Friday, April 29, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Released - See What`s New (Screenshots)

After the usual 6 months of development, Ubuntu 11.04 has finally been released. I usually start these posts with "there haven't been any major or ground-breaking changes" but this time pretty much everything is new with the introduction of Unity as the default interface. Since we've been writing about the new features in Ubuntu 11.04 constantly, in this post we'll only talk about the major new features. Read on!

Latest Features of Ubuntu 11.04 as follows :


Unity default

Ubuntu 11.04 doesn't come with GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell (in fact it's not even available in the repositories but only in a PPA) and instead it comes with an interface designed especially for Ubuntu called Unity (based on GNOME 2.x). Unity was already default in Ubuntu 10.10 netbook edition but besides being default for the desktop edition (the netbook edition doesn't exist anymore starting with 11.04), it was also completely re-written and now uses Compiz.

That means you can use Compiz with Unity / Ubuntu 11.04 and in fact Unity needs Compiz to run.

Unity consists on multiple parts - Dash, launcher and top panel:

- Dash - which is basically the menu and you can find it in three places: clicking the Ubuntu logo on the top left corner or clicking the Applications or Files & Folders icons on the Unity launcher and unlike a regular menu, it can be used to search for files too.

Right clicking the Applications icon:

Launcher - the "dock" on the left on which the running applications are displayed:

--- the top panel (which is not a regular GNOME panel).

To configure Unity you must use CompizConfig Settings Manager which is not installed by default (search for it in the Ubuntu Software Center). In CompizConfig Settings Manager you'll find a "Unity" plugin under which you can tweak the Unity launcher reveal mode screen corner to trigger it (the Unity launcher is set to "dodge windows" by default), change some various keyboard shortcuts as well as some experimental, more advanced features like panel opacity, launcher icon size and more:

In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, the notification area (systray) only works for a few applications: Skype, Wine apps, Java and about 2 more. In the future, the notification area will be removed completely and replaced with appindicators - most applications that used to use the systray already have appindicator support. And for those that don't, you can re-enable the systray for all applications if you want.

AppMenu (Global Menu)

If you use Unity (this is not default for the classic Ubuntu desktop - see below), you'll find that AppMenu (global menu) is enabled by default. This means the menu is not displayed in the application window but on the top panel and also, it comes with autohide enabled by default. You can also reveal the menu by holding the ALT key.

For an unmaximized window, the window title is displayed on the panel and hovering the window title, the AppMenu is displayed:

For maximized windows, things are a bit different: the window titlebar is removed and the panel takes over its functions as well as the AppMenu: the minimize, maximize and close buttons are displayed on the panel and the same for the window title and when hovered, the menu is displayed :

Overlay scrollbars

A new addition to Ubuntu 11.04 (both Unity and the classic Ubuntu desktop) is the use of overlay scrollbars by default, but not for all applications (because not all apps support it yet).

The overlay scrollbars are partially hidden scrollbars that become visible when you move your mouse over the side where the scrollbar should be.

Ubuntu classic - fallback mode for computers not able to run Unity and for those who don't want to use Unity

Don't like Unity? Fear not! The classic GNOME desktop is still available as an option in the login screen - select "Classic Ubuntu":

Default applications 

Two default applications have been replaced in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal: Banshee is now the default music player, replacing Rhythmbox and LibreOffice has replaced OpenOffice.

Here are the versions in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal for the important applications / packages: Nautilus 2.32.2, Firefox 4.0, Shotwell 0.9.2, Empathy 2.34.0, Banshee 2.0, LibreOffice 3.3.2, Evolution 2.32.2, Gwibber, Totem 2.32.2, Compiz 0.9.4, GDM 2.32.1, GRUB 1.99 RC1, Linux Kernel 2.6.38 (yes, with the "wonder 200 lines" patch now included by default), Server 1.10 and Mesa 7.10.1 - all on top of GNOME 2.32.1


Other changes

There lots of other changes in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Here are a few more worth mentioning:

- You can now upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 using the Live CD (and doing so, you can keep your settings):

Ubuntu Software Center now supports ratings and reviews:

Ubuntu One control panel has a brand new design:

And many many other changes that I could never cover in a single post.


Unity 2D (Qt)

This is not available in the default Ubuntu 11.04 installation, but it really deserves a mention: if you want to use Unity but your computer does not support it or simply want something lighter, there's a non-Compiz Unity available in the Ubuntu 11.04 repositories. This looks and behaves like the regular Unity (more or less) but it should work on any computer:


Download / upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

Direct Bittorrent download links: 32bit | 64bit.


  1. I downloaded the newest version 11.04 and installed with wubi installer, but i am getting video problems. Do u have any solutions or suggestions. Where to download UNITY 2D (QT). Thanks. You are a genius

  2. @nep0hack download unity2d qt in ubuntu 11.04 using terminal($) commands as
    sudo apt-get install unity-2d

    for ubuntu 10.10
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-2d-team/unity-2d-daily
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install unity-2d-default-settings
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrad

    and if you use ubutnu 11.10 it comes with Unity 2D installed by default already.