The countdown for Ubuntu 11.10 First Beta release begins

The First Beta of Ubuntu 11.10, is slated for September First and Ubuntu-world is going viral on the features that will be released with it. Newer features are to replace familiar and known features and while some of these are highly welcome to the user-community, some like the brand-new dash seem non-productive.

To add to all the stories doing the rounds, here is a preview of what to expect from First Beta Ubuntu 11.10. The working build is available and beware of things going dead, until the beta release.

Top 10 Features that Interest Us

Starting with the layer approach let’s start with the outside and delve deeper.

Aesthetic appealing Display Manager/Login Manager

If the login screen is an indication of what to expect, this appealing Login Manager, is visually classy and speaks volumes of the design and polish that has been going into Ubuntu 11.10.

Unity 4.10.2 uploaded

The old warhorse GNOME is being replaced by the game-changing desktop for Ubuntu, ’Unity’, which has a very Mac-type feel. Unity 4.10.2 is default on the beta Ubuntu 11.10 while window controls are hidden when windows are maximized. When hovering a mouse on the window button is displayed.

Amongst the continuing discussion on minimized buttons limiting user experience, there are users who appreciate Ubuntu’s early adaption to touch-screen functionality, considering the increasing shift towards using tiles rather than the age-old button-forms.

Dash goes translucent

Dash now has a new icon and color scheme. It has also acquired transparency (wash) and has been polished to ‘beyond perfection’. The design is great and clear overview is enabled because of this. Mark Shuttleworth says, this will enable preferred palette deployment. Additionally, Dash is now given window controls to open, close and maximize it.

Smart search in Dash

Scopes and Lenses’ replaces ‘Places’. Scopes allow category-wise data searches, using several filters, into captive or online database using standard interfaces. The lenses are presentation formats for all that data flowing in from scope searches.

Therefore, this means that searching through the entire desktop content is cut down to a few milliseconds on your desktop through Dash, scopes and lenses. This is especially useful in Software Centre. Mark Shuttleworth, ensures greater sophistication for the search system later while the framework is to make search a ‘visual and immediate’ so all user-levels find it friendly to use.

The integrated panel and dash allow holographic display and by contrasting the launcher icons. This will allow content to be displayed create a dramatic effect.

Unity panel

The panel has been overhauled to make it easy to access various settings such as Startup applications, setup the monitor, printers, USB devices, bluetooth devices, and System Updates by moving the Dash icon from the top of the panel to the launcher.

The top left corner is now used more for closing windows, apps and anything that is currently open and active. The logic being followed is that by maximising the window, the controls will continue in the top left corner in relation to the window. Mark proposes that the beta testing will help to further refine and enable successive windows to be closed from top left corner even in minimized position.

The user community is demanding global menu visibility at all times and needs to be seen where developers will support this.

The panel and the dash are integrated for greater holographic effect within the dash.

Themes changing made easy

GTK3 and the GNOME3 themes are as easy to change with the drop-down menu. The wallpaper dialog provides a wealth of themes to choose from and monotony is definitely not to be expected here. The new cleaner control cleaner, the gnome-shell is not the main and the new on-line accounts panel, will allow setting up of Google on-line accounts.

Brand-new ALT+Tab

Then there is the ALT+Tab switch functionality that will work across multiple desktops. This helps to get window preview of minimized windows. The down arrow with the switch will allow previews. However, the downside is that some applications will be blacklisted. For more on this, read Sam Spilsbury here.

The Compiz Configuration Settings Manger in the Unity plugin can be used to switch the keys to customized needs.

Deja Dup

A new backup up tool will replace janitor and will help in restoring a variety of files, like hidden ones from the home folder.

Mozilla Thunderbird 7.0

The default email client is Mozilla Thunderbird 7.0 replaces Evolution, which is entirely removed from the system.

Mozilla Firefox 7.0 as the default web browser

Oneiric Ocelot will come with the latest Mozilla Firefox 7.0 browser version and bringing greater capabilities.

As predicted the Improved version of the office suite LibreOffice 3.4will be shipped along with the beta version. Additionally, simplified and good-looking file manager – Nautilus 3 will provide the managing functionality.

Ubuntu Software Center!

The highlight of Ubuntu 11.04 along with Unity will be the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Ubuntu Software Centre 5 is a delightful mele of colors and tiles. It will now be the default Ubuntu 11.10. The centre will also include top-rated applications that are context- specific.

Ubuntu 11.10 Beta

The release of beta release on 1st Sept has a lot at stake for several features on Ubuntu. Unity, Ubuntu Software Centre, panel tweaks and Dash are going to watched keenly. The community is looking forward to more Apps for Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is fast adopting to new age devices and it is essential native features to these forms such as touch-sensitive and Apps are developed exponential allowing it greater presence in the so far proprietary software dominated App world.

Ubuntu 11.10 is the harbinger to the next generation of open source software, let us test and tweak the beta to ensure it makes its mark.