Ubuntu 11.04 is ready for release

Ubuntu 11.04 is ready for release

Summary: Natty Narwhal will arrive in a week, with the server edition packing OpenStack, two cloud automation additions and an upgraded server power management package


Ubuntu 11.04 is set to arrive on schedule next week, with an emphasis on OpenStack and cloud automation in the server edition.

On 28 April, Ubuntu steward Canonical will release the server distribution of the open-source operating system, alongside the desktop version, the company said on Thursday. The 11.04 update is also known as Natty Narwhal.

Ubuntu 11.04

Ubuntu 11.04 is set to arrive on schedule, seen here in its alpha 3 version.

"A big thing that we are interested in, aside from public and private cloud, is we see cloud not only as a deployment issue but as a change in the way applications are developed," Steve George, director of business development at Canonical, told ZDNet UK.

Server edition

The server edition has gained two cloud automation options — Cobbler and MCollective — which seek to add greater automation to the installation and configuration of 11.04-powered servers.

Cobbler is provisioning software that automates the installation and configuring of Linux servers. It supports installs for a variety of hypervisors, including Xen, QEMU, KVM and "some variants of VMware", according to the open-source Cobbler project.

"It's an installation methodology. Imagine a situation where you have 20 web servers out in the cloud, and you get hit by a big release so you need to quadruple the web servers out there," George said. "Rather than trying to launch from a CD or configure by hand, that allows you to do automated [Cobbler] installation."

MCollective is a server automation and orchestration tool that has awareness of Amazon Machine Images (AMI) and metadata. This means automation policies can be set according to the type of AMI a server is mounted on and the regions it can be running in, according to George.

"From our perspective, we want to give Ubuntu developers and users the abilities to use automation and scalability wherever [the servers] are," George said.

A big change in the server update is the addition of the Cactus distribution of OpenStack. The open-source cloud platform has been incorporated alongside Eucalyptus into the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). The move, revealed alongside the release of OpenStack's Bexar version in February, puts a rival to Eucalpytus into the heart of UEC.

George declined to be drawn on whether Canonical may move the core of UEC to OpenStack. "We've added OpenStack essentially as a technology preview," he said. "Generally speaking, our objective is to have a single 'blessed' and maintained technology. For example, on virtualisation that's KVM."

The PowerNap power-saving service has also been updated in Natty Narwhal's server edition to version 2.0. The software is now capable of monitoring user, system and network activity, and factoring in this data when setting policies for server hibernation.

According to figures from web analysis company Builtwith.com, Ubuntu is installed on 2.41 percent of the servers it has tracked, compared with Red Hat Enterprise Linux at 5.58 percent. However, Ubuntu server's usage has been trending up over the past year.

Desktop changes

The desktop version of Natty Narwhal is also set to debut next week, with one major change being the use of the Unity desktop instead of Gnome. However, a number of users have expressed concern at the switch.

In addition, the desktop 11.04 will come with the Firefox 4 web browser and LibreOffice 3.3.2 — the fork from OpenOffice — as standard. It also promises to bring speed and selection improvements to Ubuntu One, which allows people to back up and sync their desktop to the cloud.

The desktop update will also allow users to rate and review applications from the Ubuntu Software Centre and share those ratings on social-networking services via new Gwibber features.

Version 11.10 of Ubuntu, dubbed Oneiric Ocelot, is due to be released in October as part of Canonical's standard six-month release pattern.

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Topics: Servers, Operating Systems

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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  • As long as ubunto doesnt support adobe, corel or microsofts main products like visual studio and office, then its useless. Ok not very useless as a server but as a desktop operating system. Gimp, Scribe, Inkscape, Netbeans, Eclipse and the free office suite from Oracle are o match for products I mentioned. I know because I have use them all.
  • Most of the servers in the World are Linux.
    Microsoft is swish, because Microsoft knowingly releases flawed and expensive software.
    I perceive nardondesign as being overly tough on Linux.
  • @nardondesign
    You do realise that it is up to Adobe, Corel and Microsoft etc to support Linux and not Linux to support them. Linux, just like Windows or OSX is just the OS and nothing else. You appear to be asking for Linux to be Windows 100% compatible, which will never happen. You wouldn't expect a Parker pen refill to fit a Papermate or a Ford engine to fit a Rolls Royce.

