In a blog post, Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition will have a single menu bar for all the applications. He believes that this design change will make the most of the vertical space that a netbook screen has.
If you have used a Mac, you would probably know what a global menu is. In a global menu, the application menus like File, Edit, Settings etc. are part of the panel and all applications share this menu. Here is a screenshot of a Mac OS X Jaguar to better understand:
Screenshot taken from guidebookgallery.org
This is what Shuttleworth had to say about the reason for the decision:
Netbooks are conventionally small-and-wide-screen devices. A common screen format is 1024Ã—600. There’s plenty of horizontal space, but not a lot of vertical space. So we’ve been lead to explore options that really make the most of the vertical space.
On large screens, the windows and the menu can be very far apart if a global menu is used. This can result in decreased productivity. So, the global menu will be present only in the Netbook Edition and not in the Desktop Edition.
The idea of a global menu is, of course, inspired by Apple, but Shuttleworth plans to do much more than what Apple did. He plans to have the window title and menu along with the menu in the panel. The panel would display the content of the title bar but it will change to the menu when the user moves the cursor towards it. As the global menu is to be implemented using the d-bus menu, it will work not only with GNOME applications, but with KDE applications as well.
Right now these design changes seems very exciting and Shuttleworth hopes to make Ubuntu 10.10 the best OS for the netbook.