Shuttleworth spears Natty Narwhal for Ubuntu 11.04
Cold, stylish, and...endangered
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. ®
I really must protest
"The Narwhal is considerably less-huggable than the animals Shuttleworth has used with prior releases."
Let's dig into that assertion with a review of previous names, shall we?
# 2 Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog) - Tusks. No thanks.
# 3 Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog) - Probably not a fighter, but don at least two parkas before attempting to hug.
# 4 Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger) - The UK's most hostile land mammal. Taxi!
# 5 Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) - OK, probably do-able but hard to catch.
# 6 Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) - Easy catch, but a bit slippery.
# 7 Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) - Even Bambi could deliver a pretty humbling kick in the nuts. No.
# 8 Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) - It'll be up a tree before you can say "Why won't you let me IN?". If you do manage to grab one, beware powerful bite and twitchy sphincter.
# 9 Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) - See #5, plus dagger-like bill.
# 10 Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) - Horns to the solar plexus, pushed off a mountaintop. Next!
# 11 Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) - Doesn't appear to exist. Possibly therefore hardest on the list.
# 12 Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) - worth a crack if it's sleepy (most of the time), but still a fair risk of near-fatal laceration.
# 13 Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) - It's a big cat. I've seen small cats put grown men in hospital for less than a hug.
# 15 Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) - Liable to bore you to death about car insurance before you get close.
I rest m'case, m'lud...
Intel graphics support
I hope the "modern" graphics will work on Intel 845/855 chipsets. Lucid doesn't, even with a clean fresh install onto a Dell Optiplex or a good quality 3rd party board - it black-screens. Intel 8xx graphics haven't worked properly since the Heron was in town. Shameful really.
Not a troll by the way, I don't use Windows except at work and Ubuntu is still my default OS - just.
10.04 good for me
After the disastrous (for me) 9.10, 10.04 was fine. I had a few problems upgrading, and in the end did a fresh install on my server and upgrade on my laptop. Since then it just works. I recently booted my laptop into Vista for the first time in months; I had forgotten how unresponsive it made the same hardware and quickly (well as quickly as Vista would let me) rebooted into Ubuntu. It does 99% of what I want, Wine takes care of .9% and about twice a year I boot into Vista.
However I won't upgrade to 10.10 unless there is something pretty amazing in there as i don't have much luck with .10 releases. 11.04 looks more interesting.