Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot Alpha 1 arrives
The first alpha of what will become Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" has been released by the Canonical and Ubuntu developers. This development milestone is the first on the roadmap which sees another two alpha and two beta versions before the final release on 13 October. The Alpha 1 is specifically aimed at developers as an early snapshot of ongoing work after the major system-wide changes have been made.
Oneiric Ocelot is based on Linux kernel 2.6.39 and uses Gcc 4.6 as the default compiler. Network-manager version 0.9 has also been introduced in Alpha 1, which the release notes point out has broken API compatibility. GNOME 3 has also been brought into the system, and some components have been changed, while other desktop elements are in transition, to make use of GNOME 3's APIs; this does not mean that the controversial Unity desktop is going away, just that underpinnings are moving from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3. Packages in transition, and their impact, are now being tracked. Progress, planned development and specifications are documented in the Blueprints for Oneiric web page.
Ubuntu Server's OpenStack components have been updated to 'diablo-1' level and the developers say the differences between it and Debian have been reduced. Kubuntu now uses the Muon Software Center and KDE has been updated to the latest KDE SC(4.6.3). The ARM edition of Ubuntu is missing OMAP images due to a kernel misconfiguration; they will return in Alpha 2.
Release notes have been expanded into a Technical Overview which covers upgrading to Oneiric, known issues and other changes. Users wishing to test the Alpha 1 can download ISO images of Ubuntu Desktop or Server, Ubuntu Cloud Server, Kubuntu, Xubuntu or Edubuntu DVD; the developers note that the images are oversized and will need to be copied to DVD or USB for installation instead of CD. Users currently running Ubuntu 11.04 on a desktop system can upgrade to the alpha by pressing Alt+F2 and typing "update-manager -d" (without the quotes) into the command box.
Being an alpha release, users should only use it for testing, and not for production or mission critical tasks. The most recent stable and supported release of Ubuntu is Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" while the current Long Term Support (LTS) version is Ubuntu 10.04 LTS "Lucid Lynx".