It's been six months since the launch of 11.04 “Natty Narwhal,” one of the most controversial Linux releases ever. Canonical's next free and open source OS, Ubuntu 11.10, or “Oneiric Ocelot,” is due for release Thursday, promising numerous desktop and server enhancements.
The new desktop version will include GNOME 3, a refined Unity interface, a full backup tool, and expanded access to the Ubuntu One personal cloud service. Mozilla Thunderbird, meanwhile, has become the default email package. On servers, there's Juju--a new cloud service orchestration engine--along with a preview edition for the ARM processor, among other updates.