The first beta release of Ubuntu 11.10 (code named Oneiric) is out and available for download. There are quite a large number of new features in this one as this might be the last oppurtunity to get them in before the big LTS release next year. Here is a quick tour of whats new !
“Whats new in Unity ?” must be the question in all of your minds. So lets kick off with Unity updates. This time out, Ubuntu ships both Unity and Unity 2D. Unity 2D is a QT implementation of Unity which is suitable for low end machines which can not ofer graphics acceleration. Unity looks considerably different from what it used to be in 11.04. Here are a list of changes which in no way is extensive, but certainly the highlights:
- The Unity dash is now transparent and assumes colour of the background anf fades out the launcher and panel.
- The dash layout is revamped, there are applications, files and music lens present.
- The applications lens is integrated with software center ratings and categories.
- The music lens categorises music on basis of genres.
- Files menu zeitgeist integration is more consistant now.
- The Ubuntu button in the panel is replaced with one on the launcher.
- The maximized window controls are now hidden by default. It appears on hovering over the left corner of the panel.
- Unity is customizable using Compiz Config Settings Manager for eg: opacity, removable volumes displayed etc
- Alt-tab switcher gives live previews of open windows.
- An integrated messaging menuon the panel.
- The session switcher button now doubles up as settings button.
Here are a few screenshots :
Softwares in and out
There are quite a few changes on the default applications front also. Here is a quick list
- Deja Dup is on the CD as the default backup service.
- Evolution is replaced by thunderbird as default mail client
- The redsigned Gwibber is in the CD as well
- LightDM repplaces GDM as the display manager. It is customized to fit in perfectly with the Unity looks.
- Synaptic package manager is off the CD and the newly redesigned software center will act as the only apt-get front end.
Additionaly GNOME has been updated to latest snapshot 3.1.5 and Linux kernel 3 is also on the CD. Firefox 7 from the aurora channel is the default browser.
Software repository now includes GNOME Shell which works fine without breaking anything (unlike in 11.04). Synaptic Package manager can also be installed from the Software Center.
In the breif live session I ran, I did get a couple of Unity crashes, which hopefully will be ironed out before the release. There is one more beta release on September 22nd before the final release on October 13th. Looks like an exciting release for lovers of the Unity interface. We shall be taking a look at the Server, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Studio 11.10 versions in the coming days. So stay tuned.