The Ubuntu developers are moving quickly to bring you the absolute latest and greatest software the Open Source community has to offer. The Oneiric Ocelot Alpha 2 Release of Ubuntu 11.10 is a developer snapshot to give you an early glance at the next version of Ubuntu.

One of the requests received during the last Ubuntu Developer Summit was to provide a bit more information about the release process, and what's happening there. With this in mind, the release team will be adding a section about "what's happening in the background", to each of the milestones for those who are interested as part of this Technical Overview.

Get Ubuntu 11.10

Upgrading from Ubuntu 11.04

To upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 on a desktop system, press Alt+F2 and type in "update-manager -d" (without the quotes) into the command box. Update Manager should open up and tell you: New distribution release '11.10' is available. Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.

To upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 on a server system: install the update-manager-core package if it is not already installed; launch the upgrade tool with the command sudo do-release-upgrade -d; and follow the on-screen instructions. Note that the server upgrade is now more robust and will utilize GNU screen and automatically re-attach in case of e.g. dropped connection problems.

Download the Alpha 2

This release is for developers only. Most of these images are oversize; you can use either a DVD or USB for installation instead of a CD.

You can download Alpha 2 ISOs from:

New features in Oneiric

Please see the Oneiric blueprint list for details.

Please test and report any bugs you find:

Updated Packages

As with every new release, packages--applications and software of all kinds--are being updated at a rapid pace. Many of these packages came from an automatic sync from Debian's Unstable branch, others have been explicitly pulled in for 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

For a list of all packages being accepted for 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, please subscribe to oneiric-changes:

Some of the key packages making their first appearance with this Alpha 2 release are:

Ubuntu Desktop

GNOME 3 updates

Alpha-2 ships GNOME 3.0, with some parts already upgraded to the 3.1.2 alpha releases.

Unity, the theme, and Ayatana scrollbars were updated for GTK/GNOME 3.

More information on GNOME 3


The standard email client is now Mozilla Thunderbird. GNOME Evolution continues to be supported, but is not on the CD images. (desktop-o-default-email-client)


The Déjà Dup backup system is now included in the standard installation, providing simple and secure user data backup over the network. You can set it up in the "Backup" category in the control center. (desktop-o-deja-dup-default)

Login manager

lightdm replaced gdm as the login manager. Please note that the theme is only preliminary; please do not report bugs about missing icons, or the bad visual design. (desktop-o-lightdm)

Default file permissions

The default umask for users who have a private user group (e. g. the primary group of user "joe" is group "joe") was changed from 022 to 002. This means that files created by user "joe" are now group writable by default, which makes it a lot easier to share data between trusted users by putting other users into the private user group. (umask-to-0002)

Ubuntu ARM

omap3 images are non-functional for Alpha 2, please check the daily builds as we hope to have them available shortly.


The former "headless" images have been turned into light server images and changed their name accordingly. In addition to the preinstalled ubuntu-server images there are also netboot images available using the alternate installer, that allow you a customized install.


With unity-2d being shipped as part of the desktop image this cycle, the ubuntu-netbook image for ARM will be retired in favor of an ubuntu-desktop image with unity-2d as the default environment.

Ubuntu Server

Currently, the experience is rather solid; but many of the features expected to land in Oneiric final are not yet integrated into the install. Testing is much appreciated, particularly for virtulisation (kvm and xen), libvirt and OpenStack components.

Xen Dom0 support has landed, which means that testing of this feature is most desirable.

Ubuntu Server Cloud images

Similar experience to server, with the addition of some additional known issues (see section below).


Kubuntu images will not be available for Alpha 2.


lightdm replaced GDM as the login manager.

xarchiver replaced file-roller due to nautilus dependency with file-roller. This will allow testing xarchiver to determine how well it fits the requirements of Xubuntu.

leafpad replaced mousepad; mousepad needs a maintainer in Xfce. This will also allow Xubuntu to drop xfprint4, which is used only by mousepad.

epdfview has replaced evince as the default pdf viewer. Fewer resources required by epdfview better fit the needs of Xubuntu.

Users must select a session when logging in the first time (806408). If no session is selected, the user will see the Ubuntu wallpaper, and nothing else. In this case, go to a tty using Ctrl+Alt+F2, login, and type sudo service lightdm restart. Now the user can login again, and select the session.


Edubuntu switched from using the old gobby to using gobby-0.5/infinote.

The default desktop environment is now Unity with fallback to Unity-2d when the hardware doesn't support running the 3D version. Gnome 3.0 fallback session is available for these who want it through an option in the installer.

To learn more on Edubuntu and download a stable version of it, go to:

Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio images will not be available with Alpha 2.


Mythbuntu images will not be available with Alpha 2.

What's happening in the background

One of the aims for every release is to have all packages building correctly from source. If a package is no longer building, the binary builds of it in the archive may be quite out of date. This may be the cause of problems, and certainly makes them hard to support, as the package would have to be fixed to build successfully before any other bugs could be addressed.

FTBFS Packages:

Some of these problems are caused by library changes, some by toolchain changes (such as the linker changes in natty that are still being worked through. The Debian Import Freeze is now in effect, so the new versions from Debian will slow down, and we can work on fixing these packages and improving the consistency in our archive.

