Friday, July 08, 2011

Ubuntu Oneiric Alpha 2 released

Ubuntu Oneiric Alpha 2 is finally out. This being only the 2nd Alpha release, things are still not set in stone but here's the highlights.

Oneiric Alpha 2 is running on Linux kernel 3.0 (based on kernel 3.0-rc5). Barring any show stoppers, we can expect the latest and greatest stable version of the kernel when Ubuntu 11.10 is released come October. The latest hardware support; doesn't get much better than that.

Déjà Dup makes it into Oneiric as the default backup utility. It's been a long time coming. Even Windows has had a backup utility by-default for years now. It's time Ubuntu had the same feature built-in.

Ubuntu ISO images are now Hybrid ISO images. Hybrid ISOs can be written directly onto a USB key without needing to use Startup Disk Creator. Persistent LiveUSB creation still needs it though.

LightDM replaces GDM. This light weight display manager has the same feature set as GDM while being much smaller. I guess the idea is to use less memory and speed up boot up time at the same time. We'll have to wait and see since LightDM is still a very young project.

Firefox 5.0 is in Oneiric Alpha 2
Firefox 5.0 is out, so that means Oneiric Alpha 2 comes with the latest stable build of Firefox. The changes to Firefox 5.0 since Firefox 4.0 are so subtle, I can't really tell the difference. If there are any performance improvements beyond the numbers, I can't tell just by using it.

Thunderbird 5.0 is now the default email client. Goodbye Evolution.

Unity 2D in Oneiric
Unity, of course, got improvements with the migration to gtk3 being a major part of that. The Ubuntu theme as well as indicators now support gtk3.

There's more going on than what's posted here. The migration to Gnome 3 is a big effort. Expect lots of breakage if you decide to try out Oneiric this early in the development cycle. Be sure to check out the official technical overview for Oneiric Alpha 2 (especially the known bugs section) before running an upgrade. If you're already running Ubuntu 11.04, then it's a simple upgrade away. Just press Alt+F2 and run "update-manager -d" minus the quotes.