Ubuntu fans rejoice: the twice-yearly release of a new version has come around once again, and this time it's Oneiric Ocelot's turn in the spotlight. One of the big changes with Ocelot is the removal of GNOME by default. Ubuntu is now entirely running on Unity, but for those without the hardware to power all those flashy 3D effects, a special 2D version of Unity has been included, meaning that users will have a more consistent experience from here on out.
A new dash, accessed by clicking the Ubuntu logo in the top left, has been reworked to give better integration with Banshee audio player. The dash now allows for filtering by genre, artist, album, and a whole host of other options. In short, the dash is now much better for music control.
In terms of more technical changes, Ubuntu is now running with Linux kernel 3.0, although changes in the jump to 3.0 were minimal. The Evolution mail client is now gone, with Mozilla Thunderbird taking its place. The Software Centre in itself has now been redesigned, a feature that should encourage more new users to try out different software. Even the login panel has been retouched, reflecting the Unity look throughout the rest of the system.
The community isn't resting on its laurels though. Plans are already being laid out for Ubuntu 12.04, titled Precise Pangolin. 12.04 will be an LTS release, which means it'll receive three years worth of support rather than the usual cut-off point of 18 months. Server users will be receiving Pangolin support until 2017, which means a key focus of an LTS release is making sure it's up to the task of running for all those years.
Image credit: Canonical