Developer help understanding the root cause and resolving these build failures is always welcome.

Known issues

As is to be expected, at this very early stage of the release process, there are some significant known bugs that users may run into with the Oneiric Alpha 2 Release. The ones we know about at this point (and some of the workarounds), are documented here so you don't need to spend time reporting these bugs again:

Boot, installation and post-install

  • Many CD images are oversized and do not fit on a standard 700 MB CD. Please burn the images onto a DVD, or use usb-creator to put them onto an USB stick. This will be fixed by the first Beta release.
  • usb-creator is currently unable to create EFI-bootable USB sticks. (702283)

  • In some cases, booting the live system takes a long time until the desktop starts. (791139)

  • A gnome-settings-daemon crash report will pop up in the live system unless you selected "Try Ubuntu without installing" in the boot menu. This crash is harmless and does not break the live system or installation.
  • Shutdown in the live session sometimes does not work and seems to just hang on the desktop. Just restart the computer with the power button in that case, there is no possibility of data loss. (805906) If shutdown does work properly, the "please press Enter to shutdown" message is hard to read. (806082)

  • Configuring autologin in the OEM setup screen does not work. (806247)

  • OEM mode installation will fail if there is no network available. As a workaround, please ensure you have an internet connection for installation in this mode. (806349)

  • When overwriting an existing installation in the Ubiquity desktop installer, it creates a new swap partition instead of re-using the already existing one. (782507)

  • Ubiquity desktop installer proceeds to use free space without warning, if sufficient free space exists, and "install alongside" is selected, then clicking on the forward button just begins the installation without warning. (766265)

  • During boot there is a warning message about "/run/udev not writable". This is harmless and can be ignored. (784216)

  • ARM Desktop installations sometimes crash during the OEM configuration step or upgrades, due to a race condition in flash-kernel. (779410)


  • During upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) on i386, the doc-base package might fail to upgrade and leave the system in a half-upgraded state. (781076)

  • During upgrade a debconf prompt about DM to use is displayed (806559)

Graphics and Display

  • Unity-2D is not working on KVM with xen and cirrus video devices. As a workaround, use the -vga vmware option. (759803)

  • 3D does not work on older ATI card models R3xx to R5xx. (804655)

Since Unity is in active development right now, please check the unity bug reports before filing new bugs.


  • Some icons are missing in the lightdm login screen. (796793)

  • The xauth utility does not work in a LightDM session, due to file permissions. (795046)

  • In some cases, gnome-settings-daemon crashes with SIGSEGV in exit(). (788710)

  • Nautilus may crash when trying to rename a file, press the Delete key, or other actions. (805783)

  • The Unity dash music player starts Totem, but should start Banshee. (805938)


  • Sound is muted in live session and first boot of fresh installation with many sound cards. (770349)

Ubuntu Server

  • When running an i386 system under a virtual machine without enough memory allocated a kernel error is detected during installation. (790712)

  • Disk device need to be readded manually to RAID array after device failure (791454)

Ubuntu Cloud

  • Eucalyptus fails to start up (791607)

  • Oneiric cluster compute instances do not boot in some cases; further details still being investigated. (791850)

  • /mnt not mounted, swap not used, disk is xvde (784937)


  • User must choose a session when logging in after an installation or upgrade. (799754)

  • Live system and installs use the wrong default settings for background images, indicators, and others. (803499, 804734)

  • Live session can not be started. (799238)


  • You may have to wait over 5 minutes for Network Manager to timeout before starting LTSP Live. Also, LTSP Live will start a gnome 3.0 fallback session instead of unity-2d. A rewrite of it is in progress which will address the issue. (791611)

  • The detailed package selection screen in the installer is currently missing due to a bug in the ubiquity plugin. Installing Edubuntu Oneiric alpha-2 will give you a full Edubuntu system, you'll then have to remove any package you don't want installed. (806428)

  • Edubuntu now uses Unity by default and offers the user to use the "gnome 3.0 fallback session" if they want to. Selecting the fallback session won't work because lightdm, the new display manager doesn't support changing the default session. The only known workaround is to select the session manually at every login. (806064)

  • nbd-server, when launched from inetd, crashes on the first incoming request. The workaround is to start it manually. (806419)

For a listing of more known issues, please refer to the Oneiric Ocelot bug tracker in Launchpad.

Reporting bugs

It should come as no surprise that this Alpha 2 release of Oneiric Ocelot contains other bugs. Your comments, bug reports, patches and suggestions will help fix bugs and improve the quality of future releases. Please report bugs using the tools provided.

If you want to help out with bugs, the Bug Squad is always looking for help.

Participate in Ubuntu

If you would like to help shape Ubuntu, take a look at the list of ways you can participate at

More information

You can find out more about Ubuntu on the Ubuntu website and Ubuntu wiki.

To sign up for future Ubuntu development announcements, please subscribe to Ubuntu's development announcement list at:

OneiricOcelot/TechnicalOverview/Alpha2 (last edited 2011-07-07 15:22:06 by 99-191-111-134)