The new Unity desktop is growing on me and the latest version of Ubuntu – 11.10, Oneiric Ocelot – is the slickest I have seen yet. One of my personal metrics? Although I have the computer set to dual boot between Ubuntu and Windows 7, I spend nearly 100% of my time in Ubuntu.
For long time Ubuntu users, there may be a couple of steps backwards and there are some things that used to be customizable that you can’t tweak any longer. However, there is a lot to like about it. I have been logging in to the previous versions – Maverick Meerkat (10.10) and Natty Narwhal (11.04) using the Classic interface. I decided I would stick with Unity this time and as I get accustomed to its strengths and weaknesses, I’m enjoying it more. It is strong in:
- easy to add new applications to it – open the application, then right click on the application’s icon on the left side pop out navigation bar and select keep in launcher;
- it is easy to do a system wide search which returns applications and files, which I am finding easier than hunting to determine which menu or folder a given item is in;
- finally, it has my relatively dated Brother printer’s drivers built-in, so that, for the first time in a long time, I can print to my 2070N networked printer from Ubuntu with plug and play drivers.
- The side navigation bar for Unity is quite sensitive and, since Ubuntu places the window controls (minimize, maximize, close) on the top left corner, I often pop out the bar when I just mean to close the window;
- Gwibber remains a mediocre Twitter client, but I replaced it with Qwit and am much happier;
- Plugging my Dell Mini 9 netbook into a 1440pixel wide LCD and extending my desktop required me to log out and back in under Ubuntu 2D mode, since 3D mode couldn’t support the sum of the widths of my two screens;
- There continue to be funky issues with permissions. For example, when installing the Firefox version 7, a handful of files had the wrong permissions and so I was getting bookmark errors until I drilled down to the sqlite file and chown’ed it to my user account.