When Ubuntu 11.04 was announced, one of the announcements which sent shockwaves was the fact that Ubuntu would no longer have Gnome as the default Desktop Environment, instead settling for Unity. Last week, Canonical’s User Experience Lead Charline Poirier ran a user experience test of Unity.
The user test sample size was rather small ( spread over 11 people) and comprised mainly of Windows and Mac users. Each of the users were given a Lenovo ThinkPad T410i running Ubuntu Natty (11.04) with unity 3.8.2-0ubuntu1 and asked to perform several tasks. After analysing the results, here’s what they found:
- Everyone understood most of the launcher items, the indicator icons, used Firefox to check their mail, launched LibreOffice Writer to write a letter and found and opened an existing document.
- Only about half the participants could easily rearrange the items in the launcher, figured out how to change the background wallpaper and were about to find and launch a game that was not present in the launcher
- Few participants though that LibreOffice Calc is a calculator, the Me Menu icon as the close close button.
- Two people were asked to play MP3 songs on a USB key, but none of them were actually able to accomplish the task
- Nobody understood what Ubuntu One was. ( Ubuntu One is Canonical’s online data storage and file sync application)
During this test, the participants found some unexpected bugs:
- About half the participants crashed Ubunty within an hour of their testing, and on double clicking Applications/Files& Folders resulted in screen flicker with no other effects.
- None of the participants were able to understand the Intention of the Ubuntu button
The user feedback was quite positive – most found Unity very nice, clean, easy way to get their documents. Some of the participants did wish that some settings and a way to find out their hardware info placement could be a lot more prominent.
What’re your thoughts on Unity? Do you like it? Or will you go back to classic Gnome? Do drop in a comment and let us know!
The Ubuntu Developers Summit at Orlando, Florida is over and now we have the tentative list of the default applications that will ship with Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”. There are no major changes in the default applications – Firefox stays, Evolution is still preferred over Thunderbird etc. Of course the choice of Unity over GNOME Shell for the desktop is a big surprise but that is another thing.
A really surprising change is that the music player Rhythmbox will be replaced by Banshee. There is really nothing wrong with Rhythmbox – in fact it is much better than Banshee in my opinion. So, it is surprising that they have decided to ditch Rhythbox.
And Banshee has a little detail that will make a lot of people cringe – it is a mono application. In spite of Miguel de Icaza’s efforts, mono still remains one technology that a lot of people in the open-source community love to hate. With the inclusion of Banshee, Ubuntu has brought up the mono apps count to three – Tomboy Notes and gbrainy being the other two.
Before the official announcement, there are still some little details like CD space issues to be resolved. In any case, that should be resolved and the replacement of Rhythmbox by Banshee is almost certain.
The choice of Unity for the desktop did not please many people. With the inclusion of more mono apps that number should increase. Natty Narwhal should be an interesting release.
The Ubuntu Fridge website has announced the next Ubuntu Developer Summit, which will be held from 25th to 29th of October this year. The Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) marks a gathering of innovative and bright minds who collectively, aim to make Ubuntu better.
The Ubuntu Developer Summit, as explained by Ubuntu Fridge:
The Ubuntu Developer Summit one of the most important events in the Ubuntu calendar and at it we discuss, debate and design the next version of Ubuntu. We bring together the entire Canonical development team and sponsor a large number of community members across the wide range of areas in which people contribute to Ubuntu. This includes packaging, translations, documentation, testing, LoCo teams and more. UDS is an incredible experience, filled with smart and enthusiastic people, fast paced and exhausting, but incredibly gratifying to be part of the process that builds the next Ubuntu.
The developer summit is for anyone and everyone. If you are a developer, you should attend the summit to have an idea of the future developments and changes to focus your development work around that. Same goes for those who have a business based around Ubuntu. This summit is decisive for the future of Ubuntu and many of the changes and updates that are decided here decide the next course of actions.
If you are confident of your contribution to Ubuntu and want to attend the event but have some monetary problems, worry not. The event has provision for sponsoring a number of visitors as well. Apply for a sponsorship before the deadline of 8th of September.
The developer Summit this year; has a new website to promote the events. More details on this can be found at this page.
Mark Shuttleworth announced the codename of Ubuntu 11.04 a couple of days back. It is “Natty Narwhal” in case you missed it.
Even Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” has not been released yet, but the release schedule of Natty Narwhal is already out. According to it, Ubuntu 11.04 is scheduled for release on 28th April 2011.
This time around there is a bit of a change in the pre-final releases. With Ubuntu 11.04, there will be five alpha releases instead of the three during the Maverick development cycle. The number of beta and RC remains same at one each.
Anyway, here is the release schedule:
||4th Novembe 2010
||2nd December 2010
||6th January 2011
||3rd February 2011
||3rd March 2011
||31st March 2011
||21st April 2011
||28th April 2011
You can see the detailed schedule at the Ubuntu Wiki.