Natty Ubuntu release

It’s just under two months to go to the release of Maverick Meerkat, the October release of Ubuntu, and Mark Shuttleworth has named its successor.

The Ubuntu chief this week formally named the release scheduled for April 2011 as Natty Narwhal, continuing the tradition of alliterative animal names. Natty Narwhal follows such names as Maverick Meerkat, Lucid Lynx, Karmic Koala and Jaunty Jackalope.

Shuttleworth announced the name on his blog and said that the name reflected many of the ambitions for the release. Among these is work being done to improve the power consumption of PCs using Natty Narwhal. The Narwhal is an endangered Arctic animal which, Shuttleworth said, reminds developers of the need for a cooler climate and reduced power consumption.

Shuttleworth also highlighted ongoing work to improve ARM processor compatibility in Ubuntu. ARM processors are a key part of mobile device development. Along with the recently announced multi-touch features, Canonical is starting to focus significantly on smartbooks and other ultra-portable devices.

Shuttleworth said also that the name “Natty” suggested steps forward in the overall appearance of the Ubuntu desktop. Over the past two years Shuttleworth has been consistently pushing the need for interface enhancements in Ubuntu Linux, originally saying that his ambition was to be as good as, if not better than, Apple’s OS X.

The results, so far, have been a new default theme, font and icon improvements and the complete re-thinking of the way application windows are presented. Much of these are still in their early stages of development but clearly Shuttleworth is committed to pushing the design of Ubuntu forward, and this will continue in Natty.

Shuttleworth wrote on his blog: “We have this whole design thing in full flow, which is making Ubuntu sleeker and more stylish, as well as making it smoother for those who just want to get stuff done. We’ll make the N release the best-dressed ever.”

Development of Natty Narwhal will begin following Maverick Meerkat, which is scheduled for release on 10 October. Natty is provisionally scheduled for release on 28 April 2011.

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Natty Ubuntu release