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Shuttleworth spears Natty Narwhal for Ubuntu 11.04

Cold, stylish, and...endangered

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Ubuntu daddy Mark Shuttleworth has selected a codename for Ubuntu 11.04, due in April.

Natty Narwhal will follow Maverick Meerkat, due in October, as Shuttleworth continues his sequential progress through an alphabet of alliterative animals.

Natty Narwhal will join a Saint-Saëns-like precession of Lucid Lynxes, Karmic Koalas, and Jaunty Jackalopes. Warty Warthog was the first animal name, arriving with Ubuntu 4.10, but the alphabetic run only really kicked in with Dapper Drake, version 6.06.

The Narwhal is considerably less huggable than the animals Shuttleworth has used with prior releases. A member of the whale family living in icy Artic waters, its name means "corpse whale" and it's famed for its tusk - making it a target for hunters.

Apparently, these were all principal considerations behind Shuttleworth's thinking as he thumbed through the "N"s in his dictionary for something beyond Meerkat.

Natty Narwhal will see work at the chip level to reduce power consumption and in graphics to boost performance while Ubuntu 11.04. Hence, the pick of a creature at home in cool climes and that taps into the need for a cooler planet. Narwhal has been fused with "natty" to indicate the distro will be stylish and create a good impression, as Ubuntu 11.04 will take advantage of "modern" graphics to improve the look-and-feel.

"Being a Natty Narwhal, of course, means we have some obligation to put our best foot forward. First impressions count, lasting impressions count more, so let's make both and make them favorable," Shuttleworth blogged here as he unveiled the name.

Shuttleworth picked up on the Narwhal's endangered species status, symbolizing Ubuntu's collective oneness of working together and relying on, and respecting others, in the ecosystem they inhabit.

"The world of free software is the platform upon which the future is being built. So the Narwhal, as the closest thing to a real live unicorn, is an auspicious figurehead as we lay down the fabric from which dreams will be woven."

Those dreams could be somebody's first PC or their first million instances of the cloud. ®

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