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unity light ubunut
Ubuntu Light with Unity launcher

Update: for the latest Unity screenshots and video, check out the second half of our Ubuntu 10.10 desktop and netbook editions post

Mark Shuttleworth just announced a version of Ubuntu for the dual-boot called Unity and a range of Light versions of Ubuntu, both netbook and desktop, that are optimised for dual-boot scenarios. These "Light" Ubuntu versions are optimized for the web.

The Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Maverick will get a new panel on the left of the screen which will be used for launching and switching between applications. This panel can be expanded so it is touch-friendly.

The top panel won't be removed since it will be used for the Global Menu which we aleady talked about as well as the window title.

But like Mark said, the Unity interface will also be available for the Desktop, with a dual-boot for instant web access (known as Ubuntu Netbook Light and Ubuntu Desktop Light). However, Ubuntu Light for the Desktop will only be available for OEM's, and you won't be able to download Ubuntu Light from ubuntu.com:

Given the requirement to customise the Light versions for specific hardware, there won’t be a general-purpose downloadable image of Ubuntu Light on ubuntu.com.

Ubuntu Light seems like a great idea - some sort of Chrome OS but with native applications pre-installed. And it's built for dual-boot - this way you don't force people who want Windows to use Ubuntu, but also expose them to Ubuntu and who knows...



Unity already exists and can be installed from a PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:canonical-dx-team/une
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install unity

Then logout and then log back in selecting 'Ubuntu Unity Netbook Edition' from your login screen.

There are also a lot of branches to this project which you can get from HERE.

unity ubuntu 10.10

However, Unity for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 will evolve a lot and won't look like it is today. There is currently a mock-up available with an app called Dash which presents files and applications as an overlay. The inspiration for the Dash comes from consoles and devices, which use full-screen, media-rich presentation. We want the Dash to feel device-like, and use the capabilities of modern hardware:


When finished, Unity will be made of:

  • A launcher and application switcher
  • A panel where indicators behave uniformly.
  • A view of your installed applications, with Ubuntu Software Center integration.
  • A view of your files, with quick access to favorite folders, recent files, downloads, and simple browsing.
  • A search field, enabling pervasive use of find-as-you-type search so you can find applications, files, and settings with a few keystrokes. (This is not the search in the screenshot in the beginning of the post!)

Some of these are not yet available, but some are already available for testing in the PPA above.

Unity will use Mutter for window management, and Zeitgeist will be an anchor component of the file management approach. The interface itself is built in Clutter.

Unity already has its own page @ http://www.canonical.com/products/unity. The webpage says that Ubuntu Light boots to the web in seven seconds on a Dell Mini 10v.

Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS)

More news on Unity will probably come soon, as the Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat development has already started. Also, UDS is not over yet, so things we might get some new announcements.

Mark Shuttleworth also announced at Ubuntu Developer Summit today that "The Perfect 10" will have new icons, new fonts and many other desktop improvements. Also, he said that Ubuntu 10.10 is set to be released on October 10, 2010 (that's 10.10.10).

What do you think of Unity / Ubuntu Light?

Update: I've reviewed the Ubuntu Unity interface (with more screenshots and video), here: Taking Ubuntu Unity Interface For A Test Drive [Screenshots and Video]

Update 2: for the latest Unity screenshots and video, check out the second half of our Ubuntu 10.10 desktop and netbook editions post

[Info provided by Mark Shuttleworth, David Siegel; image credits: Mark Shuttleworth, Arstehnica - as I'm currently working on a Karmic computer; new screenshots tonight]