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.

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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.

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

  • “Today I decided to give the beta version of Ubuntu 10.04 a test-drive ” Is this a typo? Which version are you reviewing? A desktop screenshot would be nice also.

  • I have used Maverick since alpha and now that it has gone beta, it is stable enough to replace Lucid. I switched over yesterday. Now I am looking forward to Natty. That is the way it goes, out with the old and in with the new. (I have two partitions for K/Ubuntu, one for experimental and one for everyday use.)
    The biggest change for me was the installer. Wow! It is great. Everything else was old hat because I have used it since alpha. This was my first time installing with the new installer. Now Mint users can’t claim that it has an advantage with restricted packages. You can select them at the start. (I am not a fan of this, but some people want it so let them.) I also like the fact that it starts downloading packages right away before you have added your personal info and that it will now install updates before rebooting. The best installer yet!
    I love KDE 4.5, BTW. KDE is now the desktop to catch up to. It is fast and stable with lots of toys, just the way I like it.

  • I love Ubuntu 10.04 but, I would like to see a more polished boot process something like Chameleon and more apps in the repos like Tweetdeck, Google Earth, Oracle database express, and IBM Webshere CE. Right now Ubuntu is the best OS out there keep up the good work guys.

  • A virtual machine of Ubunutu 10.10 does not do it justice. I run 10.04 and variants such as Mint and Pinguy OS. I’ve been testing 10.10 off and on for the past two months. When installed directly on hardware you see how much faster it is than 10.04. The GUI installer is better and faster. For me boot times were faster, processes are faster, and the overall feel is better.

    Install 10.10 directly on hardware, you might come away more impressed.

  • I’ve tried Ubuntu 10.10 netbook beta on my Samsung N140 netbook and have to say it’s pretty poor. The new Unity interface seems like a resource hog… everything is now so sluggish. It’s a low power netbook yes… but this is even slower than the windows 7 started that was factory installed.
    Wireless doesn’t work.. this was no suprise as it previously required loading some additional drivers.. but this doesn’t help either.

    On initial installation the machine would not shut down.. I have to do a hard reboot.. Overall not very impressed… will be going back to 10.04

  • Funny “Greg” has the exact opposite issue I have.
    Windows XP sucks and will not connect wirelessly even though the computer says it does, but the Ubuntu works great!
    Faster than XP and I can surf the internet as well!

  • OH, I also forgot. if my computer crashes, Ubuntu does not require me to connect to the web to “authenticate” like windows is expecting me to.
    And if they are not satisfied with the authentication, I guess they will expect me to pony up some cash to get it running?
    Well I guess in, what is it now telling me, I have another 22 days to “authenticate” before windows will shut down as it will not connect to the web!
    I now have a stubby flash drive dedicated to holding on to my Ubuntu operating system!
    If only the Autocad programs I need to use would work with Ubuntu.
    I would just toss the windows partition out the digital window!


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