Feeds

Ubuntu 10.10: date with destiny missed

Cosmetic polish ignores partition pain

High performance access to file storage

Review Canonical delivered the latest version of its Ubuntu Linux distribution on October 10. Releasing Ubuntu 10.10 on 10/10/10 might seem an auspicious idea, but after the overhaul that was Ubuntu 10.04, the latest release looks tame by comparison.

While there is little in Ubuntu 10.10 that will knock anyone's socks, it makes for a solid update and continues Ubuntu's push to take on not just Windows, but Mac OS X as well.

The first thing you'll notice on a fresh install of 10.10 is the installer has once again been revamped, though the changes are for the most part cosmetic. The various slides that give new users information about Ubuntu have been tweaked and some menus appear to have changed. Unfortunately, the actual install process proceeds as usual - a fact that means dumping everything onto a single partition.

While that may be fine for some users, Fedora and other distros have long since switched to multiple partitions that separate your home folder from the system files. Fedora manages to do this without any user input and - for a distro that claims to be focused on being user-friendly - Ubuntu's failure to automatically partition seems an egregious oversight.

Ubuntu 10.10 desktop

Subtle, not radical, improvements make for a nice default

Naturally, partitioning is easy for advanced users who know what they're doing and opt to customize their installs, but for those just clicking on the defaults, partitioning won't happen and that's a shame.

Ubuntu may be pushing Ubuntu One as a backup and recovery solution, but assuming everyone will use it seems naive. Ubuntu needs to stop fiddling with the installation screens and improve what the installer is actually doing, putting user and system files on separate partitions.

Once you've booted up, you'll see while 10.10 doesn't look radically different from the previous release it does have a number of very subtle improvements that make the default theme a bit nicer. Application windows sport smoother gradients, window buttons have been enlarged and refined, and the default Humanity icon set has seen a slight makeover.

Overall, Maverick's default theme is really what 10.04 should have been - more polished and refined with a greater attention to details. Ubuntu it seems is taking up Apple's longstanding belief that details matter.

Other parts of the Ubuntu interface have seen makeovers as well, like the revamped sound menu that features a nicer looking slider and says what track is playing along with the basic play/pause and skip buttons - a bit like Rhythmbox's minimized view living in your top panel.

The release also sees the inclusion of a new Ubuntu font that serves as the default for applications, desktop and window titles. The font is a step up from the old Sans font that used to be the default, though font aficionados are unlikely to be bowled over by it.

Software-Center redesign

Perhaps the most noticeable design change in Ubuntu 10.10 is the Ubuntu Software Center, which has some new features like a History option in the side menu, showing all package installations, removals, and upgrades by date.

There's also a controversial new proprietary software portion section in the Software Center. At the time of writing, there were no apps for sale, but there were some wallpapers included for testing purposes. Unlike the beta release, where I was never able to get to a purchase screen or even login for that matter, this time everything worked as advertised.

Eventually, the plan is for commercial Linux software to be purchased and installed right alongside the familiar free options, but for the initial launch of Ubuntu 10.10, the options will likely be limited to only one package - Fluendo's DVD player application. It remains to be seen if Ubuntu can attract large developers to the platform, but certainly, providing an easy way to sell their apps is a step in the right direction.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Purists beware

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.