Give Ubuntu Unity a Try (Install it in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick)

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Unity is the official Ubuntu Netbook Edition’s new interface and is supposed to replace Gnome as the default environment for the forthcoming Ubuntu releases. Don’t worry, Gnome spin off would continue to be available for all Gnome lovers. So, if you want to give it a try to get ready for the next version of Ubuntu you can do easily, if you are a Ubuntu 10.10 user. Just install Ubuntu Netbook by doing this

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-netbook

Now logout and at the login screen choose Ubuntu Netbook edition for your session. You would be greeted by something like this

With Unity, Ubuntu seems to be borrowing the best from the OS world (Mac style dock combined with Windows 7 style program pinning capability along with aero peak+expose like effect) and giving it a whole new spin. Purists might frown upon this experiment for some reason or the other. But Ubuntu’s effort to reach to all the users out there can only be realized if it breaks free from the age old notions.  I am very impressed with the Unity and would strongly urge you to give it a try. I was also under the impression that Gnome was stuck to the same old stuff for ages, while KDE had been trying to evolve in its own unique way, but Gnome and Ubuntu clearly had different ideas about how the UI should be.

The highlight of the Unity is certainly the very useful and practical sidebar. The sidebar dock has a honeycomb-style backdrop and displays application icons in tiny squares. The dock shows the user’s actively running programs and favorite software. You can pin an item to the dock and turn it into a launcher by right-clicking and selecting the “Keep in Launcher” item from a context menu (similar to the Windows 7 “pin it to the taskbar” function). The launchers will stay even after you have closed the program, making it easy to launch again later. Also the running programs are marked by a small “>” marking its status. The sidebar has another cool feature, as soon as the icons start to get out of your screen real estate, it starts to fold and stack them on top of each other. Unity takes advantage of the fact that most computer screens these days are widescreen, by keeping the dock on the side which gives one maximum horizontal screen space.

Clicking the Ubuntu displays something like this

this is the main location for the installed programs. It also has a search box to give you access to the programs that are not visible right a way. This is something that was sorely missed in Gnome, I mean with third party menus like GnoMenu one could integrate some such functionality, but it wasn’t the best possible solution.

Unity also features multiple workspaces which is not something new for a Linux desktop manager, but its implementation might remind you again of Mac OS.

IMHO, Ubuntu Unity has the potential to become the darling of the Ubuntu users in the times to come. I would love to hear your opinion on it. If you are Netbook or a Ultra-portable Laptop user, then I would say it is tailor made for your needs, give it a chance.

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has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

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