Ubuntu 11.10 in-depth review
Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot is the link between Ubuntu 11.104 Natty Narwhal and the next LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin.
Natty represents the first Unity implementation with natural first time release-related bugs, bugs fixed in Oneiric Ocelot, that is here to provide a stable platform with extra features and new design parts.
What is new in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot?
- the Dash has been largely redesigned, rethinked with a strong community feedback in mind (there were, along with various blogs, forums, social media feedback, serious test performed against regular "from the street" users, Windows and Mac-aware, too)
- Places have been replaced by lenses that use scopes to expose data (text files, clips, images, etc) through various filters (size, genre, last 7 days, etc)
- Lenses are now displayed on the Dash's bottom bar, they migrated from the launcher
- Active blur and static blur are available for the Dash, which gained a chameleonic behavior (its color is chosen according to your wallpaper's color) with extra readability enhancements (although the Dash choose its color from your wallpaper it is slightly darkened to preserve and enhance readability)
- the icons are bigger and easier to be clearly observed
- the scrollbar has been completely changed, Oneiric features a thinner rounded with-ish with glow scrollbar Unity-2D-like, that gives an impression of speed and fanciness
- filters are beautifully designed, exposed as rounded transparent rectangles, giving a modern gorgeous look to Unity
- probably led by a feeling of consistency, the developers integrated the Dash into the desktop by blending its contour with the top panel and the launcher
- when a Natty Narwhal user looks at the Oneiric's Unity panel, obviously he will observe the changed order of indicators and their new functionalities
- the Session Menu (Device Menu) allows one to quickly access the System Settings, Update Manager or to perform common task such as adjusting the screen, log out, etc
- the user's full name can be seen on the panel (is part of the indicator-session) and acts like a handy switch between the user
- the "old" Me Menu has been integrated into the Messaging Menu and, together, they form an enhanced Messaging Menu, useful for mail, broadcast, Ubuntu One along with a handy "Clear" entry (resets the "attention")
- when the Dash is active the panel becomes transparent, displaying the indicators' icons with a white-ish glow and transforming the close/minimize/maximize in transparent counter-only buttons
- when in fullscreen mode, the panel "starts" with the title, the close/minimize/maximize buttons are hidden by default and only shown with a nice fade animation when you hover over with the cursor
- after the login, the Unity panel is not empty anymore, its default state is "Desktop"
- one of the most notable changes in the launcher is the Ubuntu logo placement on it that serve as a Dash ON/OFF
- the launcher gained the same chameleonic behavior as the Dash
- when the Dash is active, hovering over the launcher saturates/desaturates the launcher
Along with the numerous improvements, speed enhancements and stability in the Dash, Ubuntu 11.10 comes with vastly improved applications.
Ubuntu Software Center 5 is a radical iteration of Ubuntu's way of handling and installing apps, its look feel mature, polished and modernistic.
- the toolbar suffered an increase in size and big "gathered" monochrome icons "led" by two selected icon theme-aware navigation icons
- one can easily choose from the huge number of applications via the polished rounded shiny panels, usable for a full-fledged install tracking (sanely organized history, etc)
- Oneiric runs on the fresh GNOME 3.2 (released September 28th) and use its up-to-date goodies, like the new System Settings, GTK+ 3.2 with its CSS nature, the new colord-based "Color" calibration tool, GNOME Online Accounts and much more
- Ubuntu 11.10 ditched GDM and successfully adopted its lighter more tweakable brother, LightDM, that turned to be a goldmine in terms of adjustments and customization
- LightDm features Unity greeter (when you login you are welcomed by a greeter) that completely follows Unity brand-line with its own transparent "microdash", transparent top panel, beautifully designed asterisks, all of this packed with accessibility support (virtual keyboard) and a decent set of limited in use indicators
- Gwibber 3.2 represents a truly polished social client with a completely new fancy interface and tons of new additions and enhancements
The Light themes
- Ambiance and Radiance follow the same light/dark Natty line with some minor but relevant changes (the toolbar is almost the same color as the titlebar, titlebar that features a "bold" glass-like gradient)
- the light themes have been ported on GTK+3 and run now on the new Unico GTK+3 engine
Ubuntu Font family
- when Oneiric cycle was almost complete, the design team landed a long-awaited update: Ubuntu Monospace font is used as default and looks great
Ubuntu Mono icon theme
- although the new icon theme hasn't arrived in Ubuntu yet, several icons have been redesigned/changed: desktop, indicator session, user, Ubuntu Software Center
Ayatana Overlay Scrollbars
- the thumb is rectangular now as opposed to Natty's rounded corners and comes with a grey expansion and smooth scrolling and the thumb is clicked
New default applications
- Thunderbird is the new default email client (new monochrome theme)
- Deja Dup is the new default backup tool
Updated applications: Firefox 7, Thunderbird 7, Deja Dup 20, Ubuntu Software Center 5, Nautilus 3.2, Gedit 3.2, Totem 3.0.1, Banshee 2.2, Compiz 0.9.6, Gwibber 3.2, LibreOffice 3.4.3, Transmission 2.33, Shotwell 0.11, Linux kernel 3, etc.
- Unity Askubuntu lens 0.2 released with categorized questions (Ubuntu 11.10)
- How to enable all the apps in the Startup Applications in Ubuntu 11.10
- Unityfox brings Unity integration for Firefox in Ubuntu 11.10
- System76 machines shipped with Ubuntu 11.10
- Unity Askubuntu lens 0.2 released with support for Oneiric Ocelot