May 08, 2011

My experience with Ubuntu Natty so far

In two words: Pretty good!

Continuing the series on customizing and reviewing Ubuntu releases (Lucid here, Maverick here), below are my random thoughts on the latest release.

  • All the vertical space saved by default! The various hacks you needed to pull (mentioned in previous articles) to get more vertical space on netbook are no longer needed. And the dedicated effort towards it shows.
  • Menu bar, Titlebar, and panel have been combined to one. The menubar/title bar changes on hovering in the panel.
  • Try to treat this setup as normal gnome desktop, with docky on the left side, and you'll feel right at home. Because that is exactly what Unity is. Having used it for a week or so, I dont see what the big brouhaha was about the move from Gnome 2 classic desktop to Unity. It is not a revolution, just simple evolution. And it looks good.
  • This release continues the Canonical/Mark Shuttleworth push to focus on polish. The font is looking more integrated than ever.
  • You do need to set a g-conf value to have classical taskbar status icons. You'll almost always require this if you want to use anything from gnote to audacious to others that have not yet implemented app-indicator support. The command you need to run in terminal is:
  • gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"
  • Chrome seems noticeably faster than firefox on my netbook. Of course, the 15 different addons I have installed might have something to do with that.
  • Reduce the font size by 2 points to get more on the screen. The values in my Appearance Preferences > Fonts read 8.5, 8.5, 8.5, 9, 8.5
  • Start following OMG!Ubuntu. It's the best Ubuntu blog around now. By some margin.

There are tiny bugs in Unity, but none that come in the way of a power user working on the setup. I recommend an upgrade to this release for all, specially on your non-tech uncle's PC.