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Ubuntu 11.10

October 18, 2011
By

Yet another Ubuntu release is upon us. This time around it’s Oneiric Ocelot (Ubuntu 11.10). Canonical, as you may already know, tends to name its release after various kinds of animals. The ocelot is a dwarf leopard that dwells in South and Central America and Mexico. The other part of the name is the word “oneiric” which essentially means “relating to dreams” according to the Merrian-Webster dictionary.

Here’s a little background about the ocelot for those who are wondering about the name of this Ubuntu release:

The ocelot is mostly nocturnal and very territorial. It will fight fiercely, sometimes to the death, in territorial disputes. In addition, the cat marks its territory with urine. Like most felines, it is solitary, usually meeting only to mate. However, during the day it rests in trees or other dense foliage, and will occasionally share its spot with another ocelot of the same sex. Males occupy territories of 3.5 to 46 square kilometers (1.4 to 18 sq mi), while females occupy smaller, non-overlapping territories of 0.8 to 15 square kilometers (0.31 to 5.8 sq mi). Territories are marked by urine spraying and by leaving feces in prominent locations, sometimes favoring particular latrine sites.[9]

So apparently Canonical decided to name this release after a cat that dreams and pees a lot. Were they trying to send some sort of message? Interesting, I wonder if this decision was made by a particular individual or some sort of committee? Some have said that Canonical is copying Apple too much (Lion anybody?) and perhaps they have a point or two in that regard. Aaah well, it is what it is.

Ocelot

Ocelot

The cute name and the ocelot’s territorial pissings aside, there are many people who have been waiting for the release of Oneiric Ocelot. The last release of Ubuntu was quite controversial in some respects because of the Unity desktop. This time around Canonical has made some tweaks to Unity that might provide a potentially better experience. We’ll find out in this review if that’s true or not.

What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

New releases of compiz and Unity
New Alt+Tab switcher
Places are now called Lenses
Dash has a music lens that uses Banshee to search your music
Launchers and Panel promise better performance
Ubuntu Mono and Ubuntu Condensed have been added to the Ubuntu Font Family
Unity 2D shares more code with Unity and contains nearly completed accessibility support features
Ubuntu Software Center 5.0
OneConf lets you keep installed applications in sync across multiple computers
DVD size has been shrunk to 1.5 GB
Thunderbird is the default email client
Deja Dup is the default backup tool
Gwibber has been updated
LightDM is the login manager
Synaptic and Pitivi are not installed by default (but they are available in Software Center)
Linux kernel 3.0.0-12.20
Ubuntu One music collections can now stream to iOS and Android devices
Multiarch support for installing 32-bit application and library packages on 64-bit systems
Firefox 7 included as default browser
LibreOffice 3.4

Let’s jump into some of these new features in no particular order.

The multiarch support means that those running 64-bit systems will have access to a wider range of 32-bit applications and libraries. Not every application has to be 64-bit to be useful and so this release of Ubuntu should be particularly pleasing to those running 64-bit systems.

I’ll talk about the Ubuntu Software Center 5.0 in the software section of the review. Suffice to say that it’s had a significant overhaul that should make it a much better experience than it has been in the past.

The new improvements to Unity are welcome and appreciated. Unity 2D is nearly on par with the 3D accelerated version. The entire Unity experience has gotten significantly better in this release. And please note that I have not exactly been a fan of Unity in the past. I found it to be significantly more usable than in the past though I still am not sure I’d want to use it on a day-to-day basis. This time around though Unity feels much more…livable. I suspect that if I used it long enough I *might* actually come to like it.

Current users of Unity will note that it feels faster than the last release and it seems much more consistent than it did previously. I suspect that some of those who have been hesitating about Unity might now be swayed by the quality improvements in this release. I make no promises but if you’ve been skeptical of Unity you might want to give it another look.

The performance of the Panel and Launchers has been improved and is definitely noticeable. I never complain when the performance of something increases so I’m certainly not going to do that now. Kudos to Canonical for speeding them up.

