NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” released

Ear­li­er today, Canon­i­cal Ltd. announced the avail­abil­i­ty of the lat­est release of the world’s most pop­u­lar GNU/Linux dis­tri­b­u­tion, code­named “Oneir­ic Ocelot”.

Ubun­tu 11.04 is the fif­teenth incar­na­tion of what start­ed out as an ambi­tious fork of Debian sev­en years ago. Canon­i­cal, the com­mer­cial spon­sor of Ubun­tu, has man­aged to push out a new ver­sion of the oper­at­ing sys­tem twice a year for near­ly three quar­ters of a decade now. Ubun­tu 11.10 super­sedes Ubun­tu 11.04 (Nat­ty Nar­whal) which was released back in April, on the same day as our Spring Fundrais­ing Gala.

There’s a lot to like in Oneir­ic Ocelot. Uni­ty, the desk­top envi­ron­ment intro­duced in Nat­ty, has received some seri­ous pol­ish, mak­ing it sig­nif­i­cant­ly eas­i­er to use. Uni­ty now has a grace­ful 2D fall­back mode, for com­put­ers with­out mod­ern graph­ics cards or 3D-capa­ble dri­vers. The menus have been some­what reor­ga­nized to be more intu­itive, and music search is now built in to the desktop.

Oneir­ic is also the first release of Ubun­tu to fea­ture Mozil­la Thun­der­bird as the default email client — a very wel­come change if you ask us. (Gnome Evo­lu­tion is still avail­able to users through the repositories).

Ubun­tu ships with Lin­ux 3.0 as its ker­nel and is built on top of GNOME 3.2. Major appli­ca­tions like Libre­Of­fice have also been updat­ed to the lat­est sta­ble ver­sion, with the notable exclu­sion of Mozil­la Fire­fox (which was already at Ver­sion 7 pri­or to the release of Oneir­ic; Fire­fox switched to a fast released cycle fol­low­ing the release of Nat­ty Narwhal).

“Ease of use, styl­ish­ness and key tasks such as safe web surf­ing, doc­u­ment shar­ing, office pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and per­son­al clouds for music, files and pho­tos are cen­tral to the Ubun­tu expe­ri­ence.” said Jane Sil­ber, CEO of Canon­i­cal, in a release high­light­ing the improve­ments in Oneir­ic. “That’s why Ubun­tu is now a glob­al phe­nom­e­non — not just for sys­tem admin­is­tra­tors, devel­op­ers and expert users, but for a grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty of home users that want a sim­pler, safer way to use the PC.”

Canon­i­cal has set up a real­ly nifty live tour of Ubun­tu on its web­site, where you can expe­ri­ence Ubun­tu from with­in your brows­er thanks to the mag­ic of JavaScript. If you’ve nev­er tried Ubun­tu, you might want to con­sid­er check­ing out the tour.

Of course, today is also release day for Ubun­tu’s deriv­a­tives, includ­ing Kubun­tu, which we use. Kubun­tu 11.04 ships with Ver­sion 4.7.1 of the KDE Soft­ware Com­pi­la­tion and includes a great many refine­ments. KPack­ageK­it, the old pack­age man­ag­er, has been replaced with the new Muon Soft­ware Cen­ter, and Dol­phin, the KDE equiv­a­lent of Win­dows Explor­er, has a clean­er default look.

The Kick­off menu (KDE’s equiv­a­lent of the Win­dows start but­ton) also incor­po­rates bread­crumb nav­i­ga­tion for eas­i­er brows­ing of applications.

I’ve already upgrad­ed one com­put­er from Kubun­tu 11.04 (Nat­ty) to Kubun­tu 11.10 (Oneir­ic) and it was just about the most pain­less upgrade I’ve ever run. KDE SC 4.7 is a sol­id, sta­ble desk­top envi­ron­ment that puts the user in the dri­ver’s seat. It is ful­ly cus­tomiz­able and easy to use.

As far as per­for­mance goes, I like what I’ve seen so far. Appli­ca­tions open faster and there is zero lag when mov­ing in between win­dows or workspaces.

It’s been very excit­ing over the last few years to watch Ubun­tu and Kubun­tu mature. GNU/Linux on the desk­top has nev­er been more appealing.

If you haven’t tried Ubun­tu (or Kubun­tu), con­sid­er down­load­ing Oneir­ic Ocelot 11.10 and going for a test dri­ve. You do not have to make any changes to your com­put­er to try Ubun­tu — it’s so pow­er­ful and flex­i­ble that it can be run from a CD or DVD, or a USB stick. (This is what’s known as a live installation).

If you even­tu­al­ly decide you want to install Ubun­tu to your hard dri­ve, you can do so with­out dis­plac­ing Win­dows, if you like.

Hap­py downloading!

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One Comment

  1. And now the devel­op­ment of Pre­cise Pan­golin begins…

    Uni­ty still needs some work. Oneir­ic is an improve­ment, but anoth­er release is need­ed before I call Uni­ty mature.

    # by Nelson Curtis :: October 20th, 2011 at 2:02 PM

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