It wasn’t long ago that Ubuntu rocked the open source scene as a Debian variant that provided standard end users the ability to use Linux on their own terms. Rather than being forced to compile every piece of software from source, users could suddenly utilize Linux for various office applications, instant messaging, social networking, and all of this could be accomplished on a beautiful front end that was most similar to Mac OSX.
This weekend brought to us a new release, a release known as Ubuntu 10.10 or Maverick Meerkat. Ubuntu has always gone of the ‘ease of use’ route, and as a result 10.10 is improving the desktop environment even further, highly optimizing it for both desktops and netbooks. Something important to note is that IBM released at $190 netbook near the time that Ubuntu Netbook Edition was officially announced. This leads many to believe that manufacturers are planning to release Linux optimized netbooks. This is not a new concept, but Ubuntu has done a great job of revolutionizing the Linux market over the past few years. That being said, it’s time to move on to the new features!
Media Player Support
The first thing to take note of is that the previous Release ‘Lucid Lynx’ focused more on the stabilization of an already great Linux Distribution. 10.10 focuses on the improvement of the Gnome Desktop Environment, making it much easier to use. One massive improvement is the Rythmbox media player which can now be minimized to the taskbar. Unlike other media players of it’s type (even in Windows 7), the volume and the current track can be changed through a dropdown window on the taskbar. This means full control over your music without an open window.
The improvements to Rythmbox are great, but they pale in comparison to the Ubuntu Software Center. The software center is an extension of the Ubuntu Repositories in which you can download vital software, video games, and various pieces of productivity software. The Software Center has always utilized a Graphical User Interface, but as of 10.04, it has become more user friendly, taking on a more Windows Vista/7 Â like appearance.
In the effort to render Ubuntu netbook friendly, the Ubuntu Unity Desktop can be utilized regardless of your screen size. This desktop environment is intended for latops with much smaller screens, and it has received rave reviews from every critic out there.
Shotwell, the followup to F-Spot is capable of importing photos rather easily, and can actually provide an aesthetically pleasing presentation. When you launch Shotwell for the first time you will have the option of importing all of your photos, and while this may take some time, it is certainly worth it.
As ususal you do have the option to run Linux on Windows if you so desire, which is to say that Linux would occupy the same space as the Windows OS. Though many do not relish the idea of running a *nix OS within an NTFS partition, it is certainly an option for those who would rather try Linux out first without actually creating a partition.
Note that for those who currently have Lucid Lynx installed, 10.10 can be installed as a software update. This can be achieved with the terminal command: sudo update-manager -d. The update will be seamless, and once finished you will have access to all of the existing 10.10 features.
It’s pretty clear that Ubuntu 10.10 will be dominating the open source market, becoming the preferred choice for not only geeks, but basic home users, law enforcement agencies, schools, and even large business entities. It won’t topple the Microsoft Monopoly just yet, but with every release, the day draws near.
Where were you when Ubuntu 10.10 was released?