Friday, September 10, 2010

New Ubuntu Netbook Interface

Next step was to try the newly released 10.10 beta with a new look netbook edition. I updated the Ubuntu netbook installation. All went well, except that it would not boot with the 2.6.35 kernel used on 10.10 beta :(

Fortunately, the 2.6.32 kernel from the 10.04 version was still available and I could use that to boot and work.

The new look is indeed quite different. There is still an activity bar on top. In addition commonly used applications are available as icons in a vertical bar on the left.

Menus seems to be giving way or, at least, co-existing with search tools. A search tool is available for searching for files and applications for selecting a task to start.

There is also an applications icon in the vertical bar. It will display applications on a full screen. Grouping application in tabbed pages and a search option makes it is very nice to use.

The vertical bar of icons is quite flexible. When an application is started, the icon in the bar changes if it was already there. Otherwise the icon of the activated application is added to the bar. Both the vertical and horizontal bars are always visible. This is a trade-off between convenience of information about the system available at a glance and the desire to have as much space available for the application as possible.

Switching between applications is, thus, a single mouse click. However, it often took me time to find the icon of the application to which I wanted to switch.

I realise that the new netbook edition is a work in process. But I am inclined to favour the MeeGo or the KDE Netbook workspace approach. Hiding everything else helps one focus on the current task with minimal distraction.

Update: Booting Ubuntu 10.10 with 2.6.35-22 kernel now works by appending "intel_idle.max_cstate=0" to kernel parameter. For more details

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