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Canonical Bringing an Instant-On Ubuntu 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the feeling-the-heat-from-chrome-os dept.
Today at the Ubuntu Developers Summit, Mark Shuttleworth presented a few upcoming Ubuntu projects, including "Light" versions of the operating system for "both netbook and desktop, that are optimized for dual-boot scenarios." Shuttleworth also took the wraps off Unity, a new lightweight interface that will be included in Ubuntu Light and eventually in Ubuntu Netbook Edition as well. "First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world. ... Second, we'll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, we can afford to be more generous with the icon size there. ... Third, we will make the top panel smarter." Ars got a chance to try out a prototype of Unity, saying, "Its unique visual style melds beautifully with Ubuntu's new default theme and its underlying interaction model seems compelling and well-suited for small screens."
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Canonical Bringing an Instant-On Ubuntu

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  • Interesting concept (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday May 10, 2010 @04:51PM (#32161582)

    I'm not sure how I'd like this in action, but I'm glad that they're at least trying a somewhat new direction with the 'Unity' interface, rather than the typical scenario of playing catchup with Windows and OS X that the open-source desktops seem to usually do. Even if it doesn't work out, at least it should hopefully encourage further innovation and something to actually set Linux, or specifically Ubuntu, apart from the crowd. The whole "free alternative to..." approach really hasn't been a selling point since the battle for the server room against the commercial Unix vendors 10+ years ago.

    • File management (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheMeuge (645043) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:04PM (#32161788)

      Ubuntu Light will not have any traditional file management and it will come with a few applications installed for web, media, mail etc.

      This is what really caught my eye.

      From the iPhone to the new Ubuntu, the wet dream of Hollywood and RIAA - a closed user-inaccessible file system seems to be making the rounds everywhere, including (evidently) in open source. It seem to be a part of an overall push not just to wring the last bits of control from the hands of the users, but to ensure that the users will be content consumers, not content creators.

      • Re:File management (Score:5, Informative)

        by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@nOSPaM.hotmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:26PM (#32162060)

        From the blog:

        The two primary pieces we need to put in place are:

        Support for many more applications, and adding / removing applications. Instant-on environments are locked down, while netbook environments should support anybody’s applications, not just those favored in the Launcher.

        Support for file management, necessary for an environment that will be the primary working space for the user rather than an occasional web-focused stopover.

        Emphasis mine. If this thing is going to fly at all, they'll need file management. It's that simple.

        • Besides, I doubt they're gonna keep you from switching to a virtual terminal and looking at all the pretty files.
      • Re:File management (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dgatwood (11270) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:29PM (#32162104) Journal

        Not at all. One of the biggest flaws in computer UI design today is that there are lots of things that are not stored as files but are still basically indivisible units of data, whether they're mail messages or database records or... you name it. Because so many of these things are not, in fact, files, a purely file-based view is a fairly clumsy way to represent that content. For most users, they don't need to know or care whether data is in a file or a database record or an email message in an mbox file. Abstracting those details away from the user results in a better user experience with more ability to manage the actual content than a pure file-based interface can provide.

        It's not like the filesystem in Ubuntu Light will cease to exist or will become inaccessible to power users. You'll just have to install tools to reach it. At least I assume that this is the case.

        • Re:File management (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jedidiah (1196) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:39PM (#32162268) Homepage

          > Abstracting those details away from the user results in a better user experience with more ability to manage the actual content than a pure file-based interface can provide.

          This reminds me of the Mac Girl that decided to burn CDs of her pictures because they were becoming too much to manage in iPhoto.

          Hiding the filesystem is fine until you find that your forced alternative doesn't scale quite well enough any more.

          It's absurd to get rid of a useful framework just because it's not "universal" enough.

          If anything, things should go in the other direction. subsets of data and metadata should be accessable in the filesystem or to the shell with simple tools. There should be more explosure of the data rather than less. A vfs interface for the mail system could actually be a pretty handy thing. Perhaps it would even enable a "delete all text messages" feature in the iPhone.