    It's odd that no-one seams to complain when OSX doesn't run their favourite application or game, but when Linux doesn't run it it means Linux is useless.

    Most the packages mentioned will run on Linux with, what I believe to be, varying degrees of success using Wine/PlayonLinux. I've not tried them personally as the applications available for Linux are more than adequate for my needs.
  • @ nardondesign
    Maybe useless to you - you must have some incredibly tightly locked-in systems, which may be a warning in itself.

    The vast majority of people I come across use office software at its most basic level, and quite frankly ALL such software is vastly over-specified for them.
  • The blog sparked my interest to try the daily build of Ubuntu 11.04, which must now more or less represent the release candidate due next week. These days, I'm almost entirely committed to netbooks and my every day netbook still runs on the 9.04 UNR release, entirely because I like the convenience and ease of use of the 9.04 netbook desktop, subsequently changed for something less attractive from 9.10 onwards.

    Clearly, I have to move on and I, personally, do not see the new Unity as either attractive or convenient to use. So I propose to use the 'Classic' desktop which can be invoked during the login process from the notification area at the bottom of the screen. This is the standard Gnome 2.3 layout. I'm not at all sure what I'll do when Gnome 3 is introduced. It is, I suppose, personal, but I do not like the Mint type menus which are more complicated and less convenient to navigate and I have not enjoyed my initial experience of the Gnome 3 desktop.

    Linux is about choice and yet we are having changes forced upon us, limiting that choice. I feel that many of those whom I have introduced to Linux, and Ubuntu in particular, will be discouraged and give up on Linux.

    I recognise that change is necessary and that we must progress, but there seems to be so much change for change's sake. There will be those who welcome these changes, and those who don't. So Linux should still cater for the latter, horses for course, so to speak. After all, there has been a huge backlash against the changes to Windows introduced by Windows Vista and Windows 7,where many features were also removed, presumably because of compatibility issues.

    On the basis of using the Gnome 2.3 desktop I have, so far, found the installation and function of Ubuntu 11.04 daily build to run well on my Samsung n150 netbook with Atom n550 dual core processor. The newer broadcom wireless adapter was recognised and installed automatically, albeit with the STA driver. Note that during installation there is a tick box to facilitate certain non free software.

    It does seem that the installation process does take longer than earlier versions, but that is only a subjective observation. I chose the btrfs file system which does lead to an issues at boot time which is known bug and apparently a low priority for resolution. At boot time, after selection of Ubuntu 11.04 from the menu, grub2 displays 'error: sparse files not allowed. Press any key to continue. ...' and appears to hang for at least 12 -15 seconds. This is the result, as I understand it, of an incompatibility between grub2 and the btrfs file system. Subsequently, Ubuntu 11.04 boots quite quickly. Sorry, but I haven't timed this yet.

    In order to move the window buttons to the right, run gconf2-editor and select Apps –> Metacity –> General and then select Button_Layout Field; double click and change the default value to 'menu:maximize,minimize,close' and save the change. The buttons will move immediately on saving. Note: gconf-editor does not work.

    Conclusion; Good so far for me using the Gnome 2.3 desktop. However, as reported, the distribution is heavily weighted towards cloud computing and all the social actiities - which is not for everyone. Time now to add and remove software to suit my own preferences. I will probably move on from Ubuntu 9.04 UNR to to Ubuntu 11.04 with the Gnome 2.3 desktop now as my principle OS but I guess I'll stick to the Ext4 file system meantime.

