As scheduled, the first alpha of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal is available for download. The biggest change from the last stable release (Ubuntu 10.10) is the Unity desktop interface. Unity landed just a few days ago and so it remains quite buggy and rough. In case you do not like Unity, the classic desktop is still available. Unity is now based on Compiz, not Mutter as was the cased in UNE 10.10. This means that Unity feels a bit smoother now.
Other than Unity, there are some changes as well. The Linux kernel has been updated to version 2.6.1937 and Firefox 4 Beta 7 has been included. The indicator menu has also received some changes – nothing drastic just little tweaks.
A change which I absolutely hate is the addition of global menu. I knew it was coming but it feels counter-productive on a large monitor.
All in all, Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 still looks a lot like Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition.
If you want to help out with the testing, you can download it from here. Remember that this is an alpha and should not be installed in a production machine.