          Such an abstraction doesn't even need to be exposed to the end user most times. At least it's there, those that find the default tools lacking have some recourse.

          Interesting things should not be impossible. Neither should the inevitable tech support.

        • Re:File management (Score:5, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday May 10, 2010 @06:29PM (#32162988)

          What is not a file? A big part of the whole *n.x ideology is that everything is a file.

          Emails are files in the MAILDIR, database records are indeed stored in the DB files. Do you think this is magic here?

          • What is not a file? A big part of the whole *n.x ideology is that everything is a file.

            Emails are files in the MAILDIR, database records are indeed stored in the DB files. Do you think this is magic here?

            Fine but how to I explain it to my mother? This interface is clearly designed for all the mothers and grandmothers out there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cetialphav (246516)

            A database record is not a file, though. A database record is a small part of a much larger file that contains the database. And even that is not completely true, because a database often consists of additional files like indexes.

            There is no question that files are an extremely useful abstraction. They have served us well for a very long time and I don't think they will be going anywhere anytime soon. However, that does not mean that it is the only abstraction worth considering. Many non-technical user

            • by leamanc (961376)

              Many non-technical users get confused by the file concept...

              No doubt. I know far too many people who think "folders" are "files," because, um, you know, that's where you file stuff.

      • Re:File management (Score:4, Interesting)

        by clang_jangle (975789) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:34PM (#32162190) Journal

        From the iPhone to the new Ubuntu, the wet dream of Hollywood and RIAA - a closed user-inaccessible file system seems to be making the rounds everywhere, including (evidently) in open source. It seem to be a part of an overall push not just to wring the last bits of control from the hands of the users, but to ensure that the users will be content consumers, not content creators.

        Being geeks we sometimes fail to notice, but it's also the wet dream of the average consumer. Just the other day I had a conversation with a group of non-geeks in which I mentioned the **AA-driven move away from real computers and towards net-enabled appliances. Every single one of them agreed they would happily ditch their PCs for such a device if they could also do their office work on it.

        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

          I am a geek, and even I would welcome a device that let me browse the web and read mail, but didn't have a file manager. In fact, I can't recall the last time I've used a file manager.

          On the other hand, I want the software to be as simple as possible (but no simpler) in terms of basic concepts, including files. The reason for this is that designs that don't worry about complexity in terms of the basic building blocks that we have seem to invariably end up becoming unmaintainable buggy horrors. The ideal des

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by fandingo (1541045)

          Exactly. I do tech support at my uni's law school, and I have had about a dozen professors and students come up to me in the last month because they lost a word document (I love finals season...). You know what happened? They opened an attachment, modified it (sometimes for hours), saved (no error messages or anything), and exited. Word happily saved it to a temp folder, and it was never to be found again. No where, not /temp, application data, local settings, etc. That's so stupid that I can't believe Word

          • I had this argument with my wife recently. She runs an architectural practice and keeps her documentation in a nice directory structure which I keep backed up. I pointed out that there were no CAD files in her project folder. She pointed to the icon for the CAD tool on her desktop and said "its all in there".

            You see, this tool starts up with a nice file picker showing a thumbnail of recent projects. but it hides the location of the actual files.

            The other problem we have is that if I plug her LCD monitor in

      • From the iPhone to the new Ubuntu, the wet dream of Hollywood and RIAA - a closed user-inaccessible file system seems to be making the rounds everywhere, including (evidently) in open source. It seem to be a part of an overall push not just to wring the last bits of control from the hands of the users, but to ensure that the users will be content consumers, not content creators.

        Though I don't doubt the *IAA crowd loves this type of thing there are a sh!t load of consumers who would love this type of device as well. Maybe not you, but /. readers are not generally the target market for *consumer* type devices.