Gwibber

Gwibber

LightDM is a very attractive login manager (see the screenshot in the Login/Desktop section of the review). While a new login manager isn’t earth-shattering news, it goes along with the rest of the improvements of this release in terms of polish. Little things like this help provide an overall better user experience when you add them all up.

The change to Thunderbird being the default email client matters very little to me. I stopped using local email clients and have mostly gone with web-based mail for a long time now. So I won’t be using Thunderbird or any other local email client any time soon. But your mileage may vary and some users might enjoy Thunderbird.

Deja Dup adds some real value by letting you back up locally or online via Ubuntu One. You get 5GB free with Ubuntu One and that’s a good start for most people to use for backups. True, it will cost you some money if you want more space but sometimes additional storage is worth paying for if you want to use online backups.

Deja Dup

Deja Dup

Oneconf is an excellent addition that should make it quite comfortable for anyone who wants to keep their apps in sync across multiple computers. I like anything that saves me the time and headache of having to manage things like that manually.

The absence of Pitivi and Synaptic are not particularly bothersome. You can easily install them later if you find yourself missing them.

Firefox 7 is now the default browser for Ubuntu 11.10. Don’t like Firefox 7? Well wait a few days and I’m sure Mozilla will release Firefox 8, 9, 10, etc. Ha, ha. Just kidding.

LibreOffice 3.4 should easily meet the needs of most desktop office suite users.

Gwibber has a new interface based on the latest GNOME technologies.

Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

1 GHz Cpu (x86 processor (Pentium 4 or better))
1 Gb Ram (system memory)
15 Gb of hard-drive space (or usb-stick, memory-card or external drive but see LiveCd for an alternative approach)
800 by 600 screen resolution
Either a Cd/Dvd-drive or a Usb-port for the installer media
Internet access is helpful

Installation
The downloadable ISO file comes in a 1.8GB version (i386), or a 1.9GB version (AMD64). So it doesn’t take very long to download if you’re on a reasonably fast connection.

The Ubuntu installer is as slick as ever. I had no problems doing my install; even those who are totally new to Linux should be able to install Ubuntu 11.10.

When you first boot into Ubuntu 11.10, you’re given the option of trying it before installing. I decided to skip the live desktop (been there, done that a zillion times) and just went with the desktop install right off the bat. If you are totally new to Ubuntu then by all means try it first. You can do a full install right from the live desktop.

The installer walks you through each step of putting Ubuntu 11.10 on your system.

Welcome

Welcome

You can watch a slideshow of features while your install is completed. Please note that at one point you can opt to install updates and third party software such as flash while you’re install happens. I highly recommend doing this because it will save you time. Yes, the install will be a little longer but you won’t have bother with it later on.

The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.

Install 1

Install 1

Install 2

Install 2

Install 3

Install 3

Install 4

Install 4

Install 5

Install 5

Install 6

Install 6

Install 7

Install 7

Install 8

Install 8

Login
Here’s what the new login screen looks like:

Login

Login

As you can tell from the screenshot, it’s quite pretty. I suppose some might dismiss it as fluff but I think it’s rather sharp looking.

The Desktop
The Unity desktop, as I noted before, has had some significant changes done to it and is finally coming into its own. While I still lean toward Xubuntu, I could see myself getting quite comfortable with Unity the more I used it. In this release it has a way of growing on you that I did not expect since I was quite turned off by it in Ubuntu 11.04.

Note that the Dash appears at the top of the launcher. Click it and you’ll see the search box popup, along with commonly used applications and application categories. This makes using the Dash easier and faster.

Note that there are icons (lenses) at the bottom of the Dash screen that let you search Applications, Music, Files and Folders, etc. If you aren’t familiar with Lenses, be sure to read this page on Ubuntu’s Wiki. There are also some neat Lenses you might want to check out that go beyond the default ones that come with Ubuntu 11.10.

