As the Natty Narwhal Debate Continues, the Next Ubuntu Is Coming

by Sam Dean - May. 18, 2011Comments (6)

If you're like many Ubuntu users, you're already getting very familiar with version 11.04, "Natty Narwhal." However, the next version of Ubuntu, dubbed Oneiric Ocelot, is already taking shape. Mark Shuttleworth has a blog post on the new release, and some of the features that may be headed for it were discussed at the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit. What's coming, and what do you wish for in Ubuntu's next incarnation?

Mark Shuttleworth has this to say about Ubuntu's next release:

"Our desktop has come together beautifully, and in the next release we’ll complete the cycle of making it available to all users, with a 2D experience to complement the OpenGL based Unity for those with the hardware to handle it. The introduction of Qt means we’ll be giving developers even more options for how they can produce interfaces that are both functional and aesthetically delightful. In the cloud, we’ll have to tighten up and make some firm decisions about the platforms we can support for 12.04 LTS."

As far as Shuttleworth's comments about the desktop go, Unity--as long as you have the hardware to run it properly--has mostly gotten good reviews and is credited for bringing Ubuntu more in line with other, competitive graphical operating systems. One thing that I think needs to be improved in Ubuntu is more streamlined installation guidelines. Compared to other graphical operating systems, Natty Narwhal's installation process is not intuitive enough, especially for the many users who haven't tried Linux but might like to try the new versions of Ubuntu.

When I installed Natty Narwhal, I also initially had problems getting it to sniff out available Wi-Fi signals. This was a simple driver issue in my case, but I checked online and found that others were having the same problem. A good OS these days should instantly and seamlessly sniff out Wi-Fi.

Judging from PC World's discussion of nine features likely to show up in the next Ubuntu, these ideas aren't top of mind for developers yet, but there appear to be some good concepts on the drawing board. According to the report, Unity will have a more streamlined interface in version 11.1, and the Ubuntu Software Center will have an improved interface and better features. That last idea is a good one, especially for users new to Ubuntu who want to explore application options. 

Overall, Ubuntu is moving very rapidly toward being as friendly as any modern, graphical operating system, and it offers much better security than either Windows or the Mac OS. It's also clear, though, that debate continues about the permanent future of Ubuntu's graphical desktop environment.

Let's hope version 11.1 irons out some of the rough spots.

Randy Clark uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


Ubuntu release numbers are xx.yy which denote YY.MM. They are not decimal numbers that can be dropped.

11.04 (Apr) is not 11.4


11.10 (Oct) is not 11.1 (Jan)

The leading "0" and trailing "0" respectively ARE important. It also keeps confusion down since Apr comes before Oct in the year when the numeric release numbers sort correctly.

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So now, Mr. Shuttleworth says, out of the other side of his mouth,

"...and in the next release we’ll complete the cycle of making it available to all users, with a 2D experience to complement the OpenGL based Unity for those with the hardware to handle it."

According to readily available records of Shuttleworth's circumlocution re "Natty" (isn't that name just too cute!), 11.04 WITH UNITY IS--OR WAS--SUPPOSED TO MAKE LINUX AVAILABLE TO ALL USERS. NOW! There is even an article, or three or four, floating around in the etherspace in which Shuttleworth decrees that 11.04 with its Unity interface (what a side-splitter of a moniker: one of the most divisive items to befoul the Linux Community. Ever.) will make Linux available to ALL users, especially those who have no technical expertise whatsoever, and no experience loading an operating system. It was to be that easy. Words to this effect were also a part of the title of the article(s).

So now, it seems as though somehow, mysteriously, we poor shmucks didn't hear him correctly: what we THOUGHT we heard him say is not what he said. More to the point: just like Casey Stengel/Yogi Berra (you choose) Shuttleworth is stating "I didn't say all them things I said".

"Natty" wasn't REALLY supposed to work correctly; we were supposed to climb on board the leaky ship, because it was the BEGINNING OF A CYCLE (can you spell "prevarication", Shuttleworth) to build a less leaky ship. AND...only for those users who would invest in new equipment to help mask the inherent design flaws in 11.04, 11,10, cycle, cycle, cycle...

[Whatever happened to the implied charter of Linux distro developers that Linux would not require advanced or esoteric hardware, but would, within logical limits, run on commonly available, current and maybe not-so-current, hardware?]

A word to the wise: Linux Mint 11 RC works just fine on an Acer Aspire One NETBOOK, and a lot of other netbooks as well! Wonder why that is, Shuttleworth?

Oh! I remember why NOW: it's because one of the beautiful aspects of Linux is that if you find a distro that doesn't work for you, there are plenty more good and great ones that will.

Linux Mint is a great distro--among a lot of others--and its developer doesn't demand/COMMAND that you change either your hardware or your expectations of a true Linux distribution.

Canonical/Ubuntu has one more year. Tops.

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Unity is really great i mean it's cool to have more space and all but it looks like rip-off of macosx's dock rip off i don't want mac i want linux since unity we can't configure gnome panel and linux users don't like it so do i so consider retaining unity and keeping tweaks and all things we could actually do with gnome panels one more thing make it look less like macosx because no one loves macos sluggish overrated and hypothetical for common guys !!!

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All that is very nice... But bring the video games to Ubuntu!

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I have to agree with Nico. Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, have all gotten to the point of being solid, capable environments that can truly replace Windows for work and utility. But the one leading reason that leads to machines that dual boot Windows/Linux--- Games!

Until we get some major studios releasing Linux games, we will always lack that momentum that comes with crossing the tipping point associated with "the next hot thing".

I would suggest Shuttleworth spend some money developing a game development environment that allows the developer to compile for Windows/Linux/Mac by just hitting a radio button prior to compile. There are already a few out there that do this, but they don't have the marketing muscle, visibility, (or dollars) to win over the big game studios.

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Yes intuitive would be better. Downloading an application. Installing the application. Should be as simple as following a do this ,do that, do this, and the application is installed. Almost any major OS is very simple. I resent having to use command line when I could use icons or simple instructions to due the same thing. Until we do something to simplify the install process the Linux OS will not grow fast or expand. I also had the same problem on a

Think Pad. With Microsoft XP the system found any "WiFi" in the area. The Natty Narwhal showed nothing,zip,nada...

Thanks for the great progress that you all have done. You have made a great system and remarkable progress. Why is it that a

seven that is 7.0 4 can find "WiFi" and a 11.0.4 can not??

Once again great work ..Thanks again..

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