Unity 6.6 landed in Ubuntu 12.10 with visual enhancements, new default lenses (Gwibber, Shopping), Dash animation and numerous new features
Weeks ago, the developers introduced Unity Previews, handy manners of accessing extra informations about items exposed in the Dash, consequently, right-clicking on an item, opens a preview-dedicated Dash view, from where both extra details and control buttons are available.
Unity 6.6 has landed in Ubuntu 12.10 (via the regular updates), taking the Previews and Unity's overall look & feel definitely a solid step further.
What is new in Unity 6.6?
Unity Shopping lens has landed as a new default lens, yet bearing an "invisible" approach, meaning, the lens exposes its data only when the user searches from the Dash home view (by pressing the
Super button); consequently, typing a word in Dash home's search area, exposes a new category,
More suggestions, category that houses item purchasable from Amazon.
Right-clicking on a
More suggestions' item, triggers its preview mode allowing users to purchase the clicked item.
More suggestions comes with multiple per-lens functionalities, in the sense of containing purchase links specific to Amazon (or partners, such as 7digital) and purchase links for Ubuntu Software Center, latter functionality exposed in Unity Applications lens, furthermore, the user is able to select both paid and free items from
Unity Previews have been refreshed, removing the Dash state-aware size and being implemented featuring a fixed size (regardless of the Dash being "fullscreened" or unmaximized, the Previews have the same width and height).
Opening previews gained a fancy animation, subtle yet noticeable effect that successfully marks the transition from Dash's normal view to previews.
When the Previews have been implemented, closing a preview was achievable by pressing the
Escape key, the new 6.6 release introduces numerous ways of closing previews, such as: right-clicking on a preview's thumbnail, left-clicking on a preview's thumbnail, right-clicking outside of the preview (in areas like above the preview image, bellow the preview image on "blank" space), left-clicking outside of the preview image, as well as pressing the
Navigating through previews is to be performed by clicking the left/right navigation icons, as well as by pressing the keyboard's left/right keys.
Unity Previews lost their content container, meaning, the image used by the preview and various details are now directly rendered on the Dash, without the "old" visual containers (the darker rectangular surroundings), furthermore, the navigation icons gained a hover over state (when the mouse pointer is hovered over the left/right navigation icons, the icons are displayed as active, featuring a white-ish "vivid" color).
In Ubuntu 12.04, opening the Dash and hovering the mouse pointer over various items, highlights items with a white-ish similar-in-size-with-the-hovered-icon highlight box, the new Unity 6.6 introduces a more fancy big-sized highlight box, creating a more blending-into-the-Dash look & feel.
Unity 6.6 removes the flow view for icons (coverflow), exposing icons in a regular manner, change observable in the Applications lens where (under
More suggestions) the icons are rendered normally, furthermore gaining an increased size, rectangular shape and visual labels, latter addition generating an easy identification process related to the labeled item (the user is now able to observe if an app is free or payed, directly from the Dash).
Across the latest Ubuntu releases, users rooted into social media have had (option available at the moment) the handy ability to install Unity Gwibber lens (via Ubuntu Software Center), a useful lens exposing one's social accounts directly inside the Dash, featuring links, images, messages, etc.
Unity Gwibber lens has landed in Ubuntu 12.10 as a default lens, being enriched with a massive amount of functionalities and eyecandy elements, presenting the user a professional, reliable and pleasant-to-the-eye social experience rooted in the Ubuntu desktop.
A definitely exciting bit is Gwibber lens' preview mode (labeled as Social Preview), clicking on a (for example) tweet, opens the tweet in a dedicated preview mode, rendering the message inside a fancy message-specific bubble, "helped" by the account image.
Furthermore, the Social Preview adds specific buttons per previewed items, meaning, right-clicking on a tweet, allows the user to
Like (for different non-personal accounts),
Retweet the previewed tweet, right-clicking on a Facebook message, allows the user to
Filters, account can be enabled/disabled).
Purchasable albums gained a specific visual label, exposing both its type (music, expressed by the music icons) and its price, right-clicking on it, opens it in its preview from where the user can further purchase the album.
The new Unity introduces an overall icon size differentiate approach, in the sense of displaying usual icons in usual sizes and increasing the icon size for various items, latter approach adopted by Unity Photo lens'
Online Photos; the online images are now more visible with extra visual details and properly incorporated into Unity's new rectangular photo sizing approach.
Extra relevant details are an aspect considered (and implemented into) by Unity Video lens that, along with one's
My Videos (locally based) and
Online (online based), comes with
More suggestions, latter category that, when a contained item is previewed, fills the preview mode with clip description, Directors, Cast, long scrollable plot descriptions, etc, basically, allowing the user to watch (or not watch) a clip based on a wide range of relevant details.
Weeks ago, the developers published informations about the Spread, a refreshed manner of dealing with multiple opened windows, approach landed in the 6.6 version.
Basically, having multiple opened windows (like for instance, 4 Nautilus windows) and clicking the Unity launcher's Nautilus window, exposes the opened windows in the Spread, furthermore, adding the ability to close windows directly from the Spread.
The mentioned windows gain (in Spread) a close button (when the mouse pointer is hovered over them), closing a window, automatically repositions the left-in-Spread windows.
Ubuntu Software Center (when launched) displays, in its main view,
What's New and
Top Rated applications, apps now exposed (by default) under Unity Applications lens'
The mentioned change is definitely a handy addition, pushing important apps directly under the user's eyes. user kept up-to-date with the latest "tendencies" as related to apps.
In Ubuntu 12.04, installing an application from Ubuntu Software Center, pushes the app (when the
Install button is pressed) on the launcher with an interesting yet fast effect (barely perceivable); the new Unity refines the install-related animation by decreasing its speed (the effect is immediately perceived by the user as "flying" from the top Ubuntu logo to its launcher place), furthermore, the same effect is used when installing apps directly from the Dash (without Ubuntu Software Center being involved).
The fact that Ubuntu is user-centric is a known common fact; after being tested by users, minimizing apps to the launcher was described as too fast, consequently, the developers implemented in Unity 6.6 a slow minimizing animation of apps, minimizing's slowness maintained for the first 100 window minimizations (when the user will probably relate the minimizing action with apps' place, Unity launcher).
The Workspace Switcher's Unity launcher icon is now movable, meaning, by clicking & holding & moving, the user can reposition the mentioned icon on various Unity launcher places (such as, immediately bellow the Ubuntu logo, etc).
unity --reset is a command useful to reset Unity under Ubuntu 12.04, yet, starting with Unity 6.6, the mentioned command has been removed, yet keeping
unity reseticons as a still usable option.
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