Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot was released couple of hours ago and quite a few people would have already downloaded and installed or upgraded it. If you’re one of those wondering – “How does it look?” – here’s a brief screenshot tour.
Ubuntu greets you with a nice welcome/login screen. Your account is selected by default, but there’s an option for Guest login, as well as login as any user option.
You can set it to login automatically, if you wish. Accessibility option is provided for, via an onscreen keyboard, a high-contrast screen setting as well as a screen reader. The accessibility option is tucked away a little bit further away. A more prominent setting would have been much appreciated, though.
Once you login, you’re greeted with Ubuntu’s default user interface, Unity.
One of the complaints about Unity was that users didn’t know what to click on, besides the quick launcher icons – so Canonical has added a nice Ubuntu icon to ensure the launcher, Dash, gets more visibility. Clicking on Dash brings about a nice UI for actions which are most commonly used on a computer – Browser the Web, Listen to Music or View Photos.
The search bar is probably one that’s going to be used quite frequently, and is very well done. Not only the search results are very fast – it’s grouped according to the types of results. So typing a keyword will bring up the results grouped into apps, folders, files and so on. For example, clicking on More apps will bring up a list of all apps – both installed and that can be downloaded – again grouped into different types.
The categorization is not restricted to just apps – if you’re fanatical about, let’s say your music being well organized and tagged, Dash’s lenses feature will ensure that the music you want is available just by searching and then filtered as per the tags – for instance – by genre, release year and so on.
Clicking on View Photos brings up the photo viewer and manager, Shotwell. You’ll be prompted to import your photos and if required, categorize them into events.
Moving on, clicking on Listen to Music launches the music player, Banshee. Banshee can import your existing music collection – whether from a folder, a series of folders or even from iTunes.
Your music is always a click away – clicking on your user name brings a dropdown menu where you can select to play your music.
Due to legal restrictions, Ubuntu cannot play certain types of media (such as MP3 files) out of the box. Earlier, trying to get the codecs installed often resulted in a lot of frustration for the user. This has improved quite dramatically over the past few years and Oneiric Ocelot is no exception. If you try to play a media file which cannot be played, Banshee will prompt to check for available codecs & then proceed to install them.
As I had mentioned in my earlier post on Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot beta, Ubuntu Software Center has been updated to include a top rated apps and featured apps view. This makes app discovery a lot easier.
Both free and paid apps are listed – with all the details about them.
The Unity Launcher is where you can configure your mostly frequently applications to be pinned so that you can launch them right away. Adding or removing an application is another click away.
Some of the launcher actions are context-senstive too – for instance, right-clicking on the Word Processor ( LibreOffice’s Writer is the default, in case you’re wondering) provides an option to create a new document. Right-clicking on the Screenshot application allows you to take a full-screen or partial window screenshot and this is just a (right) click away!
Wrapping up the tour, Workspaces( aka virtual desktops) are also available by default on the Launcher, and allows you to move all related apps to a workspace – I’ve used this feature since my early Linux days, and is a immense productivity booster.
I’ve been playing with Ubuntu 11.10 for a few hours now since launch ( and the beta as well) – and I’ve found it to be really nice, with no major bugs – except for small niggles.
If you’re itching to try out Ubuntu – you can always download the ISO and boot it off the DVD/CD drive. Also, Wubi allows you to try it out along with your Windows install with no partitioning required. There’s also a really nice web-based tour that you can try out, if you don’t want to bother with the download. Do drop in your comments about the new release!