Curiosity recently got the better of me and I decided to have a look at the first alpha release of Ubuntu 11.04, both in a VirtualBox virtual machine and on a spare PC that I have. They always warn you about alpha releases of software and the first sight of Ubuntu was in keeping with this. The move to using Unity as a desktop environment is in train and it didn’t work perfectly on either of the systems on which I tried it, not a huge surprise really. There wasn’t any sign of a top panel or one at the side and no application had its top bar, either. It looks as if others may have got on better but it may have been to my doing an in situ upgrade rather than a fresh installation. Doing the latter might be an idea but I may wait for the next alpha release first. Still, it looks as if we’ll be getting Firefox 4 so the change of desktop isn’t going to be the only alteration. All in all, it looks as if Natty Narwhal will be an interesting Ubuntu release with more change than is usually the case. In the meantime, I’ll keep tabs on how development goes so as to be informed before the time to think about upgrading comes around. So far, it’s early days and there a few months to go yet.