It is almost time for Kubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, what is new and more important what is gone. With every release improvements are made, and software and features are removed.
What is new in Kubuntu 11.04:
Many small improvements and bug fixes are made. Some larger changes I will discuss below. There will be things I forget, or don’t even know about, if you have anything to add feel free to leave a comment below.
- One of the things I have been waiting for is better support for Intel, ATI and Nvidia graphics. I use mostly ATI graphics and better Kernel support, because of the update to Kernel 2.6.38-5.32, is awesome. They have fixed some of the suspend/resume errors. Also an black screen on boot was fixed.
- KDE 4.6.0, this also adds some bug fixes of annoying but maybe less critical importance. HAL will not be used by default any more, instead of HAL upower and udisks will no be used, these are part of the udev package. If you look in your /dev you see a lot of devices created by HAL. How ever just a few of those devices are actually hooked up to your box. To fix this udev is now used, udev creates the /dev directory dynamicly, only creating devices that actually exist. This is only one part of the improvement that that udev will offer. Other *Nix distros already dropped HAL, now Ubuntu will follow suit.
- Working SAMBA, okay this is maybe only important for those of us who still have some SAMBA shares to use with windows computers. Sharing a folder is now as simple as just right clicking on the folder and selecting share, similar to how sharing in windows works. This will make it easier, for those people who don’t want to dig through config files, to share files.
- Support for Ubuntu Server Cloud is also improved with this release. The cloud has been used for years, your web-server for instance could be seen as a cloud. The Cloud is really a marketing term to re-brand any storage solution, VPS and other online services.
- Better support for iPhone’s, and probably iPad’s, is now build into 11.04 Natty Narwhal. This is great, like it or not, the iPhone and iPad is are popular so native support is needed.
- Build in support for proprietary programs, think RAR. I am not sure this is an improvement. How ever some people do like using software they know from the Windows realm. I wish more people would find the opensource equivalent of the Windows software they want to use. We have plenty of software that is just as good and maybe better then the proprietary software available.
What I hope for every release of Ubuntu and it’s derivatives is better support for wireless network interfaces. Although a lot of cards and USB devices are supported by default, to many –mainly Netgear and Linksys devices– are still not supported. Netgear I love you but you need to get into the game. Opensource your drivers, or work with the kernel team to get native drivers for all of your wireless devices on Linux.
Release schedule for Kubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal:
03-31-2011 Beta 1 Released
04-14-2011 Beta 2 Released
04-28-2011 Final Release
As always you should not install the Alphas or Betas on a production computer. If the computer is important to you and you cannot afford any down time wait for the final release.