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Canonical confirms Apr. 28 release for Ubuntu 11.04, online trial version

Apr 21, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Canonical confirmed that it will ship Ubuntu 11.04 (“Natty Narwhal”) on April 28, and announced a new online trial version of the Linux operating system. The U.K.-based company also announced some new details of its server edition, including easier provisioning and a fully certified J2EE stack.

When Canonical's Ubuntu project released the beta version of Ubuntu 11.04 three weeks ago, April 28 had already been announced as the expected deadline. Now, that release date has been confirmed, and Canonical also says a cloud-based trial of the operating system will be available at launch.

Ubuntu 11.04 beta

According to an Inquirer story that interviewed Canonical marketing manager Gerry Carr, however, the trial version will actually arrive "a little after the launch." It will require only a standard web browser and will offer access to all major features, but will be limited to showing the 2D version of Unity, says the story. Despite this limitation, the trial version should help introduce Ubuntu to many prospective users who might otherwise balk at downloading a LiveCD, Carr was quoted as adding.

Natty Narwhal is primarily notable for switching the Linux distribution to the homegrown, multitouch Unity desktop environment as the default. While the new GNOME 3 desktop will still be available in an optional "Ubuntu Classic" version, the switch has been controversial in the Ubuntu community.

At the same time, however, as the extent of the radical changes in GNOME 3 have emerged, many GNOME users have been publicly complaining about what they see as an excessively stripped-down and dumbed-down interface. As a result, Unity might now be seen as a more palatable alternative among many Ubuntu users.

Other Ubuntu 11.04 advances include the addition of Linux 2.6.38, LibreOffice 3.3.2, and Firefox 4. There have also been enhancements to the Software Center with "rate and review" features. (For more details, please see our Ubuntu 11.04 beta coverage.)

Ubuntu Server 11.04

Canonical offered some technical updates on Ubuntu Server 11.04, which will be available in a one-hour free trial on the Amazon cloud starting on April 28. The server edition includes an updated Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) platform based on Eucalyptus 2.02, compatible with Amazon's public cloud infrastructure.

Natty Narwhal also offers a technology preview of the alternative open source cloud platform, OpenStack "Cactus," downloadable through the Ubuntu software repositories. According to Canonical, this is "the most tightly integrated implementation of OpenStack on an operating system available today."

Additional Ubuntu Server 11.04 enhancements are said to include:

  • easier server provisioning new cobbler and mcollective components
  • 14 percent reduction in typical power usage claimed via PowerNap 2.0 power management
  • Linux Kernel 2.6.38, featuring AppArmor security, support for Intel's Intelligent Power Sharing (IPS), enhancements to Btrfs, Ext4, and XFS file systems, and updated libvirt virtualization API
  • default dhcpd server updated from dhcp3 to isc-dhcp (version 4)
  • fully certified J2EE stack based on Jonas + Oracle JDK + Postgres

Stated Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "Ubuntu 11.04 offers exciting opportunities for businesses to improve the reliability, security and manageability of desktop, cloud and server deployments, challenging the traditional license or subscription fee model and embracing open-source technology."


Ubuntu 11.04, in both its desktop and server editions, will be available for download from April 28 at along with a free online trial of the 2D desktop version, says Canonical. Ubuntu Server 11.04 will be available to trial via Amazon's AWS for free for an hour via from April 28 onward, the company adds.

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