If you click the More Apps icon you’ll see Most Frequently Used, Installed, Apps Available for Download and also application category buttons on the right side of the screen. If you click one of the category buttons you’ll see a list of installed apps as well as a list of some apps in that category that you can download. I rather like the inclusion of app “suggestions” to download. It makes it easier to surface potentially useful apps that Ubuntu newbies might not even know exist.

As I mentioned earlier in the review, Unity 2D has been improved. So even if you aren’t running hardware that can support the full Unity experience, you’ll still have a good looking and highly usable desktop. The screenshots below are of Unity 2D.

Desktop

Desktop

Dash 1

Dash 1

Dash 2

Dash 2

One thing that may irritate some users is the change to menu buttons. If the window is maximized you won’t see menu buttons in the upper left unless you hover the mouse over them. I’m on the fence on this change. I suppose it makes things neater, but it also means you have to focus on hovering for a second to click on the buttons. Perhaps others won’t really care though? Maybe it’s a question of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

Menu Buttons

Menu Buttons

The Power Menu now lets you shutdown and do all the usual stuff you need to do.

Power Menu

Power Menu

Themes & Wallpaper
Ubuntu 11.10 comes with a decent and rather attractive set of wallpapers. You can access themes right from the same menu, so it’s quite convenient to change both at the same time.

Themes & Wallpaper

Themes & Wallpaper

System Settings

Here’s a look at the System Settings menu. Everything you’d expect to be there is and it gives you a good amount of control of your Ubuntu 11.10 system.

System Settings

System Settings

Bundled Software in Ubuntu 11.10

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Games
AisleRiot Solitaire
FreeCell Solitaire
gbrainy
Mahjongg

Graphics
Document Viewer
Image Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
Shotwell

Internet
Desktop Sharing
Empathy
Firefox
Gwibber Social Client

Multimedia
Banshee Media Player
Brasero Disc Burner
Movie Player
Sound Recorder

Office
LibreOffice

Software Management
The Ubuntu Software Center has had a significant overhaul. Top rated applications are now very visible when you first open the Software Center. There’s also a banner at the top that features a particular application. Application categories are also prominent on the left side of the screen.

You can also easily see your installed software by clicking the icon at the top of the Software Center. The history screen lets you see All Changes, Installations, Updates and Removals.

Application list views can be sorted by Name, Top Rated, Relevance or Newest First. I particularly love sorting based on Top Rated as it helps speed up the finding of the best applications by utilizing the combined collective knowledge and experience of all Software Center users.

I also noticed that there is a What’s New section on the main view as well as I write this review. It’s a nice way of surfacing new apps that users might not otherwise know about.

The Software Center has come a long way from where it started and I’m glad to see such progress. No, it’s not perfect but it keeps getting better and better as time goes by.

Software Center All

Software Center Main View

Software Center Installed

Software Center Installed

Software Center Category

Software Center Category

Software Center History

Software Center History

Adding & Removing Software
It’s easy to add or remove software. To add just click the Install button in Software Center. Click the Remove button if it’s something you want to get rid of from your system.

Installing VLC

Install VLC

You can click the More Info button when viewing an application in list view if you want to know more about a particular application. More Info will take you to another page that will let you view add ons, comments by other users, version number, total size, etc. It’s a good way to find out more about an application.

K3B More Info

K3B More Info

Sound and Multimedia
YouTube & Flash
As I noted in the install section, I opted to have third party software and updates installed during the installation. So I had no problems running flash based videos in Ubuntu 11.10. Flash performance seemed pretty good in Firefox 7.

YouTube

YouTube

Multimedia Applications
The selection of multimedia applications that are installed by default is very bare bones. You get Banshee, Brasero Disc Burner, Movie Player and Sound Recorder.

I strongly suggest browsing the Software Center and sorting multimedia applications by Top Rated to snag some really good additional multimedia software. There’s quite a bit available in the Software Center and sorting by Top Rated will bring most of the best stuff right to the surface for easy downloading and installing on your Ubuntu 11.10 system.

