Feeds

No pain, some gain: Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot examined

Love it or leave it, Unity is here

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Review Ubuntu 11.10, just released as its first beta differs only slightly in its looks from its 11.04 predecessor – a fact that will be welcome news to penguins still reeling from that earlier version's grand re-boot.

That earlier release shed GNOME 2.x, ignored GNOME 3.0 and set its brand-new Unity interface as the default.

Unfortunately, while the Unity desktop has potential, the initial release was rough enough around the edges that I suggested at the time waiting for a few more releases before embracing it.

While the first beta of 11.10, called Oneiric Ocelot, is also a little rough at the edges and features some curious design decisions, the version of Unity here is more stable and it is faster than the version that shipped with 11.04. In other words, Unity is making progress, albeit slower than many would like.

Ubuntu 11.10 dash search

Dash changes: expanded capabilities with windows-style resizing

One of the areas that has seen a considerable makeover in the last six months is Unity's Dash. First and foremost, the Dash button has been moved from the top panel to the Unity launcher and its capabilities have been extended.

For example, there's a new music tab so you can start playing songs directly from Dash. Also, instead of the separate Places search tool, searching for files is now just a tab inside the Dash.

In fact, the whole "Places" metaphor from GNOME has been dumped in favor of what Unity calls "Scopes and Lenses." How the new metaphor makes more sense is anyone's guess, but at least your new "Lenses" have gained a quick filtering ability. For example, instead of searching for "Internet" to find applications that connect to the web, now you can just click the "Internet" filter. Similarly there are filters to refine your searches by date or tag.

Ubuntu 11.10 dash search internet

Dash lets you search for objects and subjects with the aid of filters.

The Dash also now has its own window controls, so you can easily maximize or resize it to suit your whim, just like any other window in Unity. The visuals for the Dash have been updated as well, with a new transparency that looks vaguely like Windows 7. In another nice addition, the Dash will now, chameleon-like, automatically shade itself according to your desktop wallpaper.

Interestingly, while Dash gains window controls, full-screen windows have lost them in this release. Or rather the controls and menu items are now hidden and only appear when you mouse over the title bar. It's a small change, but one of those small changes that has people all riled up. In this case I'll side with those that call it unnecessary. If there were space saved, a few pixels even, it might make sense, but it doesn't save any space. As it stands the revamped title bar feels more like change purely for the sake of change than anything a user might call useful.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Next page: Muddled menu

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
Apple's OS X Yosemite slurps UNSAVED docs into iCloud
Docs, email contacts... shhhlooop, up it goes
Was ist das? Eine neue Suse Linux Enterprise? Ausgezeichnet!
Version 12 first major-number Suse release since 2009
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.