long Term Support (LTS) version is Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx".

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