VLC Media Player pops up right at the top of the list when you use Top Rated sorting. It’s an excellent program and highly recommended.

Multimedia Apps

Multimedia Apps (Sorted by Top Rated)

Problems & Headaches
For some strange reason, I was not able to authorize my Twitter account while using Gwibber. I’m not sure what the problem was, but I had no problems setting up Facebook in Gwibber. I don’t count this as much of a big deal since I don’t tweet all that much anyway. But perhaps others out there have noticed it too? Or was it just a temporary Twitter burp? Let me know in the comments if you had a similar problem.

Beyond that I didn’t find very much to complain about in Ubuntu 11.10. I didn’t come across any noticeable bugs or other aggravations. Things ran relatively speedy and everything seemed pretty stable.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Ubuntu support page. You’ll find documentation, a technical answers system, training courses, paid support services and even free community support on that page. So bookmark it in case you have problems with Ubuntu 11.10.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Ubuntu 11.10 is a more polished release than 11.04. Unity is finally beginning to come into its own and has become significantly more usable. Canonical has made up for some of Unity’s initial headaches and these efforts may bring back some of the Ubuntu users who have fled to other Ubuntu spins such as Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

The Software Center upgrade also provides some real value in this release. It’s gotten to be a much better experience as it has evolved and it should be a fairly comfortable tool for even those totally new to Linux.

Ubuntu 11.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users. Those currently running Ubuntu 11.04 should definitely consider an upgrade to this release. At the very least it’s worth burning to a DVD and trying out the live desktop environment to see if it floats your boat.

If you still aren’t sure about Ubuntu 11.10 and you aren’t willing to download and burn a DVD, head over to the web based demo. You can kick Ubuntu’s tires a bit and poke around right from the comfort of your browser. You can also take a short online tour of Ubuntu 11.10.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Ubuntu 11.10
Web Site: http://www.ubuntu.com
Price: Free
Pros: Updated Software Center and new releases of compiz and Unity. 32-bit applications & libraries can now run on 64-bit machines. Deja Dup can be used to backup locally or online via Ubuntu One. Contains Linux kernel 3.0 and GNOME 3.2 components.
Cons: Confirmed Unity haters might still want to stick with a different distro or a different Ubuntu spin. Default multimedia application selection leaves a little bit to be desired.
Suitable For:  Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.
Rating: 4/5

 


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32 Responses to Ubuntu 11.10

  1. melvin on March 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    i just bought a dell desktop with ubuntu 11.10 installed but theres no wireless showing on my network for me to connect.then i bought a edimax usb adapter but still undetected.pls i need your advice to this.tnx!

  2. Best Linux Distro on March 31, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Thanks for the great review, I installed this on a virtual machine and it worked perfectly. 12.04 also has some great improvements on this as well worth the wait until the official release I would say.

  3. ANUPAM MITRA on March 11, 2012 at 5:55 am

    My OS is WINDOWS XP SP 3. I installed UBUNTU 11.10 from a CD which was prepared through ISO Image. Incidentally, I am having two Hard Disks – "C" Drive is in the old Hard Disk, but the WINDOWS is in "J" Drive located in New Hard Disk. Now, UBUNTU 11.10 was in installed "J" Drive. Proper installation was done. Thereafter I was asked to reboot the system. That was also done but after rebooting I'm not getting any option to open UBUNTU. Straightway WINDOWS is opening. Please help. :sad:

  4. Penguin12 on February 28, 2012 at 1:20 am

    So after first hating Unity and Gnome 3 after RTM I actually started to like both.

    I really started to like Unity. However the following things made me decide to uninstall:

    1. Performance. The normal Unity interface ran pretty high CPU (up in the teens and twenties) and Memory (around 400 mb) (*caveat there may have been other things going on to add up to this), nonetheless ,however running Unity 2d or Gnome 3, they had better performance figures. Running this on a labtop so the less CPU usage the better = better battery life. I think it may have something to with Compiz for example.

