Most Phoronix readers should already be quite familiar with Ubuntu 11.04, but key features include:
- Switching to the Unity Desktop by default. Canonical has switched away from using the GNOME 2.0 desktop or the GNOME 3.0 Shell to instead their custom-developed Unity shell with the Compiz window manager. To this day Unity still receives very mixed reviews with various concerns over its premature adoption and not yet being ready to replace the GNOME desktop without notable regressions.
- Unity 2D is the Ubuntu ARM desktop interface.
- Ubuntu Server 11.04 features Cobbler and MCollective for server provisioning, PowerNap 2.0 for power control, there's a new version of Eucayptus, OpenStack is now included as a technology preview, and there's virtualization updates.
- The Linux 2.6.38 kernel, Mesa 7.10.1, GCC 4.5.2, dpkg 1.16, X.Org Server 1.10 are the core components of the stack.
- Firefox 4.0, LibreOffice 3.3.2, and Banshee 2.0 are key desktop applications.
- Ubuntu Software Center has received various improvements, including support for ratings and reviews.
- Ubuntu One has received various improvements for this Canonical cloud storage platform.
The Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" Beta 2 release announcement can be found on the ubuntu-announce mailing list.