The latest version is designed to deliver a consistent look and feel across laptops, desktops and netbooks thanks to an upgrade of the desktop shell Unity. 11.10 also includes improvements to the Ubuntu Software Center as well as Ubuntu One, that now supports music streaming to Android and iPhones via the personal Ubuntu One cloud.
Unity comes with a much needed refresh and begins to live up to previous expectations. Among the enhancements is 2D fall-back as well as the addition of lenses in Dash. Dash, which is the search interface in Ubuntu, now features four different lenses as subdivisions for search and target home, applications, files, and music. The music lens is tied to the Banshee music player and can play music files without actually opening Banshee separately. There is also instant access to Last.fm and the Amazon MP3 store.
Additionally, Ubuntu 11.10 includes the Deja Dup backup utility, which allows users to back up their local data to the Ubuntu One cloud free of charge. Mozilla's Thunderbird has become the default email client in Ubuntu, while Evolution is now an optional download.
Of course, the new lease is based on the Linux 3.0 kernel and employs an update to GNOME 3.2 as legacy desktop environment.