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Ubuntu’s Natty Narwhal Released!

Every six months, Ubuntu releases the next generation of their popular Linux distribution. Today marks the six month event of Ubuntu’s last release, with the new 11.04 version, dubbed Natty Narwhal. While the name sounds a bit goofy, consumers will be happy that this free operating system is packed with thousands of package updates. First of the many updates, and probably the first thing you’ll notice when you boot up the computer is that you’ll be taken to the Unity desktop, by default.

If you prefer to stick to basics, you can certainly opt for the classic Ubuntu desktop interface, by selecting the feature from the login menu. However, with the Unity Dash, users will now be able to quickly search through applications. With a single keypress, you can search for applications you have installed, and even be offered similar matches that you have not yet installed (given a one-click access to whatever program is on the screen). What’s even cooler is a new style of scrollbar that has been introduced for both the Unity and Gnome desktops.

With the new scroll bar taking up less screen real-estate, it also appears dynamically as you approach the area. This of course gives users with maximum area to view their content when they’re not busy scrolling a document or web page. Users will also be able to edit documents with LibreOffice (a replacement for OpenOffice). A full suite of productivity is offered in addition to LibreOffice, that allows users to test drive applications without installing them. The new OS even supports synchronization and cloud support with the first 2GB free and $3 a month for every 20GB great than that, which is a pretty terrific deal if you think about it. You can download the operating system for free today! Watch the video for a look at the alpha version of the release.

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