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Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 1 screenshot

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 1 has just been released and... you know what that means. Yes, as usual, we'll do a recap of all the changes since alpha 3.

Let's start with a short Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 1 video:

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Revamped Dash

Dash got a complete new look in Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1: firstly, Unity Places (both Files and Applications) - now called "lens", are no longer displayed as separate launchers and are now integrated into Dash. Further more, there's a new Unity music lens installed by default and they all (places / files / music) got some cool new filters.

Also, the Dash button has been moved from the top panel to the Unity launcher.

And finally, Dash got its own buttons (where the button to open Dash used to be) which you can use to close, maximize or restore it.

Here are a few screenshots:

Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot screenshots
(Applications Lens)

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot screenshot
(Files Lens)

Ubuntu 11.10 music lens screenshot
(Music Lens)

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot screenshot
(Dash inherits the wallpaper color)

Hidden window controls for maximized windows

Ubuntu 11.10 - no window buttons
(Maximized window - no window buttons)

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot - window buttons
(Maximized window buttons revealed on mouse-over)

Window controls have been hidden by default for maximized windows and are revealed on mouse-over, just like the menu. This is yet another controversial change in Ubuntu, since it doesn't seem to fix anything - for instance, you don't get more screen space like it is with the menu. But maybe this is just the first step of some other changes that may come in Ubuntu 12.04. We'll see.

Alt-Tab switcher with minimized window previews

This is one of the changes I for one like the most in the latest Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1: the ALT-TAB switcher can now display previews, even for minimized windows - here's a screenshot:

Ubuntu 11.10 alt-tab switcher window previews

Other Unity changes

Other smaller, but still interesting Unity changes include:

- the shutdown icon now includes a smaller "settings" icon to indicate that you can also configure the computer besides shutting down:

Ubuntu 11.10 indicators

- the new Messaging Menu got a "clear" option:

Ubuntu 11.10 oneiric ocelot messaging menu

- I'm not sure if this is a bug or not, but the modal dialogs have disappeared from Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1

Default theme

Ubuntu Light themes - Ambiance and Radiance -, got a few updates and have a new toolbar, among other changes:

Ubuntu 11.10 - ambiance theme

Ubuntu 11.10 - radiance screenshot

Also, you can now change the GTK theme from the Appearance dialog, however, this will only change the GTK theme while the window titlebar will remain the same:

Ubuntu 11.10 appearance

Unfortunately, there is still no GUI way to change the icon theme (by default) so it seems GNOME Tweak Tool will be a must for all those who want to customize their desktop appearance.

Unity Greeter - a LightDM theme especially designed for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot - is now the default login screen theme:

LightDM ubuntu 11.10 oneiric screenshot

Default applications

Ubuntu Software Center has finally been ported to GTK 3, getting a revamped interface in the process, as well as a new icon:

Ubuntu Software Center GTK3 screenshot

Ubuntu Software Center icon

And speaking of Ubuntu Software Center, it feels a lot faster than in Ubuntu 11.04, but it's still not there yet, at least in my opinion. And it still lacks a few features that were available in Synaptic (Synaptic is no longer installed by default in Ubuntu 11.10) like upgrading packages or installing a certain package version - features that are important for many users.

Thunderbird Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot screenshot

Even though Thunderbird has been available in Ubuntu 11.10 for quite some time, it was still uncertain if it will stay as the default email application. But it was finally confirmed as default a few weeks ago:

[...] the thing is, those first alphas were just to get a sense of how Thunderbird would work as the default client, and to gather feedback. At a moments notice, Canonical could have backed it out and switched it back to Evolution.

But they’ve given their thumbs up, and they’re fully on board.

- via mikeconley.ca

The default application selection in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 1 includes: Firefox 7.0 beta 3, Thunderbird 7.0 beta 1, Nautilus 3.1.4, LibreOffice 3.4.2, Gedit 3.1.4, Totem 3.0.1, Banshee 2.1.3, Empathy, Shotwell 0.11, Gwibber 3.1.6, Transmission 2.33 and Deja Dup 19.90 - all on top of GNOME 3.1.5. Also, Oneiric beta 1 uses Linux Kernel 3.0.0-9.15 (based on the v3.0.3 upstream stable kernel) and Xorg server 1.10.3 rc2.

Reminder: as you probably know, Ubuntu 11.10 comes with Unity by default and Unity 2D as the fall-back mode.  However, if you want you can easily run GNOME Shell or the old Gnome Panels (but using GNOME 3) - they are easily installable from the repositories via Ubuntu Software Center. GNOME Shell available in the repositories has reached version 3.1.4.

Multiarch support

Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1 comes with multiarch support:

For all amd64 installs and upgrades, select 32-bit software, including skype and flash, will be installable directly using the same 32-bit packages that are used on i386 installations, without the need to install the ia32-libs compatibility package.

[...] As a result of this change, work has begun to deprecate the ia32-libs package, which no longer ships all the libraries that it did previously. Most 32-bit software will either be automatically transitioned to i386 packages on upgrade or will continue to work with the ia32-libs package in oneiric.

More about this on the Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1 Technical Overview page.

Unity 2D

Unity 2D got some updates as well and it tries to look as close as possible to the Compiz-based Unity, however there is still work to do. Dash now incorporates applications, files and music lenses just like Unity 3D, but it lacks the buttons and transparency that were recently added to Unity 3D:

Unity 2D ubuntu 11.10 oneiric ocelot screenshot

Ubuntu 11.10 oneiric ocelot screenshot
(Applications Lens)

Up next:

September 22nd - Beta 2
October 6th - RC
October 13th - final Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Download Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 1

While Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot has come a long way, there are still bugs and crashes (you can even see some in the video at the beginning of the post) so do not install it on a production machine.

If you've already installed Ubuntu 11.10 a while back and kept installing the normal upgrades, you already have the latest beta 1!

Download Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 1 | alternate download link