The fifteenth version of the Ubuntu OS family known as Ubuntu 11.10 or Oneiric Ocelot has arrived. The first beta version of Ubuntu 11.10 was recently released with the stable version coming out in near future. Ubuntu has come a long way since version 11.04. In this post we will explore the new features and changes which have come with Ubuntu 11.10. For starters, we like to mention that Oneiric is much faster than its predecessor and some of the Unity hangs seem to have been resolved. Having said that, some hiccups still need to be sorted out as some legacy hardware users may experience compatibility issues with the new GUI interface. Check out new features and changes after the jump.
Unfortunately, the classic menu has been scrapped and now users can login with either the Unity 2D or 3D desktop. You can also get Gnome 3 from Ubuntu repositories as an additional desktop environment. With the cog icon on login screen, select Unity 2D or Unity 3D as your desktop environment. To install Gnome 3, you can simply use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
Note: It’s recommended to create system backup before installing Gnome 3 due to its history of issues with Ubuntu.
Ubuntu Software Center
The Ubuntu 11.10 Software Center comes with a new look. It has been ported to GTK 3 and therefore, has a revitalized interface with a stylish new icon. Numerous software center categories have been placed horizontally on the top of the main window along with a cleaner and easier to sort Nautilus based interface.
Nautilus 3 File Manager
Speaking of Nautilus, Ubuntu 11.10 comes with a simplified Nautilus file manager. Oneric uses Nautilus 3 and provides a tabbed interface with the option to use multiple tabs for opening multiple directories within the same window.
The Ubuntu Ambiance and Radiance themes have also been ported to GTK3, along with changes made to the Appearance settings to provide a more simplified method of switching between themes. Now you can change the themes using a drop down box at the bottom of the wallpaper dialog and select wallpapers, colors and gradients from Backgrounds drop down menu.
Window Button Behavior
The Window buttons behavior in Ubuntu 11.10 has slightly changed. The menu buttons for maximized windows are only revealed by mouse hover and are hidden by default. This keeps the Gnome Panel tidy and only displays the buttons when required.
New Dash Button
Perhaps one of the most major changes made to user interface and navigation settings have come for the Unity Launcher. For instance, the Dash button has been moved downwards to look more integrated with the Unity Launcher, with a stylish new icon.
The Unity Dash now comes with its own Window Controls which has made it easier to sort applications, files and folders. This is much better than previous Unity Dash, which had a bit difficult to use Unity Dash due to no clear classification of items.
The Oneric filter buttons now provide the utility of performing a more refined search within separate categories for File, Music and Applications. In other words you can use the File, Music and Application lens with a more advanced filter which allows to perform search according to ratings of applications and other items.
The Ubuntu power menu now comes with essential options, including monitor, Bluetooth devices, start up applications, printers, USB devices, and system updates.
Unified Messaging Menu
Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot has a unified messaging menu which can be used to set your status or post a new update via Gwibber. As we all know, Gwibber supports management of many different social networks and micro blogging accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. It becomes quite convenient to have a messaging menu which provides more robust Ubuntu Messaging Menu options for management of such accounts.
The Ubuntu Alt+Tab preview now has a more Mac OS X like look.
There have been a number of new default application changes and upgrades which have taken place in Ubuntu 11.10. Some of the major applications changes and upgrades include the following.
Mozilla Thunderbird Replaces Evolution
Mozilla Thunderbird 7 comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 11.10 and has replaced the age old Evolution mail client. Thunderbird 7 has come with several fixes to the user interface, improvements to attachment handling, a new feature to print a summary of selected email conversations and more.
Firefox 7 Comes to Ubuntu 11.10
Firefox 7 is the default browser for Ubuntu 11.10. This seems to be in line with the recent fast track Mozilla upgrade, as it appears that Ubuntu developers wish to perhaps include Firefox 9 by the time their next major release takes places. Since Firefox is upgrading its versions every few weeks (at least until the next 2-3 versions), for this reason having Firefox 7 pre-installed with Ubuntu 11.10 makes sense. Firefox 7 has come with more under the hood changes than extra features. Some of the improvements of Firefox 7 include, lower memory usage, significant speed improvements, bug fixes and the like.
Deja Dup Backup
Deja Dup Backup has been included with Ubuntu 11.10. If you would like to find out how to use this great backup tool, check out our guide here.
Libre Office 3.4
Ubuntu 11.10 contains the new and improved upgrade of Libre Office i.e. version 3.4. Libre Office 3.4 comes with Redesigned Move/Copy Sheet dialog, Color Charts, bug fixes, etc.
Ubuntu 11.10 seems to be a much improved and aesthetically pleasing operating system than version 11.04. The beta version currently does have a few bugs and needs some work regarding the new Unity 3D environment. Gnome 3 still seems to be suffering from a few issues and the maximized window in Libre Office can end up hiding the window buttons. You can download the beta 1 version of Ubuntu 11.10 from the download link given below.
Note: Since this is the beta version, users may face some functionality issues and bugs.