Ubuntu Natty Narwhal (11.04) Alpha 3 Release

I am on the Ubuntu technical users list and there has been a lot of chatter about a number of issues with Natty. I did get Natty Narwhal working on my test computer and I am getting like what I am seeing but it has not been a painless journey. I downloaded the March 2nd Release of the 32 bit Desktop CD and spent more than a couple hours attempting to install that only to have the installer crash about 30 minutes into the process, no resolution on that, filed a bug report. Then I downloaded the larger 688 MB Alternate CD where I did the text install (it is more informative as to what it doing in the Install process); it installed for about the same 30 minutes or so where it halted at the Grub install (failed) but at that point, I could retry the Grub install so I did and it succeeded but in the process of trashing my Windows XP partition. It turns out there is a serious bug in Grub2 1.99 that will do that to an NTFS partition under certain circumstances; I was the "lucky" winners to have that happen to me! During a rather extended conversation on the Ubuntu Technical User Listserve, I had made a point that this bug was not mentioned anywhere in the release notes or the known bugs list, to which one of the other members on that list, mentioned that this rather critical bug was not even posted as known until 3 days after Alpha 3 was released! https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2/+bug/730225 Causes me to wonder how much testing had actually been on this version. Also, in the bug report 730225, there are some proposals there for fixing the partition using chkdsk c: /f which did not work for me and I tried it using Windows 7 as well as the Windows XP media; Windows 7 Ultimate couldn't even find the OS and Windows XP just reported "not recoverable". I am not even sure the cause of this bug was the same as mine. I also attempted recovery with testdisk, didn't work. The only resolution was to fully restore the WindowsXP partition from a backup. After I the system installed, on first boot, I had a pretty barren desktop, no application menu's or icon's. I created a terminal launcher on the desktop so I could get to the command line from the desktop session. There is a new default Ubuntu Desktop based on Unity and it requires 3D graphics which requires a 3D enabled graphics driver for your video card. I was one of the winners in the non-qualified no video driver category so my first task was to install the appropriate video restricted driver to support 3D graphics. After that and a reboot, I still didn't have any menu's or application icons visible. After a couple hours of downloads, installs, un-installs, reinstalls, to fix the desktop, I finally got both the both the Ubuntu Desktop (Unity) and the Ubuntu Classic Desktops working. (I am sure some smoke and mirrors was involved in the process and I didn't document all I did to get it all working). Maybe I'll try a scratch install on the next release and see what I have to do then to make it all work. There are things "not-to-like" in Natty with both desktops but the Ubuntu Unity Based Desktop does grow on you once you use it for a time. There are new applications to work with in the multimedia department. The playback of commercial DVD's was easily enabled with the installation of libdvdcss2 (downloaded the latest version from lilbdvdcss, configured (compiled), and did the make install and all was done, played one of my favorite movies in the Movie player on my 22" screen, nice! LibreOffice is now the replacement for OpenOffice and while I would prefer a choice between the two at install time as I don't consider LibreOffice as mature and is still a work in process. In installing my webserver profile (LAMP), I found some of the installed packages to be the same as in 10.10. All in all, I am very happy with 11.04 but I am not recommending that you use for a primary desktop or give it to a newbee as it would most likely be a total turnoff with all the installation issues and don't forget, this is an alpha release 3, not even a beta release or RC1. I have only had one major glitch since starting to use it, the system would boot as it would hang at "checking battery"... I determined that this had something to do with the video system starting and was resolved by starting Natty in recovery mode which provided access to the video configuration where I set it to default, and rebooted with result of the Natty booting properly, 3D Ubuntu Desktop working as it was on the last shutdown before the problem started. Strange. Vitualization Note: It installs fine to VirtualBox however remember that the Unity based Ubuntu Desktop requires a 3D graphics environment which most virtualization environments don't support and all you get is the gnome based no frills classic desktop. No fancy user-friendly icons or program groups. I recover my dual boot by restoring a full backup of my Windows XP partition and then using the grub2 recovery procedure found in the December 3rd Meeting Report (http://www.boiselug.org/node/66) and at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2#Reinstalling%20GRUB%202. One note on the procedure, for whatever reason, I could not boot the Natty LiveCD which had booted previously for installing so this precluded the CHROOT method and I had to fall clear back to the 10.04.2 LiveDVD to get access to the partition so I could use the copy procedure. Everything works great and I might use this system to demonstrate Natty Narwhal! Right now, my worse fear about Natty (11.04) is that we are less than 60 days out from the public release date of April 28th, still in the Alpha stage with a lot of issues, and I would not like to see 11.04 come out buggy like 9.04 did as it would soil Ubuntu's track record of great releases like 10.04 LTS. It was a month after 9.04's release that it was finally a somewhat stable release.