The Ubuntu team has announced the release of Ubuntu 11.04 beta, codenamed Natty Narwhal. Kate Stewart wrote on the mailing list, “Ubuntu 11.04 now combines Ubuntu Desktop Edition and Ubuntu Netbook Edition. This edition introduces the Unity environment as the default desktop.”
She further wrote, “Ubuntu 11.04 Netbook edition will still be produced for the ARM platform, and the team is proud to introduce a Headless edition with 11.04 for ARM.
The Ubuntu 11.04 family of Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu, and Ubuntu Studio, also reach beta status today.
Unity is now the default Ubuntu desktop session. The Unity launcher has many new features, including drag and drop re-ordering of launcher icons, full keyboard navigation support, launcher activation through keyboard shortcuts, right-click context menu quick-list and switching between running applications.
Ubuntu 11.04 comes with the latest Firefox 4.0 as standard web browser; LibreOffice 3.3.2 is the default office suite and (alas) Microsoft .NET based Banshee 1.9.5 is the standard music player for Natty. 11.04 Beta 1 includes the 2.6.38-7.39 kernel which is based on the latest mainline kernel, 2.6.38.
The Ubuntu Software Center now allows users to “rate & review” installed applications, share reviews via integration with social networking services added into Gwibber, and has other usability improvements.