It’s here! With a multitude of user interface improvements and a few new default programs, Ubuntu 11.10 keeps the premiere Linux distro moving forward. Whether you’re a long time Ubuntu user or a Windows/Mac user interested in trying something new, Ubuntu 11.10 is worth downloading now.
Ubuntu comes twice a year. The latest version of Ubuntu is numbered 11.10 (as of October 2011) and codenamed Oneiric Ocelot (as in a dreaming South American wildcat). This release builds on the momentum built by Ubuntu 11.04 earlier this year. Some may dislike it simply because they dislike Unity, the desktop interface used since 11.04. Even people who found 11.04 unusable however, may find 11.10 a pleasure to use.
So what’s new? A few of the default programs, to start.
Ubuntu ousted the much-maligned Evolution email and calendar application in favor of Thunderbird. This means you don’t have to uninstall Evolution every time you set up Ubuntu, something I’ve been doing for about five years.
Deja Dup, the perfect Linux backup software, is now part of Ubuntu by default. This gives Ubuntu a world class backup program, on par with Time Machine for Mac and superior to the clunky default Windows backup system.
You’ll find DejaDup in the new settings menu; it’s very easy to setup.
Gwibber, Ubuntu’s microblogging tool for Twitter and Facebook, sucks less then before. By this I mean Gwibber lost some serious weight, and gained some stability. Whether or not you’ll use it is another question entirely, but the improvements are real.
A couple of great programs disappeared from the default setup – Synaptic, the advanced package manager, is no longer a default program. Video editor Pitivi vanished as well. Both programs can be quickly installed from the Ubuntu Software Center or, for command line ninjas, via apt-get.
Unity keeps evolving, much to the annoyance of some. If you’re like me though, you’ll enjoy the changes.
The menu button moved from the top bar to the dock. Click the button and you’ll see a similar starting point as before, but the application menu is a huge improvement:
As you can see, it’s possible to browse applications in a menu-like structure.
The “lenses” that previously took up space on the dock moved to the bottom of the main menu. Click them and you can browse just as before.
Another big improvement is the settings window:
This single interface controls all settings, meaning you no longer need to jump from program to program in order to find the setting you’re looking for. You can find a link to this window in the new top-right panel menu:
The Ubuntu Software Center continues to evolve; it looks and runs better than before:
You will, no doubt, find many other changes over Ubuntu 11.04 in 11.10; too many to count. Read Ubuntu’s release notes for more information.
Don’t have a 3D graphics card? You won’t miss out on Unity. A new, 2D version of Unity works on pretty much any computer on earth, and will open by default on systems that can’t run Unity.
Of course, this means that Gnome classic isn’t available by default. Don’t worry, you can install Gnome classic easily, at least for now.
Get Ubuntu 11.10
Ready to start? Head over to Ubuntu.com to start downloading. You will find easy instructions regardless of your setup.
What do you think of the new Ubuntu? Please leave your comments below, even if they just consist of Unity hatred. We love hearing from all of you.