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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 26 Aug 2011

A closer look at Ubuntu 11.10 Oneric with Jono Bacon

I like it when Jono Bacon, community manager for Ubuntu, can focus on the cool things the Linux distribution is doing and not just the problems with the project. Not that those problems should be ignored, but if Ubuntu doesn't have the goods, what's the point?

To that effect, Jono offers a detailed screen-by-screen look at the upcoming 11.10 release on his blog.

Seen above is a smallish grab from Jono of what happens when you use alt-tab to switch between applications.

While I'm not eager to jump into the Unity interface at this point in time, this all looks pretty cool.

Not using Ubuntu beyond the 10.04 installation I maintain for my daughter, I'm not hyper-focused on Unity and the six-month Ubuntu cycle, but I do keep an eye on it.

I can see why Ubuntu's founder Mark Shuttleworth decided to jump off the GNOME 3 bandwagon and turn Ubuntu into its own upstream as the primary developer of Unity. The move gives Ubuntu a measure of control over the direction of the project that it could never have had with pure GNOME.

Given the size of the overall Ubuntu project in terms of employees, volunteers and users, along with the rapid development pace that Ubuntu is eager to maintain, I can't blame the people behind the distribution for wanting a greater measure of control over their own technological destiny.

Whether or not Unity turns out to be a useful, productive and efficient interface is another matter. It should push the GNOME 3 developers to match or exceed it in features, and such a competition could be a good thing for the free-software desktop-environment world.

I'll probably look at Ubuntu again for the 12.04 cycle, which marks the next long-term-support release for the distribution. I hope Ubuntu takes a conservative approach to 12.04 and offers a polished-up 11.10 refresh instead of a groundbreaking, bug-riddled leap from it.