Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 is finally available for download. There aren't too many visible changes since beta 1, but we'll try to review what's new anyway.

For previous changes in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, see: Ubuntu 11.10 beta 1 | Ubuntu 11.10 alpha 2 | Ubuntu 11.10 alpha 1

Changes in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 since beta 1:

  • Dash window controls now respect the Dash design. Also, the minimize Dash button has been disabled as it was confusing, so now you only use one button for maximize/restore.
  • The Unity launcher now inherits the wallpaper color too (when Dash is not active), just like Dash.
  • The workspace switcher uses orange borders, the spaces on the sides has been removed and empty workspaces are dimmed out
  • Various changes made to the Ubuntu Software Center, including a new "Our star apps" banner, support for Radiance theme and more minor tweaks
  • Unity launcher icons become saturated when hovering them (when you open Dash)
  • Accessibility support for the LightDM login screen

Here is a video with all these changes in Ubuntu 11.10 beta 2:

And screenshots:

Ubuntu 11.10 Software Center
Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot - workspaces
Workspace Switcher

Ubuntu 11.10 oneiric ocelot dash
Dash - transparent controls and bigger icons

LightDm login screen accessibility support
Accessibility support for LightDM login screen

There's also a really cool feature in Ubuntu Software Center that I didn't talk about before because it wasn't working - at least for me: "Sync between computers" which uses OneConf, a tool that was supposed to be included in USC for a long time.

For now, this feature (which you can access by going to File > Sync Between Computers) doesn't actually sync your applications between your computers, but it lists the applications installed on each computer as well as the apps available on one computer that aren't available on another one, so you can easily install the same apps on each computer you own.

Oh, and one more thing: the "Sync Between Computers" Ubuntu Software Center feature only works with applications available in the official Ubuntu repositories, so if you've used PPAs to install applications, they won't show up here.

Ubuntu 11.10 software center sync

Ubuntu 11.10 sync aps between computers

Default applications

Ubuntu 11.10 will ship with GNOME 3.2 and Unity (based on Compiz) as the default interface, with Unity 2D as the fallback mode.

As a recap, Ubuntu 11.10 will no longer include Synaptic Package Manager, PiTiVi, GDM (replaced with LightDM), Evolution (replaced with Thunderbird) and Computer Janitor by default. However, these applications are of course still installable via the repositories.

The latest Ubuntu 11.10 beta 2 comes with Firefox 7.0 beta 6, Nautilus 3.1.92, Banshee 2.1.4, LibreOffice 3.4.3, Thunderbird 7 beta 3, Shotwell 0.11.1, Deja Dup 19.92 (backup tool), Gwibber 3.1.90, Gedit 3.1.6, Empathy 3.1.92, Totem 3.0.1, Unity 3.16.0 (and Unity 2D 4.8.0) and Ubuntu Software Center, all on top of GNOME 3.1.92.

For those who want to use GNOME Shell instead of Unity, you'll be glad to know that Oneiric beta 2 provides GNOME Shell via the official repositories.

Also, Oneiric beta 2 uses 3.0.0-11.18 Linux kernel which is based on the 3.0.4 upstream kernel and Xorg server 1.10.4.

Should I install Oneiric?

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 feels quite stable and I haven't noticed any major issues while testing it. However, I've experienced some occasional crashes. But Ubuntu is still in beta so the crashes should be fixed by the time the final version is released.

There are also a few annoyances that you won't discover immediately like the built-in theme switcher not working as expected (you can only switch between the default themes) and others but all are minor stuff and overall, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 is very fast and polished.

And hey, you can choose between Unity with Compiz, Unity 2D, GNOME Shell or even the classic GNOME3 interface so everybody should be happy.

But anyway, remember: it's not recommended to install Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 on a production machine!


Download Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot beta 2 | alternate direct link to the ISOs

If you've installed a previous Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot version (beta 1, alpha, etc.) and kept upgrading using the Update Manager, you're already using beta 2.