You can follow the same upgrade process as normal. Simply upgrade from the Update Manager and your settings, files and bookmarks will stay the same.
The Unity launcher and dash are distinctive features in this release; defaulting to Unity 3-D with a fallback to Unity 2-D. There is no Gnome desktop installed in this version. You can of course, opt to go Kubuntu (KDE) or Xubuntu (Xfce).
Will it work with my hardware?
Among the FAQ’s, this is answered with: “Ubuntu 11.10 is built to take advantage of the very latest technologies, but it should work on a most desktops, laptops and netbooks too.” Although this fails to point out the need for a 3-D hardware accelerated video card for Unity 3-D. RC