Like most Ubuntu updates, version 11.10 isn’t a huge overhaul; rather, it improves on the big changes made in 11.04, by cleaning up the Dash, overhauling the Ubuntu Software Center, and bringing in some new default software. Here’s a look at the biggest changes in the newly released beta.
Ubuntu 11.04 ushered in some grand changes to the default Ubuntu desktop, most notably the new Unity interface. 11.10 refines some of Unity’s rougher edges, while adding in a few new convenience features as well. We won’t go through every little change here (as there are a lot of small ones), but here are some of the bigger ones you’ll notice off the bat, and (mostly) be thankful for.
The Dash, Simplified
The Ubuntu Software Center Gets an Overhaul
Along with this overhaul is the surprising change that Synaptic is no longer included with Ubuntu by default. This may enrage some Linux veterans, but for what it’s worth, you can easily install it from the Software centre first thing and move on with your life. It’s just a somewhat shocking change when you boot up and search for Synaptic only to find nothing.
Thunderbird and Other New Default Programs
Deja Dup is also now the default backup tool, which should integrate with the GNOME Control centre and Ubuntu One.
Window Controls Hidden By Default
A Shiny New Alt+Tab Switcher
New Login Screen
GDM is no longer the default login screen for Ubuntu; instead, a new login screen called LightDM (along with a pretty snazzy theme that goes with Ubuntu) will be your default greeting when you start up. It’s a bit cleaner and prettier than GDM was, so it’s actually a nice change, if a little surprising at first.
Those aren’t the only changes in Ubuntu 11.10, but those are some of the bigger updates you’ll notice off the bat. If you want to check out the beta for yourself, head to Ubuntu’s beta index to download a live CD. The final version of Oneiric Ocelot is scheduled to drop on October 13.