Canonical's Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" has been widely used and adopted by the open source lovers throughout the world. But, these days Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot” is occupying much of the Linux world's attention though it is still in the development phase. Recently the Alpha3 version of Ubuntu 11.10 has been released. There has been many changes since the first version of Ubuntu. And obviously, every next version gets better than earlier. Many of the applications in Ubuntu 11.10 are similar to that of 11.04, but some of them have been replaced by some better options that might surely rule coming versions of Ubuntu and the world of open source. Lets have a look at some of these application.

1. Desktop Environment
The classic GNOME desktop will reportedly no longer be included on the default Ubuntu CD, while Qt-based Unity 2D for lower-end PCs will switch to using Compiz rather than Metacity, The H reports. Meanwhile, the 11.10 Alpha3 version is now powered by the latest stable version of Linux kernel 3.0 and the GNOME 3.1.4desktop environment.

2. Evolution or Thunderbird?
For email, Ubuntu 11.04 has been using Evolution as the mail client. However, Ubuntu 11.10 is still on track to include Evolution, the Ubuntu standard. There are chances, that Mozilla Thunderbird will remain the default mail client until the final release of Ubuntu 11.10 as it has been included in Alpha3 release of Ubuntu 11.10. The current version of Mozilla Thunderbird included in the package is 6.0.

3. LibreOffice: Yes or No?
There are chances that LibreOffice might be dropped from the default Ubuntu 11.10 final release CD, due to the space restrictions on the Ubuntu CD, with the result that attempts are being made to find a way to free up more room. While another alternative is to package the operating system on two CDs or one DVD instead. But the Alpha3 version of 11.10 has LibreOffice included in the package.

4. Firefox upgraded
There is a possibility that Firefox might be replaced by Google's Open source browser, Chromium in the final release of Ubuntu 11.10. But the currently released Alpha3 version has Firefox 6.0 as compared to the Firefox 4 used in 11.04. There have been several bugs in firefox along with the java compatibility issues which creates problem running the Java enabled sites. 

5. An improved Unity
Natty Narwhal's new, notebook-derived Unity interface has been met with considerable hesitation on the part of some Ubuntu users, but apparently the next version will include arevised version of the desktop shell. The Unity launcher will see its quicklist functionality improved and icons in the launcher will be able to display count badges or progress meters to reflect the state of the underlying application.

6. Enhanced Ubuntu Software Center
This is one of the Ubuntu's best features. It fills up a huge gap between the Ubuntu OS and the users that are very much unfamiliar with the CLI. The final 11.10 release is supposed to get a number of enhancements, including improved integration with Unity and a simplified user interface like 11.10 Alpha3 has Ubuntu Software Center with a new "top rated" views feature to all the subcategory pages and the main category page. Moreover, installing individual deb files is a lot faster now.

7. Déjà Dup included as backup utility
The Déjà Dup utility will be included by default for backup purposes. The backup tool might also get online accounts backup like Gmail or Flickr, backup the package list, a backup browser which will allow you to browse through all the files you've backed up as well as an option to backup specific applications.

8. Removal of Computer Janitor and PiTiVi
Computer Janitor is supposedly going to be dropped in Ubuntu 11.10, and it sounds like the PiTiVi video editor will be, too. Bothsoftware packages are said to have too many bugs which leads them to be dropped.

9. LightDM to replace GDM
Ubuntu 11.04 has been using GDM. Switching from GNOME Display Manager to the lighter-weight LightDM will allow login screens to be themed using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This means the OS is going to be even more Open. Moreover, the old ALT+Tab functionality has been replaced with CTRL+Tab one, the launcher and panel perform better, and the indicator stack is ported to GTK3.

The final version of Ubuntu 11.10 is dated to be release in October. I have been desperately waiting for it.