Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Alpha 3 is Released!

Well, it took a bit long than predicted but few hours ago the Ubuntu Linux developers officially announced the availability of the Ubuntu 1.10 Oneiric Ocelot Alpha 3, finally!. But before you jump into the downloading section please be aware that these images are over sized thus won't fit in the usual 700MB CD + are developers snapshots only.

So, unless you're a developer or a bug-tester, etc please don't use them and expect a stable environment since they aren't even at the beta stage yet (which should be the next release actually). And as usual, simultaneously to this release other Ubuntu projects such as Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Mythbuntu and Lubuntu Oneiric Ocelot (including the Ubuntu server version) Alpha 3 images are also available.

Main changes...

*. Comes with the Kernel version 3.0.0-7.9 since the 11.10 will be using the recently introduced Kernel version 3.0 RC (well it ain't that recent anymore!) which also brings some new features (even though according to Linus it's just a "number's game") such as better compatibility with AMD Fusion chipsets, ARM support, etc. 

*. Updates and bug fixes for Compiz and Unity desktop (including the new Alt-Tab-Style), enhanced performances, etc. So hopefully Compiz will be less buggy and "crash-y. Especially on netbooks or any other PC/Laptop with both Nvidia and ATI/AMD GPUs.

Unity Alt-Tab-Style...

Intel seems to do better at the moment thanks to their a bit open-source friendly approach (although some of their GPUs have "missing" technical documentations which makes developing open-source drivers hard as with proprietary AIT/Nvidia).

But as a general knowledge, although Intel GPU are a bit slow and lack support for enhanced 3D, etc in comparison... but for GNU/Linux users, they usually work better than ATI and Nvidia with OpenGL rendering and other under other advanced 3D settings anyway. 

*. 11.10 Users now can enjoy the latest Gnome version 3 (3.1.4 to be precise), although not included in the ISO image but you'll have to install it using the repository. And they're also on their way to making the Gnome 3.2 upcoming major release available simultaneously to the future launch of the 11.10.

*. Thunderbird 6 is the default e-mail client, although not everyone is a fan of it yet it's pretty stable and rich-in features nonetheless.

*. Updated Gwibber micro-blogging client with few performance and GUI enhancements. 

*. Mozilla Firefox 6 beta comes as the web browser. Although Mark said in an interview recently that in the future Ubuntu might be switching to Google Chrome!

*. Improved Ubuntu Software Center : Since we all know that 11.10 uses only USC and does not come with Synaptic. But the problem with the USC in 11.04 or latter is that it's dauntingly greedy on system resources thus can easily slow down the PC/Laptop. So obviously the Ubuntu developers are pretty busy at the moment making it faster and less buggy.

With Alpha 3, apart from it's performance enhancements, it'll also include a new "top rated" section + now we can edit/delete our reviews later times as well.

Also concerning Kubutnu fans, this image includes the latest builds of KDE 4.7 desktop with a new Oxygen icon theme, a whole new KPEM with Kmail 2, Amarok 2.4.3 + a lot of other Kubutnu related packages are updated as usual.

But they also emphasis on that all new KPEM suite, since it's really new and all that they advice you to backup all your contacts, etc before migrating into the new KPEM suite. 

And the other major news is that, starting with Kubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3, Kubuntu will be using the Muon suite which is another more simplified and beginner friendly software GUI, as the default package handler. 

Muon Software manager (looks a lot like the Ubuntu Software Center doesn't it? :D)...
Edubuntu will also be using Unity as the default desktop environment + if your hardware isn't capable of handling the Unity 3D then the fallback mode will be the Unity 2D that uses Metacity as the composting manager rather than Compiz. As mentioned about, other desktop solutions such as the recently "integrated" Lubuntu, etc are also updated to their latest package versions.

Few precautions ...

Not all of 'em but most of these ISO images won't fit inside a 700MB CD as mentioned before. So you'll have to either use a DVD or a USB as the booting device. And there's also seems to be a bit of a big issue with the Ubuntu server installation concerning encrypted volumes which can even lead to a permanent loss of your data on an encrypted volume/partition! (get more information about this bug from here). Again this seems to be with the Ubuntu server images only.

Anyhow as said, the Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3 is certainly not recommended for those of you who wants a highly stable environment/OS and is only aimed at developers and tester only. So, other than you're ready to take few risks + if you're a bit new to Ubuntu or GNU/Linux in general then I'd like to humbly advice you to stick with your current "working" version :).

But at the moment it seems that the Ubuntu developers are really giving it a go since they've already make some big improvements on the boot-time of 11.10 Alpha 2, so if you want to get a taste of all the new things and features/improvements, etc then other than upgrading your current 11.04, I think you'd be better off doing a fresh installation (at least in my experience anyway).

Go to this official downloading page for getting all the available ISO images. Goo luck.

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