    2. Zeitgeist is what really put me off. I saw the service running, and looked it up in Synaptic (which I had to install manually, but okay, I can see some use for software center, as Ubuntu is trying to be normal user friendly. From what I understand Zeitgeist is used for filtering of the whatchamachigs, and as such, unity becomes disfunctional without that.

    Other than that, things such as the numbered keys when you press the (Ubuntu) logo key, are really a nice touch. As well as e-mail and chat integration. All in all it has a nice polished look. In the end I settled for Gnome 3, as it is quite user friendly, does not require Compiz, and is quick to use. Stil have to figure out how to add a nicer theme though.

  5. bobby on February 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

    great report you gave here about the ubuntu 11.10,

    very accurate,the 11.10 pleased me, was easy to use no problems, but looked around,see what pleased me more to the eye,

    not all others pleased me so,

    then found the tip here about changing the desktop from trinity to cinnamon, worked great for me , so this is a keeper,

    wonder if will work also with the 12.04 and so on ,, will the commands also change with the newer distro,s

  6. Aaron on February 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Does ubuntu 11.04 desktop edition come with python,c,lisp and perl

  7. Dean on February 5, 2012 at 3:11 am

    OMG – What are they thinking. I have spent the last 8 years converting and convincing my family and friends to use Linux. I started with Fedora then in 2004 loaded Hardy – and what a great ride since – till now. I am now on the look out for a new Distro. Lets hope its not Windows 7.

    Dean

  8. Hans on January 11, 2012 at 1:17 am

    @ Jim Lynch:

    Thanks for that tip on getting the classic menu indicator!

    I was really shocked when I first saw the Ubuntu 11.10 desktop and found no way to display the menus I was used to.

    I still miss the System menu especially Administration and Preferences. Any suggestion how to get these back?

    Personally I hate this new direction. Unity may be nice for people who don't care for getting to the bottom of things. But why would these people go for Linux???

    Regards, Hans

  9. jamile on December 30, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I too find unity to be an utter waste of effort. If they made it an optional and offered a gnome install, then it would satisfy those who seem to think it is (somehow) better.

    My opinion is that if the devs want to design some kind of tablet-like interface,they should get tablets, and leave notebooks and desktop pcs with the superior traditional interface.

  10. pankaj on December 22, 2011 at 1:29 am

    tera ubentu bekar he

    but i can't understent is operating system is a un supported o/s ad faltu os he

    jo bhi isko banaya he wo bekar he

    qqq;;;;1 where is task bar

    qqqq;;;2 where is start menu

    qq::::3 where is right click

    or bhi bahut sare he just contec me

    pankaj chouhan

    st.angelos mumbai networking enng>>.

    ccna/mcse/bca/n+/a+/java/c++

    http://desktoplinuxreviews.com/wp-content/plugins
    or bhi digrii he mere pass

  11. Ricardo on December 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Hey, just a moment… You mentioned about 1.8GB, and burning a DVD but I just went to ubuntu(dot)com and the only option is downloading a CD image of 697MB. Did I miss something?

  12. Ges on December 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Well, I am not going to get the new version for now. In fact, I am considering switching to Windows from now on.

    The main reason is the endless problems and the poor support for HP laptops. Even though HP plays a part in this dilemma, the fact and the end result remains that HP laptop users suffer.

    Until this situation improves, switching to Windows seems a logical move.

  13. n venkateswaran on December 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    i installed it last Saturday. initially did not have a clue about what to do. slowly got used to it. now i like it very much.

    i have a p4 machine with less than 1 gb ram, still youtube loaded very fast. i am impressed.

    ( i upgraded on line from 11.04)

    thanks for the review.

  14. ????? on November 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Aga. Webmaster this site – LAMER!

  15. ????? on November 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    ??? ??? ???????? ??? ?? ?????. ??????? ????? Apache ?????. ? Xubuntu, Ubuntu – ?? ???? ???.

