Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

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Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal
Ubuntu 11.04 code named Natty Narwhal got released Thursday April 28th 2011.

I haven't heard much information about this version of Ubuntu, however after I installed it, and have been messing around with it for a couple hours I think there's some features that are worth mentioning.

Installing the OS took me about 30 minutes, but I've heard it's taken some people a couple hours due to a broadband internet connection.

Now let me point out that when you go to log into Ubuntu you can choose to use Unity, or the classic GNOME interface rather than this new change their calling Unity. So if you don't like Unity, and prefer the older UI well you can choose which one you wanna use.

So lets get to starting up real quick!

Starting Up:
If you wanna get Ubuntu 11.04 you can get it here on Ubuntu's download page.

If you don't have enough money to get a blank CD, or if you have a spare flash drive lying around you can use the Universal USB Installer to make your flash drive into a bootable CD sort to speak.

Additionally you can also choose to use Wubi to dual boot ubuntu on windows if you'd like, and if you're a Linux user you can use Lubi to dual boot linux on linux :D

If you don't wanna use a black cd, a flash drive or dual boot, you can run Ubuntu 11.04 (or any other os) in a virtual machine like VirtualBox, and they'll be no affect to your main machine, as it's not emulation.

First Things First:
So now we got that out of the way once you've installed Ubuntu 11.04 you may notice it'll say unity won't run on your machine cause it won't run on your hardware. In my case I needed to activate my graphics card by going to System/Administration/Additional Drivers and installing it there. I simply rebooted after, and it ran.

If you're running it in VirtualBox make sure you go into the settings of Ubuntu 11.04 on VirtualBox and check "Enable 3D Acceleration".

Let me pointout that every new Ubuntu user, using 11.04 can get a free Ubuntu One account.

The first thing you'll notice is the change of desktop.

You have the globalmenu applet on the top replacing the menubar in the main window, and File/Edit/etc only shows when you hover over the top panel.

You'll also notice that the bottom panel is now on the left (which is now called the launcher), and when you launch lets say Firefox it'll launch a lot like the launcher in Windows 7. If you click that icon again unfortunately nothing happens you haft to press the minimize button on the window or press the hotkey Alt+F9 (Alt+F10 is fullscreen btw)
Additionally if you wanna move an icon from the launcher you haft to click and drag it outside (via to the right) and place it wherever you want or drop it in the trash to remove it from the launcher.

Unfortunately by default there's no options to edit the top panel or the launcher except opening the Launcher & Menu's app and you have a choice of two options of "Show the launcher when the pointer..." The first option is "Pushes the left edge of the screen" and the second option is, "Touches the top left corner of the screen".

So you would haft to install Compiz Settings Manager to edit the launcher or the top panel, and I haven't installed Compiz Settings Manager so I can't tell you how that works.

Another thing is that the window if you drag it up to the top panel if your cursor displays on the panel and keeps going higher you'll see a yellowish opac background expanding or collapsing when moving your cursor and this will make it fullscreen, and to the right side it'll act just like in windows 7.

So as we already mentioned when a window is dragged to the right and hits the launcher the launcher will slide and hide, also when the window is in fullscreen the launcher will hide, and to display it back either move the window, or move your cursor to the left and the launcher will slide and appear.

All applications that are running have a white glowing arrow pointing to the right, and the one pointing to the left states the window is open and running rather than minimized.

I also noticed that the windows have a very nice drop shadow added to them for a better look and feel, as well as when you right click on any of the icons you'll get a very nice, and stylish right click menu. (note: not all will have a right click menu, like workspaces, but most should) Most of the right click menus should look something like this (If the app is running quit will be added to the menu).

Speaking of workspaces you can view workspaces and be able to click and drag the window(s) to other workspaces in which I found to be pretty nice. Nothing new I think, cause I remember something like this back when I did use Compiz, but it's pretty cool.

Now the button on the top left is where you can search for files, folders, documents, etc: on your computer. (and no it doesn't do math equations)

BTW: When your window is in fullscreen you can double click a blank spot on your panel and it'll go back to it's original size.

I also noticed when I opened up my Appearance Settings to see the new wallpapers I saw a different kind of scrollbar (you can see it better by opening your home folder, and pressing CTRL+H to show your hidden files and folders) and the scrollbar will only appear if your cursor starts to get closer to the right side of the opened window, and yes you can still use your mouse wheel, and hotkeys.

My Opinions:
Now the menubar on the top panel I'd like to always be visible instead of showing on hover, however that's my opinion, and isn't really a big deal, but you gotta think of the tablet pc users as well. (Boy do I wanna see a good linux tablet pc)

The launcher is very well done, nice smooth animations, however I'd really like to be able to click the icon to minimize, and reopen the applications. Also I would just like to click and drag the icon to the trash (and/or desktop) for it to delete not click drag to right, and drag to trash for it to be removed.

I'm really not a big fan of the new applications list though. Nice stylish ui, but I would like to see all my apps in there nicely categorized like before.

So thoughs are my opinions, and first impressions on Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. If I forgot anything please feel free to post whatever it maybe I forgot in the comments.

Hope you guys enjoyed this article, and feel free to Become a fan on Facebook, and/or follow me on Twitter.
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