As Ubuntu 11.10 reaches the end of its development cycle, it has come with a number of glossy and stylish new features. In this post I will walk you through the various changes, upgrades and improvements which have been included with the fifteenth Ubuntu version i.e Oneiric Ocelot. For those of you who may be wondering about the meaning of the code name of this operating system, here is a bit about it. Oneiric means “of or having to do with dreams”, whereas, Ocelot is the name of a “A nocturnal wildcat” which has a grayish or yellow coat with black spots. So Oneiric Ocelot essentially means a dreamy wildcat (so to speak).
Coming to the new features and improvements of Ubuntu 11.10, it is much faster than its predecessor and some Unity hangs seem to have been fixed. It comes with a brand new glossy login screen, improved power cog and messaging menu wih has made the system tray more useful, a revitalizedUbuntu Software Center, kernel upgrades,bug fixes and much more. Below is a detail of the new features, upgrades and improvements of Ubuntu 11.10.
New Login Screen
As many of us feared, the the classic menu has been scrapped and now users can login with either the Unity 2D or 3D desktop environment. Gnome 3 has also been made available from Ubuntu repositories as an additional desktop environment. You can switch sessions between these desktop environments by clicking on the cog icon from the login screen and selecting Unity 2D or Unity 3D. To install Gnome 3, you can simply use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
Note: It is advised to create system backup before installing Gnome 3 due to its recent history of issues with Ubuntu.
If you would like to get back the classic Gnome 2 menu check out my post: How To Install Gnome 3 And Classic Gnome 2 In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot
Ubuntu Software Center
New Ubuntu Software Center icon.
The Ubuntu Software Center now has new stylish look and a brand new icon. It has been ported to GTK 3 which has given it an improved interface. The software center categories have been placed on the top of the main window along with a cleaner Nautilus based interface.
Nautilus 3 File Manager
Ubuntu 11.10 comes with a cleaner looking Nautilus file manager. Oneiric Ocelot uses Nautilus 3 and provides a tabbed interface,
Appearance Settings Made Easy
The Ubuntu light themes including Ambiance and Radiance have been ported to GTK3. The Appearance menu is now more simplified and you can change the themes using a simple drop down menu at the bottom of the wallpaper preview. The Backgrounds drop down menu has been added on top with the option to select wallpapers, colors and gradients.
Changed Window Button Behavior
The Window buttons behavior in Ubuntu 11.10 works differently for maximized Windows than Natty. The menu buttons for maximized windows are only visible on mouse hover and are hidden by default. This keeps the Gnome Panel clean and users only get menu button display when required.
New Unity Launcher Dash Button
One of the most major changes which you are likely to notice in the new version of Ubuntu are the ones made to user interface and navigation settings of the Unity Launcher. For instance, the Dash button has been moved downwards and now appears separate from the Gnome panel. This makes it appear more integrated with the Unity Launcher, with a glossy new icon.
The new Unity Dash has its own Window Controls which allow easy sorting of applications, files and folders. This is much better than the Ubuntu 11.04 Dash, which had little or no clear classification of items.
Unity Lens Improvements
The Ubuntu filter buttons now allow performing a more refined search within separate categories for File, Music and Applications. Search can now be done according to ratings of applications and other items.
Improved Power Menu
The Ubuntu power menu now comes packed with more essential options, printers, USB devices, including monitor, Bluetooth devices, start up applications, and system updates.
Unified Messaging Menu
Ubuntu 11.10 has finally brought a unified messaging menu which can be used to set your status or post a new updates using Gwibber. For those who may be new to Gwibber, it is a social media client which comes pre-installed with Ubuntu.By using Gwibber users can manage many different social networks and micro blogging accounts such as Flickr, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It becomes quite convenient to have a messaging menu which provides more robust Ubuntu Messaging Menu options for management of such accounts.
New Alt+Tab Preview
The Ubuntu Alt+Tab preview has been given a more robust Mac OS X like stylish look.
Application Changes And Upgrades
There have been a number of new default applications which have been changed or upgraded in Ubuntu 11.10. Some of the major changes and upgrades are as follows.
Mozilla Thunderbird Replaces Evolution
Mozilla Thunderbird 7 comes installed with Ubuntu 11.10 and has replaced the Evolution mail client. The all new Mozilla Thunderbird 7 has come with many fixes to the user interface, improvements to attachment handling, a new feature to print a summary of specific email conversations and more.
Firefox 7 Inclusion
Firefox 7 is the default Ubuntu 11.10 browser. This seems to be a strategy by Canonical to keep the upcoming Ubuntu versions in line with Mozilla upgrades. As we all know that Mozilla will be upgrading their browser every 6 weeks at least for the next 2-3 versions. By the time the next Ubuntu version is released, it is likely that Mozilla will have completed its cycle upto Firefox 9 or 10. This may mean that Firefox 9 or 10 will be the default browser of the next Ubuntu version.
Deja Dup Backup, The Default Backup Application
Deja Dup Backup has been made as the default backup application for Ubuntu 11.10.
Libre Office 3.4
Ubuntu 11.10 contains the new and improved Libre Office 3.4 which comes with Redesigned Move/Copy Sheet dialog, Color Charts, bug fixes and much more.
Ubuntu 11.10 seems to have improved graphics and performance. However, there are still a few bugs which need to be resolved to make it more satisfying for its users than version 11.04 which was marred with Unity hiccups. Gnome 3 still seems to be suffering from issues and the maximized window in Libre Office even in the new version hides the window buttons. Lets hope that Canonical can get their act together and deliver a stable Ubuntu version which can get past the changes since version 11.04. You can also check out the below video to see Oneiric features in action. This video is courtesy OMG Ubuntu.
You can download Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot from the link given below.