        Ubuntu would just be the OS on a lightweight, internet device. Much like Linux is just the OS under Android, Ubuntu would be the OS and not the main selling point of this type of product. Parents with young children would love this type of product. Control the websites their

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yvanhoe (564877)
        The sad truth is that most people don't want a full-featured computer and are dangerous with it. Give them a web-browser, an office suite, an email client, an IM and a picture manager. Full featured computer will become again the tool for the geek and the developper. The mainstream will go away as it came. It brought us cheap hardware and insecure environment. It was an interesting ride. Farewell and godspeed to you, have fun with your games and movies while I'll have my fun writing algorithms for them.
        • The sad truth is that most people don't want a full-featured computer and are dangerous with it. Give them a web-browser, an office suite, an email client, an IM and a picture manager. Full featured computer will become again the tool for the geek and the developper. The mainstream will go away as it came. It brought us cheap hardware and insecure environment. It was an interesting ride. Farewell and godspeed to you, have fun with your games and movies while I'll have my fun writing algorithms for them.

          It wasn't that long ago that a normal user got a captive account on a character cell terminal with five or ten applications that they could run.

      • by wisty (1335733)

        File management is an obstacle to content creation. Provided applications use interoperable standards (and file systems are still the best), a better interface makes it easier to both pull *and* push content.

    • by Jim Hall (2985) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:27PM (#32162090) Homepage

      > I'm not sure how I'd like this in action, but I'm glad that they're at least trying a somewhat new direction with the 'Unity' interface ...

      If you'd like to see it in action, there's a short (1:39) video showing this on YouTube: Ubuntu 10.10 Unity Interface. [youtube.com]

    • by the_womble (580291) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @02:05AM (#32165948) Homepage Journal

      the typical scenario of playing catchup with Windows and OS X that the open-source desktops seem to usually do.

      Have you used ANY of the following:
      1) Compiz: way ahead of Mac of Windows. Lots of useless eye candy, but lots of useful stuff too
      2) KDE 4: highly configurable, applets that can run in a panel or on the desktop, all apps can transparently open remote files of ssh, ftp, as well as tar and zip archives, CD ripping (and transcoding) through drag and drop in the file manager, embedded components so you can preview documents in the file manager. KDE 3 and Gnome have most of these, but I picked KDE 4 because that is what I use.
      3) Fluxbox: tabbed windows
      4) Metisse: a completely different approach to 3D desktops
      5) Moblin: if that looks or works like Windows or Mac, you must be talking about a different Windows and Mac.
      6) Enlightenment 16: sliding, overlapping desktops years ago - while Windows still does not have multiple desktops without an extension
      7) Various tiling and keyboard driven window managers.

  • by Kethinov (636034) on Monday May 10, 2010 @04:53PM (#32161620) Homepage Journal

    When I saw the screenshots for Unity I was amazed. Finally defaults that make sense. I'm not a fan of dark themes, but that's easily changed. (e.g., in Lucid, switch from Ambience to Radiance.) There's no reason Unity should be limited to netbooks at all. In a world where widescreen monitors are commonplace, vertical space is always at a premium.

    But Unity does more than fix the vertical spacing issue, it brings Ubuntu's default's into the 21st century with task management as well. Even Windows has moved on from it's old school taskbar into something resembling the Dock from OSX. Unity's dock is a step in the right direction and placing it on the left is a smart choice.

    Unity should be what all Ubuntu versions ship with. Not just netbooks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arker (91948)
      It does look like a good step in the right direction, but then again it looks like they could have saved a whole lot of trouble by investing in WindowMaker and GNUStep from the start instead of trying to reïnvent it too.
      • by knarf (34928)

        it looks like they could have saved a whole lot of trouble by investing in WindowMaker and GNUStep

        As soon as GNUStep were to gain traction Apple would aim its cadre of legally-trained rats at it in order to keep it from becoming a viable free source-compatible build target for OS-X software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aBaldrich (1692238)
      Wait for GNOME 3. Although you won't be able [mail-archive.com] to use GNOME 3 + compiz anytime soon, there are many [youtube.com] preview videos [youtube.com] of the new GNOME that I find really interesting. (The second one is annotated in some slavic language but it shows many aspects of the menu and other interfaces)
  • I guess I did...so in that case I will wait for the "real thing"...that is Chromium [chromium.org] from Google.

