Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

If you read WebUpd8 constantly, you're already up to date with everything regarding the Ubuntu 10.10 (both Desktop and Netbook Edition) development so consider this just a recap.

There are no changes to the Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat artwork: no new Light Themes version, wallpaper, no new icons or anything like that - those usually come very late in the development cycle. But there are still some changes since Alpha 1 in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 worth mentioning. Read on!

So what's new in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 2?

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 2 comes with 2.6.35-6.7 Kernel based on 2.6.35-rc3, GNOME 2.31 (and Kubuntu with KDE 4.5 RC 1) and of course, the most recent versions for all the applications, imported from Debian.

Ubuntu Software Center

One of the most important change in Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 2 is a revamped design for the Ubuntu Software Center. Here is how the main USC pane now looks:

ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshots

As you can see in the above screenshot, the "Featured" category is now at the bottom and the applications are scrolled automatically. There's also a "What's new" category - empty for now -, which will hold the new applications which will be added to the extras.ubuntu.com (a new repository we talked about last month).

The categories which include subcategories no longer have two panes:

ubuntu software center category ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshots

Ubuntu Software Center also got microblogging sharing for applications:

ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshots

The History tab which Ubuntu Software Center got in Maverick Alpha 1 now also displays upgrades, not just installed applications:

ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshots

And finally, Ubuntu Software Center also got Launchpad Login integration which was initially enabled by default and later on has been removed and can only be accessed by running "software-center --enable-lp":

ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshots

This feature does not work for now and is most probably for the applications review system as well as for the new software store which should arrive later in the Maverick development cycle.

The Sound Indicator

The sound indicator applet has finally started to take shape and it now looks like this:

ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshots

It's not finished, but it's getting closer to how it's supposed to look:

ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat sound indicator mockup

Aptitude removed from Desktop

aptitude removed ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat

Aptitude has been removed from Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat (Desktop only!) but you can install it via the official repositories. There's been a great debate over this and it seems the main reason is the space Aptitude requires (it comes with a lot of dependencies) and also that it serves the same purpose as apt-get.

BTRFS testing

No screenshots here but this is definetly worth mentioning: BTRFS support has been added to the installer (using the alternate CD). In case you don't know, BTRFS is a new filesystem which supports compression, snapshots and subvolumes (so you can install multiple operating systems on the same partition) among others.

You can't boot from a BTRFS filesystem in Ubuntu 10.10 for now so you'll need to create a separate /boot partition, but this should be solved soon.

EXT4 is still the default filesystem in Ubuntu 10.10 so far and it will probably stay this way as BTRFS is still experimental.

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat won't run on processors below 686

As a bug on Launchpad points out, Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat won't run on processors below 686. But there's no need to panic! Basically all processors now are 686, even netbooks!


Unclutter has been added to the ubuntu-meta package which means it comes as a default application. It's a small application which makes the mouse disappear when using the keyboard and the mouse is inactive (I'm not sure but I think it's 5 seconds by default) and should be very useful when typing. This solves a 5 year old bug submitted by MPT.

However there are still a lot of issues with Unclutter such as when playing games, Unclutter causes the mouse to jump to the top left of the screen every second or two rendering menus unusable. But it's just Alpha 2 so it will probably be further tweaked to solve such issues.

That's all for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 2. But there are some interesting changes in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Maverick Meerkat!

What's new in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

All the development fun seems to have moved to the UNE which got some major changes.

Application Menu

application menu ubuntu 10.10 maverick meerkat screenshot

The Application Menu comes by default in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Alpha 2 - integrated into the panel (which won't support any kind of customization according to Mark Shuttleworth so you'll only be able to use the default applets - nothing will happen when you'll right click the Unity panel) but the default applications menu has not been removed since the Application Menu still has lots of bugs and is sometimes unusable.

Unity launcher / file browser

une unity launcher 10.10 maverick meerkat

Ubuntu Netbook Edition also got an update which brings a new launcher / file browser (I'm not really sure how to call the launcher since the Ubuntu folks insist on calling the new dock - which you see in the left of the screenshots - launcher, and refuse to say it's a dock) to Unity. The launcher is triggered by the Ubuntu logo in the top left corner which up until now was used for an Expose effect.

The Unity file browser uses Zeitgeist to group the files by the time they were last accessed and by file type:

unity une 10.10 filebrowser zeitgeist

As for the Windicators, there's no news for now but hopefully we'll be able to see them in action until Ubuntu 10.10 MM Alpha 3. Looking for GNOME Shell? It won't be default in Ubuntu 10.10 because it's practically impossible: it will be released on September 27 and then an important bug-fix release will be available on October 27 while Ubuntu 10.10 will be released on 10.10.10 so there's no time to get everything ready for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Up next:
  • Alpha 3: August 5
  • Beta: September 2
  • RC: 30 September
  • Ubuntu 10.10: October 10

Download Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 2