Ubuntu’s latest release (code named Natty Narwhal) is finally out and I grabbed a copy of it to check it out. Canonical has gotten some flack for this release since it uses Unity as the default desktop instead of the usual GNOME interface. Some users seem to love it and others have vowed to switch away from Ubuntu and find some other distribution as their main desktop Linux.
Only time will tell if Unity brings in more Ubuntu users than it drives away. The jury is still out on that one and will be for quite some time, but I shared some of my thoughts a while back in a column on EOL called “Unity: Ubuntu’s Descent Into Madness!”
What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
Banshee replaces Rhythmbox
LibreOffice replaces OpenOffice
Ubuntu Software Centers contains user ratings & reviews
The Unity interface is Canonical’s attempt to bring a more netbook-like look and feel to Ubuntu. The classic GNOME interface is still available via the login screen though, so you can opt out of Unity any time you like.
The launcher lets you access such things as your home folder, Firefox, LibreOffice, the Ubuntu Software Center, Ubuntu One, updates, workspaces and applications.
Click the Ubuntu logo in the top-left to access the dash. The dash lets you access applications, search, email and other frequently used features.
Workspaces is reminiscent of Mac OSX’s “Spaces” feature and lets you easily access multiple desktops.
I’m quite happy to see that LibreOffice has replaced OpenOffice. I’ve been waiting for this and kudos for Canonical for finally getting it done. It’s the best thing that they could do for those who need an office suite. I’m rather neutral on Banshee replacing Rythymbox though, but I’m sure there are some who will appreciate it.
I’m also very happy indeed that the Software Center now contains user reviews and ratings. It’s always helpful to see what other users think of an application before I bother downloading and installing it. Sometimes it can help you avoid stinker applications that aren’t worth installing on your system.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
A Pentium 4, 1GHz system is the minimum recommended for a desktop system.
Table 3.2. Recommended Minimum System Requirements
|Install Type||RAM (minimal)||RAM (recommended)||Hard Drive|
|No desktop||64 megabytes||256 megabytes||1 gigabyte|
|With Desktop||64 megabytes||512 megabytes||5 gigabytes|
The installation routine is as easy as ever with Ubuntu 11.04. You shouldn’t have a problem even if you’ve never installed Ubuntu before. Ubuntu 11.04 is a Live CD distro so you can check it out without having to actually install it and you can even upgrade your earlier version of Ubuntu to 11.04 from the Live CD.
The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.