Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ubuntu Natty Alpha 2

The Alpha 2 release of Natty is here. This time around there's a bit of problem for me: it doesn't want to boot on hardware. Normally, I'd just create a USB startup disk and use that for test driving a development release but that doesn't seem to work this time. At least it doesn't seem to want to work on my computer. That means I can only run it in VirtualBox which kinda limits me (I don't get to see Unity).

Oh well, that's Alpha for you. There's all sorts of stuff going on, and things just break despite everyone's best efforts. Still, there's a lot of other things to look at even in a VM that doesn't launch Unity.

LibreOffice 3.3 replaces OpenOffice.org 3.2 as the default productivity suite. And with the recent stable release, Natty is running the stable 3.3 version as well.

LibreOffice 3.3
The network and date/time applets now are indicators. With that, everything in the system tray area is an indicator. The gradual change that's been going on for several releases is finally complete.

The new network indicator menu

There's a new Ubuntu menu replacing the old GNOME menu. Everything's compressed into a single small button. Looks like it's meant to make space on the top panel for a global menu bar since even without Unity, launching apps causes said app's menu to appear there. I'm not quite sure doing that for users running Classic Desktop is such a good idea.

New main menu

That's just some of the visible changes. There's, of course, others like an updated Firefox 4 Beta, and the replacement of RhythmBox with Banshee.

Under the hood, we have the usual updates to X.org and the kernel. This time around btrfs support seems to have arrived but in Alpha 2 is not working as intended. 

Overall though, Natty feels like a "change for the sake of change" release so far. There's a lack of the usual excitement surrounding a development release despite all the major changes happening. Maybe it's a sign of this distro's maturity. Or, maybe I'm expecting too much.

Related posts:

btrfs is now available on Natty
Firefox 4 Beta 10 is here