    ? ??? ?? Unity ????? ????-?? ????? ?????????? ???????, ???? ??????? ???????? ????. ?????????? ???????…

    ??? ???-?? ?? ? ????????? ????????? ??? Gnome ?

    ??? "??????? ?? ???????", ??? ?????? ?????? ?????????

    ?????, ???????? ? ????????. ??? ??????? ??? ????? ???? ????? ???????????

  16. Quint Pease on November 3, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I have use Ubuntu 11.10 for a few weeks now. I have issues that are steering me back to Linux Mint 11. Here they are: Oh, by the way, I do have a fast, dual-core laptop. Anyway, the Software Center takes minutes to open, some apps won't open until I have already tried many times and then all open at once. I hate the Unity launcher with a passion. My whole computer is slow. It will not easily set up network printers like older Ubuntu versions. It just sucks for lack of a better term.

    Check out distrowatch.com and you will see that Mint is within a few page hits of being number one on the list of distros. I am sorry to say that I think Ubuntu is making some really bad choices in functionality. I was once a loyal patron.

  17. tdockery97 on October 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    The really good news with 11.10 comes with the Gnome Classic desktop. If you install the Gnome Shell, then at login you are given the option of Gnome Classic WITH effects. Add some of the more popular new extensions and it's easy to configure a Gnome desktop that looks and feels like Gnome 2.32, but with the advantage of the more up-to-date Gnome 3 base. Very nice for us old stick-in-the-muds who didn't want to let go of Gnome 2.

  18. Reuben on October 20, 2011 at 3:33 am

    Hi All,

    I have installed Ubuntu 11.10. Overall feel, features and looks are just amazing. However acessing web pages gets slower,

    with firefox web browser in a multitab environment.

    Interestingly :cheerful: , Google chrome(in Ubuntu 11.10) does not seem to have a similar problem

    Thanks,

    Reuben

  19. kbed on October 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    @ Brian Masinick:

    Funny, I find Unity to be very conducive to the type of navigation style you are describing. I put my 10 every day applications on the left bar and each is mapped to super + 1..10. I used to do a lot more desktop switching before unity, now I have all my apps in one desktop (VMs not withstanding, they get their own as they don't play nice with the key binding) and I use the super key bindings to switch among active apps/instantiate new ones. It would be nice to be able to bind more than 10 applications but for me it's a one-off to reach for something not on that list (a lot of times I just use terminal for that, which is itself bound).

  20. John Frank on October 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Jim,I've been reading your articles for years (I wonder if you still have your iMac),and I got to appreciate your opinion. One question: I really like Cairo-dock and Compiz. Is there a way to use Cairo instead of that Unity monstrosity?

  21. Henrik on October 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I have no issues with Unity itself. But my webcam no longer work properly with Cheese.

    Some other got problem with it to:
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/cheese/

    So I will stay with version 10.04 for some time.

  22. Brian Masinick on October 18, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I am with you on this. Both KDE and GNOME, as they have moved to their most recent major releases, have changed so much, and they have essentially abandoned their original approaches.

    There was such an uproar with KDE that many of the original release features were brought back, but it took them FIVE minor releases (each with a five month cycle of incremental updates), so we're talking about twenty five months or more before they finally got it together well enough to be considered once again for regular use. But to some, the interface that was previously used still has not been completely recovered.

    In the case of GNOME 3, we are definitely not there, and unless GNOME project views change, the GNOME developers, at least at one time, were pretty adamant that they were changing the interface and not retaining the old look and feel.

    I've started to hear about tools and techniques to bring some of that old look and feel back; not sure if this comes from the GNOME team or from those who want some of both the old and the new.

    Quite a few distributions have not followed either the GNOME 3 Shell path or the Canonical Unity path, so there isn't much unity of opinion on this, and there seems to be more fragmentation in the GNOME camp with the Version 3 release than there was with KDE in the Version 4 release. Perhaps that is because KDE 3.5 was maintained until KDE developed sufficient features and stability to replace KDE 3, or perhaps it is because KDE provides more choice and configurability, as it always has.