    Afterthought: The Atom n550 dual core processor is a great improvement over previous Atom processors in terms of both speed and battery life and runs cooler. No doubt it will be overtaken by newer versions quite soon. It's worth visiting this site (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php) to view the relative performance of CPUs. The results are by no means as logical as might be expected; i.e. higher processor number do not always give higher performance.
    The Former Moley
  • @nardondesign: "Gimp, Scribe, Inkscape, Netbeans, Eclipse and the free office suite from Oracle are o match for products I mentioned. I know because I have use them all."

    I have use them all too, for many years. GIMP, Scribus and Inkscape are equal and in some situations surpass Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. But most of all they are Free Software, which is something that money just can't buy.
    Jake Rayson
  • @Moley: "Linux is about choice and yet we are having changes forced upon us, limiting that choice"

    But surely there is more to life than Ubuntu?! Not being enamoured of Unity myself, I have dabbled with Linux Mint and Fedora, and Mint seems to suit my purposes ideally. Isn't there a distro for you?
    Jake Rayson
  • @ jake. So far as I know, Ubuntu and Debian are now the only Distros which use the original Gnome drop down menus which are my preference, after the 9.04 UNR desktop on my netbook. It is the straight forward simplicity which appeals and which converts from Windows can adopt most easily, in my opinion that is - particularly the most handless ones.
    The Former Moley
  • Quotation from Mark Shuttleworth: "From the next LTS release (12.04), Unity will be the only desktop experience in Ubuntu".

    Clearly this means no more Gnome, but what about Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Mythubuntu, etc. There was no mention of them in the Interview with Linux User.
    The Former Moley
  • I use CentOS 5+ (and potentially 6) at work and whatever's the current Ubuntu on my personal machines. If I decide I don't like what Ubuntu's pushing I'll switch to Fedora or some other Linux.

    The idea that "As long as ubunto doesnt support adobe, corel or microsofts main products like visual studio and office, then its useless" tells me the poster's a Microsoft guy at heart. I migrated from Win to OSX and from there to Debian to Ubuntu so I can almost sympathize.

    I use Gimp and Inkscape and good old gThumb and don't even think about the Windoze-exclusive equivalents. My heart bleeds for people who're wedded to Visual Studio. If I wanted to use .NET on Linux I'd use Mono with NetBeans or Eclipse or whatever. (I left the Win World about the time .NET became mandatory so I have no real opinion on a GUI except that it should be cross-platform.)

    Open Office and now Libre Office both load faster than MS Office and accomplish my office software requirements perfectly, to include using Excel spreadsheets.

    When I have to use Windoze I try to load the Linux equivalent software so I feel at home, and I always end up missing multiple desktops.
    Original Fred
  • For those who are freaking out about Unity:

    1. When you hit the login screen (aka, GDM), after you click your user, just choose the "Ubuntu Classic" option from the session menu at the bottom of the screen. Voila! It will remember your choice. (This what I do).

    2. My biggest problem with Unity is the disappearance of the weather and frequency scaling panel applets I rely on. The good news is that their are equivalent applets avalable from 3rd-party PPA's.

    Unfortunately for me, I bought a new Acer laptop, and the closed ATI driver doesn't work well on my new AMD Apu (E-350). It won't awake from suspend so I have to use the open driver. I could live with that, but the audio doesn't switch when I plug in headphones (keeps coming out the laptop speakers). I think that is called jack-sense. I filed a bug report on the ATI video driver. I haven't filed one of the headphone, I assume it will be resolved shortly. If not, I will file it. For now, Windows it is. Darn! Bug #1 again!
  • Two application flames/comments as a professional programmer who uses both environments:

    1. Eclipse >>> Visual Studio (in either OS), at least in my embedded world where everybody's jumping on the bandwagon and releasing plugins for it. I avoid VS like the plague and MS specific languages in general for PC devel since their compatible with nothing, including future/past versions of Windows. If your thinking about using .net..don't..use Java Your app will last longer.

    2. Open Office Write >>> MS Word (in either OS)
    The built in PDF creator that correctly translates tables of contents, and most of all, the script based OpenOffice formula editor which is way, waaay waaaaaay faster than the MS point and click method, and far less crashing in general.