Talking tech since 2003

If you’re a Linux user like myself – or even a potential Linux user – chances are you’re eagerly awaiting the release of Ubuntu 10.10 (codenamed “Maverick Meerkat”). Being the latest in the Ubuntu legacy, 10.10 will follow the release of Ubuntu 10.04, which I reviewed a while back. Today I decided to give the beta version of Ubuntu 10.10 a test-drive using a virtual machine, and I have to say, I’m not all that impressed.

Upon first booting the virtual machine, I was brought to a login screen that looked very similar to that seen in Ubuntu 10.04. The one thing that struck me about the login screen was the fact that the buttons appeared to be of a different style, hinting at the implementation of a new theme throughout the system.

Once I had logged in, I was brought to the desktop. Because 10.10 is still not using Gnome 3, the desktop was very familiar. While some may argue that Gnome 3 and a more innovative layout should be implemented, I for one an relieved that Ubuntu 10.10 will have the same general interface as previous versions.

As expected, the new theme (entitled “Ambiance”), brought a few new icons to the operating system. And while some of these icons are definitely refreshing, they are nothing to write home about either.

The next thing I decided to do was poke around Nautilus, the file manager for Ubuntu. While Nautilus looked pretty much exactly as it does it 10.04, it was the place where I noticed the an improvement. Having said this, the first real change that I found in Ubuntu 10.10 is the fact that Ubuntu One appears to be installed by default, awaiting only the configuration before it is ready to begin synchronizing files.

Further, the Ubuntu One file synchronization service appears to be more deeply implemented in 10.10 than it was after being installed on 10.04. I say this because many of the folders in the “home” folder offer the user to enable synchronization for that folder. This ultimately makes the process of using Ubuntu One far less confusing, and will likely encourage more people to take advantage of it.

As I do with any new Ubuntu install, I decided to investigate the Software Center to see if anything was new. A couple of things caught my eye. First off, the Software Center includes two new sections; featured software packages and new software packages. For a new user, this could make the migration process more simplified, as it could potentially reduce the time one needs to find software packages necessary for their day-to-day lives. Additionally, the Software Center now has a “History” tab which allows one to view a log of the software packages that they installed or removed. This could be greatly beneficial to someone debugging an issue caused by the installation (or removal) of a package.

All in all, there are definitely some changes in the beta version of Ubuntu 10.10, but for some reason I’m not as impressed with it as I thought I would be. However, I think that Ubuntu is heading in the right direction by polishing up the interface before jumping into large changes.  Additionally, it is my understanding that the GUI-based installer has been significantly improved in Ubuntu 10.10, however I have yet to experience this myself because I use the “alternate” text-based installer.

Have you tried Ubuntu 10.10? Are you planning on doing so? Let us know in the comments or in chat!

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