Unity: A touch away

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With Ubuntu 11.04’s recent release of their second (and apparently last) beta, it reminds us that we are only a few weeks away from the release of the final version of Canonical’s 1 latest and greatest.

One of these latest, maybe not quite greatest, features of Ubuntu 11.04 is the controversial adoption of the Canonical-created Unity desktop interface as the main interface for future versions of Ubuntu. 2 Continue reading


  1. Canonical is Ubuntu’s main financial sponsor

  2. Starting with Ubuntu 11.04, Unity, which was intended to only replace the old Ubuntu Netbook Edition interface, will be the default desktop interface for Ubuntu

Test Drive: Try it before you install it

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Taking a Test Drive in Ubuntu

What do iTunes, car dealerships and video game consoles have all in common? If you answered test driving their products then you hit the nail on the head.

Although previews or test drives aren’t something new, especially when talking about software (demos have been around for ages), Canonical’s latest addition to their upcoming release of Ubuntu 11.04 is a new feature called Test Drive.

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WTF: What the Firefox!?

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The crux of the issue: tar.bz2 file type, only for Linux

Although as of late I’ve only dabbled with Linux casually and not as a sole user of Linux, I still try to read up on the latest trends and news relating to the world of open source.

One of my primary reads is Martin Owens’ blog, Doctor MO, where the writer, Martin, writes on various topics relating to open source and Linux, primarily about Ubuntu and economics.

His most recent post, which quite possibly has the most comments I have seen thus far in response to one of his posts, is about Mozilla Firefox 4’s release. Continue reading

Unity: Dividing and conquering Gnome 3.0

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Although I have been impressed with Gnome 3.0, after fiddling with Unity’s 2D implementation using Parallels for Mac, I’ve got to say it’s not easy to pick which one is the better amongst the two different takes on a similar user interface paradigm.

The one major benefit to Unity, as I mentioned before, is that it features both a 3D and 2D version so that computers, ranging from workstations with the latest AMD or Nvidia graphics card to the lowest Intel GMA-equipped netbook could use the interface.

This is good news for users who are running older hardware or are perhaps using a netbook which in general have lower end hardware specifications. I know in my experience with using Unity on my Asus eeePC netbook that although it ran sluggishly when using the 3D version however upon switching to Unity 2D it ran like a high speed performance car.

Unfortunately, in the case of Gnome 3.0 there is only a 3D-only version which poses a problem for users who want to experience the new interface but they don’t have a graphics card that is capable of rendering the 3D graphics that makes up this new Gnome interface.

There is a sort of 2D version of Gnome 3.0, however it is simply a fallback mode for cases where the hardware of the computer that is trying to run Gnome 3.0 does not meet the hardware requirements. This fallback mode uses the same colour scheme as Gnome 3.0 however the interface that is used resembles the classic, traditional desktop of Gnome 2.0.

This is one of the major stumbling blocks for Gnome 3.0, as it pretty much precludes laptop owners who might not have a good enough graphics card and are left unable to run Gnome 3.0 in any mode besides fallback mode which defeats the purpose of wanting to use Gnome 3.0.

It’s sad that The Gnome Foundation has decided to go about their new interface this way and leaving users who can’t handle Gnome 3.0 to simply use the Gnome 2.0-like fallback mode.

If anything, Canonical’s decision to offer Unity, which in many ways is mimicked by Gnome 3.0, in a 2D and 3D mode gives users more choice in being able to experience the sort of look and feel that The Gnome Foundation was hoping to have with Gnome 3.0.

Unity vs Gnome 3.0

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It’s interesting to see how Ubuntu, originally (and still) based on the Gnome Linux desktop, has evolved from its humble origins to offer a totally new experience in their upcoming release, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), with the new Unity UI.

For most Ubuntu users who keep their fingers on the pulse of the latest happenings of Ubuntu project sponsor, Canonical, the move to the new Unity interface, and abandonment on the upcoming release of the revitalized Gnome 3.0 interface, has been a controversial issue since it’s announcement last Spring.

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Ubuntu: From Humanity to Unity

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The all new interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition

The all new, Unity interface, only for Ubuntu!

It wasn’t long ago when I wrote up an article discussing my impressions of the various Operating Systems (OS) that were available for the line of ultra portable computers known as netbooks. I had mentioned my disappointment in the limited number of different desktop experiences available as I find myself using my netbook more and more over my Macbook.

Besides the choice between Linux or Windows there seemed to be a handful of user interfaces (UI) available. There were a few custom interfaces tailored for the small screens on netbooks and a full desktop experience. Amongst the custom interfaces the most popular has been the one produced by Canonical (the main financial sponsor for Ubuntu Linux) for their netbook edition of popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu. Continue reading