    In any case, I'd be interested in seeing to what extent Canonical is dealing with these matters. From a practical standpoint, if I am ever going to use Unity, I want it to be smooth with my every day work flow. I want to be able to switch applications or tasks in one or two clicks or keystrokes, and I also want to be able to invoke additional applications with minimal interaction. Not sure if we are there yet with either of these things.

    Can you or anyone else comment on how usable Unity is if you have many concurrent tasks and applications going on at the same time? How easy is it to navigate between them? How easy is it to determine what you have running? How easy is it to start another application when the current running app is using up the full screen?

    ArcherB wrote:

    I upgraded my headless workstation before my desktop. This was a mistake. Since Gnome2 has been removed, I was left with nothing to use for VNC. Even trying to use 2D did not work right. A quick look at the forums showed me that this was a known issue and I was not able to find anyone with a decent fix.

    I was able to figure it out by running XFCE4 as my default VNC desktop. This worked out quite well, although not as good as Gnome2, but still functional.

    I won’t be able to comment on Unity until I install it on my desktop system. Frankly, I hated Unity so much from the last release that I’m still on the fence. I really love my Gnome and don’t want to lose it. With a quick glance, I can tell you the speed my processors are running, the temp of each system component, and the load on my network, RAM, processors and HDD’s. This type of widget support is not available in Unity at the moment and is not nearly as polished in XFCE4. I don’t know if I’m ready to give up this level of customization quite yet. It’s my system and I want to set it up how I like. I am having a hard time performing an “upgrade” that takes features away.

  23. Brian Masinick on October 18, 2011 at 9:09 am

    @ Jonquil:

    What in particular are you enjoying about Fedora 16 Beta, Jonquil?

  24. Brian Masinick on October 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

    @ Jim Lynch:

    Great to see you back in distro review mode, and I am happy to hear that Ubuntu seems to be making strong steps to improve not only Unity, but the entire experience as well. Based on my tests running Kubuntu 11.10 throughout the testing cycle, and my recent installation of Xubuntu 11.10 and upgrades of a few other upstream derivative distributions, the overall quality of packaging and tools provided by the Ubuntu ecosystem continues to improve. This is quite possibly the most stable non-LTS release ever released by Canonical, and it sets them up well in preparation for their next LTS (Long Term Support) release, 12.04, in April 2012.

    You spoke of both the 2D and 3D Unity interfaces being much improved. One thing that would interest me is a bit more discussion about how Unity has improved navigation to reduce key clicks. It seemed in the previous release that it would take quite a few keystrokes to do anything other than the most routine things that are immediately available on the left side tool bar, and also, minimizing, maximizing, or otherwise re-arranging the location of running applications or navigating between them was inconvenient.

    How well have these concerns been addressed, and how many clicks or keystrokes are required, on average, if you have four or five applications running and you want to shift between them, and consume the entire workspace with the current application, then in one or two clicks, shift to another app?

    What about multiple work spaces and shifting between them?

    When I used 11.04, I found that the software worked reasonably well, but it was quite inconvenient for me to use. I had never been much of a GNOME fan in the first place, but at least I did not mind the previous GNOME 2 interface, but this isn't so much about personal preference, it's now about convenience. Unless this is much improved, to me work flow is adversely impacted by the recent changes. Therefore, discussion of what's changed and even more details about how this can be made more workable within a typical work flow would be appreciated.

    You touched on it some and said it is improved. Can you give us a few more examples of the ways in which you have found it improved – particularly in navigating between active applications and invoking additional applications in a minimal number of steps and keystrokes, maintaining concentration of what you are doing?

    I'd be interested in hearing from you on this, Jim, but I would be glad to hear from others as well, specifically if you can address how you have been able to use Unity effectively in its latest implementation.

