Two major Linux distributions have received major updates today. The first is Ubuntu Linux, which was updated to version 11.04 right on schedule — the developers launch new versions every six months. The second is the somewhat geekier Slackware, which now has one of the geekiest version numbers imaginable: 13.37.

Slackware 13.37 ships with the Firefox 4 web browser, updated Linux kernels, the latest X Window system, and new versions of the Xfce and KDE desktop environments.

Ubuntu 11.04 is a much more radical departure, featuring a brand new desktop environment called Unity which replaces Gnome as Ubuntu’s default user interface. Lifehacker has a good walkthrough showing some of the new features in Unity.

Aside from the new user interface, Ubuntu 11.04 comes with Firefox 4, LibreOffice 3.3.2 (instead of OpenOffice.org), and the Banshee 2.0 music player instead of Rhythmbox. Ubuntu 11.04 also includes a new 2D version of the Unity desktop environment for devices with ARM-based processors.

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