Ubuntu 11.04, the thirteenth edition of Ubuntu, aka Natty Narhwal is out. I call Natty a mix bag, with lot of improvements and major digressions from its previous versions.
- Unity: It is the new GUI for Ubuntu, replacing the long standing GNOME-Ubuntu rapport. After a somewhat regressive debacle in the community, Ubuntu vs GNOME, the two have parted and that GNOME will not be officially supported by Ubuntu, and will be available only via a PPA. Canonical is obviously pushing Unity, and although GNOME isn't dependent on Canonical or Ubuntu, it will certainly be a setback for GNOME. I personally am missing GNOME on Natty. On the positive side of Unity is the four point touch support. That is something to look forward to in the releases to come.
- Open Office to Libre Office: With the Oracle takeover of Sun Microsystems, projects such as Virtual Box, Open Office, Mysql, etc.. which were mentored by Sun have been under the threat of losing their traits (although Oracle argues otherwise). With Ubuntu switching from Open Office to Libre office, this apprehension about Oracle effect is reduced, nevertheless Open Office will be missed. (BTW, Open Office and Libre Office are almost the same)
- Banshee replaces Rhythmbox: The default music player for Natty is Banshee, and I don't mind, for I haven't got used to Rhythmbox as yet. VLC still is what I'll be going for.
- It's still Mozilla: Firefox4 ships as the default browser, and no prizes for guessing as to why.
- Proprietary codecs and Software more easily accessible. In order to attract new users, Ubuntu is more than happy to prompt the users to go for proprietary codecs, which has been under a lot of debate since the release of Maverick.
- Installation in Telugu and (broken) Kannada are on in Natty.
Canonical has been consciously pushing Ubuntu as an Open Source Linux based OS as Free ( as in no price).
Yesterday in Bangalore, the Ubuntu Loco team had called for the Natty Release party, and it was nice to see a bunch of Free and Open Source Software enthusiasts join in and have a small Party for Natty.
PS: Ubuntu is getting no better with every release :(
They're now only "Open", "free" is only a matter of price to Canonical.
But, Ubuntu is like my first love. It drew me into the Free Software Movement, and I am still not ready to part with it.
Nonetheless, if they keep digressing the way they are now, soon I shall have to part with it :)