    Glad you are reviewing again, Jim. Hope this is the first in a string of three or four reviews. There are at least three updates in the Ubuntu camp alone; maybe Xubuntu just deserves a Quick Look bacause it's not really a major evolutionary change, but it is a really good release.

    Kubuntu looks really good; would love to hear your views on it as well.

  25. Jim Lynch on October 18, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Hi Sccrl,

    I really didn't notice much performance lag, if any. It was quite zippy for me. I'd say grab a copy of VirtualBox (it's free) and install it on your computer. You can then play with Ubuntu or any other distro and get a feel for it before doing the dual boot thing. Or you can just run it inside of VirtualBox.

    https://www.virtualbox.org/

  26. Sccrl on October 18, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Since you installed using VMBOX, what kind of performance lag is there that you did or could not notice – even though you say the performance was better. I have not used the VMBox and was thinking to either dual boot the home Mac or use to install Win 7 and/or an education Linux distro.

  27. ArcherB on October 18, 2011 at 5:40 am

    I upgraded my headless workstation before my desktop. This was a mistake. Since Gnome2 has been removed, I was left with nothing to use for VNC. Even trying to use 2D did not work right. A quick look at the forums showed me that this was a known issue and I was not able to find anyone with a decent fix.

    I was able to figure it out by running XFCE4 as my default VNC desktop. This worked out quite well, although not as good as Gnome2, but still functional.

    I won't be able to comment on Unity until I install it on my desktop system. Frankly, I hated Unity so much from the last release that I'm still on the fence. I really love my Gnome and don't want to lose it. With a quick glance, I can tell you the speed my processors are running, the temp of each system component, and the load on my network, RAM, processors and HDD's. This type of widget support is not available in Unity at the moment and is not nearly as polished in XFCE4. I don't know if I'm ready to give up this level of customization quite yet. It's my system and I want to set it up how I like. I am having a hard time performing an "upgrade" that takes features away.

  28. Jim Lynch on October 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Thanks, guys. Glad you liked the review. I've been on a bit of a review hiatus so this was a good one to come back with. Ubuntu is always fun to write about.

    Hey, here's a great tip somebody posted on G+. It lets you install an application drop down menu:

    Install ClassicMenu Indicator on ubuntu 11.10
    http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-install-classicm

    It could be quite useful for those who like having a classic app menu to use in Ubuntu.

  29. Jonquil on October 18, 2011 at 3:23 am

    I left 11.04 because of problems like a memory leak in Ubuntu One. I would return to 11.10 but I'm afraid I'm just enjoying the Fedora 16 Beta a little too much. Still, 11.10 may eventually find its place on my second laptop.

    Good, solid review. You can tell a lot of time and thought went in to this piece. I look forward to seeing more reviews by you.

  30. Imhoteps on October 18, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Imhoteps wrote:

    Thanks for a review, Jim!

    I agree that 11.10`s Unity is much more usable by default now. Tried Oneiric on Atom N270 with 1Gb DDR2 RAMmed netbook – well, although everything went smooth, OS lagged noticeably, even compared to 11.04.

    But for Unity lovers as me, using Oneiric on decent machine, will become into kinda nice ride.

  31. Imhoteps on October 18, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Thanks for a review, Jim!

    I agree that 11.10`s Unity is much more usable by default now. Tried Oneiric on Atom N270 with 1Gb DDR2 RAMmed netbook – well, although everything went smooth, OS lagged noticeably, even compared to with 11.04.

    But for Unity lovers as me, using Oneiric on decent machine, will become into kinda nice ride.

  32. Stan on October 18, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I still haven't installed Ubuntu, used to do it the day it came out, but the last release I just stuck with my Mint install and waited for Mint 11 to come out before I updated. This one looks better and I have to get around to downloading and installing virtual box and trying it out, I don't think it will replace my Mint install though, I still want Unity and Gnome3 to mature before I use them as my main GUI.



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