Currently the most up-to-date Ubuntu distro is Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, this arrived back in April and initially we weren’t seeing a lot of love for the new Unity user interface which this OS version introduced, but now people have had a chance to use it you can understand why it was favored to the dated Gnome layout.
Recently PCWorld published an interesting article about the next release, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, it looks like this will build upon the solid foundations set by Natty Narwhal. This time round Ubuntu’s devs are said to have concentrated heavily on ease of use, apparently the Unity UI has been polished and shouldn’t be as daunting to people who are new to Ubuntu. If you do not like Unity you can fall back on GNOME 3, also if you do not have 3D-enabled hardware you can use Unity 2D – here’s an interesting article about the new version of Unity.
So what else is new? Well there is now integrated backup which comes as part of the OS, this is called Deja Dump and it allows time machine-like capabilities thanks to scheduled backups to Ubuntu One or local storage. One other thing which has changed is the fact that a customized version of Mozilla Thunderbird is now the default email client. If you want to install 11.10 on ARM-based hardware you will be glad to hear that devs have concentrated heavily on a version of the OS specifically designed for ARM hardware.
Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot is said to become available for download this Thursday (13t October, 2011), we will install it and perhaps post some videos of the new features, so keep checking Product-Reviews for all the latest information.