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04 February 2011, 11:02

Canonical releases Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2

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

Based on the 2.6.38-rc2 Linux kernel, Natty Narwhal Alpha 2 includes Unity, developed in-house by the Ubuntu developers, as the distribution's default desktop, replacing the GNOME Shell. Additionally, the Unity Launcher is now available and can be used to launch applications pinned to it or switch between running applications. As previously announced, Oracle's open source office suite has been replaced with version 3.3.0 of the LibreOffice community fork.

Other package updates include version 2.13 of the Transmission BitTorrent client, Shotwell 0.8.1 and the latest Firefox 4 Beta 10 release. The Ubuntu Sound Menu sees the return of playlist support and the Ubuntu One Dashboard features a new look. Other changes include an initial version of the Dash, a rudimentary Places implementation and patches for the Network Manager applet to use appindicator.

As with all pre-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.

Additional information about the development preview can be found in the mailing list 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 2 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 28 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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