August 11, 2011, 7:39 PM — After all the controversy that followed the release of Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal," it's hard not to anticipate with at least some anxiety the upcoming debut of version 11.10, also known as "Oneiric Ocelot."
Today, however, is the official feature freeze on the release, meaning that by now--three alpha versions in--we should be able to get a decent sense of what Oneiric Ocelot will look like when it's ultimately released on October 13.
Ready for an update? Here's how things have most recently shaped up.
1. Linux Kernel 3.0
Perhaps most central to Oneiric Ocelot is its inclusion in Alpha 3 of the 3.0.0-7.9 Ubuntu kernel, which is based on version 3.0 of the mainline Linux kernel. This is an update even just from the Alpha 2 release, which used a version based on the mainline v3.0-rc5 kernel.
What will that mean? Enhanced wireless chipset and wifi driver support as well as numerous config updates, to name just a few improvements since the previous alpha version.
2. A New Desktop
Also notable about the third alpha version of Ubuntu 11.10 is that a new and experimental release of Compiz and Unity has been included, based on GTK3. Among the key features associated with that change are a new alt+tab switcher and better launcher and panel performance.
GNOME, meanwhile, has been updated to the currently unstable version 3.1.4 as a step along the way to GNOME 3.2.
3. Thunderbird for Email