  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday May 10, 2010 @04:55PM (#32161658)

    Widescreen monitors waste tons of horizontal space and suffer a real lack of vertical space.
    I say move both tool bars to the sides. If gnome panel would rotate the words and icons I would already do this.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Why rotate the words? You'll just have to tilt your head to read them, and you won't be able to fit as many on the task bar.

    • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:06PM (#32161824)
      I've been putting the menu panel at the left side for years (in Gnome and in Windows) both to get the extra vertical space, and just because it makes sense to me. The problem is, Gnome seems to keep making it harder and harder to have it work properly there. The new indicator widgets are wide and don't seem to re-orient vertically, and Gnome Shell (Gnome 3.0) seems to not be able to move the panel to the side at all. I actually just bought a new netbook with better vertical resolution because I was sick of fighting (well, for development IDE's as well). The Unity work being done is the best interface news I've heard in ages.
      • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Informative)

        Same here. It started with my netbook, as I tried desperately to maximize vertical space so that I could actually read pdfs and long web pages. From there it trickled into my main machine.

        One of the nice things I found to hack this together is Tree-Style Tabs for Firefox. Puts the tabs on the left and branches them from the tab that spawned them. That's the best way to organize tabs that I've ever seen.
      • The new indicator widgets are wide and don't seem to re-orient vertically,

        That's not GNOME, that's Canonical. And there's a simple solution: don't use it. Just remove it and everything will go back to normal.
      • Seconded. This is a wonderful idea. I've tried it on and off for decades but it never seemed to last. There was always some thing or other that broke it to the point that just using autohide was better. If they can make it really work it'll be great but that top bar needs to be on the right.

        Or better yet, the other way around.

        Oh and they both need to be wide enough that the widgets remain useful. And there needs to be room for optional text labels as icon-only buttons are both unintuitive and nearly usele

    • Re:Brilliant! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:19PM (#32161982)

      In other words, widescreen is rubbish for some purposes, and actually we'd prefer 4:3.
      Trying to "fix" the widescreen problem with software is just hacking around the fundamental lack of choice in screen formats now.

    • I say get rid of bars completely and incentivise people to learn to use the keyboard.

      I dream, I know.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I generally only use the bars for stuff that does not work in commandline. When I saw tabs in Gterm the first time I said "cute, us adults just use screen". I am not normally one for this crap but it has its place.

      • by makapuf (412290) *

        But I like to be able to go to the bar & drink a beer or two there ! Try to do THAT with a keyboard !

    • by taniwha (70410)

      I've been doing this in KDE since about 2.something on my laptop - mostly because vertical space has long been at a premium (even back at 1024x768 I wanted more lines in vi). KDE does the popup menu thing well in this mode - the one downside is names in the task manager

      Want to change? just drag the bottom bar to the left or go into the control panel and drag it around

    • Re:Brilliant! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2010 @07:25PM (#32163528) Homepage

      Not so brilliant for a netbook, though. Most of them have just enough screen width to get the average website layout working optimally. People design webpages to scroll vertically, not horizontally, so a tiny bit of vertical space is not a big deal. I think the best thing to do would make the menu auto-hide. It wouldn't matter which orientation it was in then.

  • "First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications."

    That's where I keep my Cairo dock, you insensitive clods. :(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:00PM (#32161730)

    Recently I was visiting a friend who use to work at Apple in the Human Interface Group some time ago and he had two of his machines setup side by side. One was OS X and the other was the latest Ubuntu.

    He sat there for a good hour going through painstaking detail of simple desktop operations and just how mind boggling bad Ubuntu/Gnome is in comparision. Many of the things I already knew from my own experience but it was shocking to have them put forth in such a direct and obvious light.

    Maybe everyone overestimated just what Canonical was going to do with Linux, but one has to wonder what exactly do they do all day there? My Apple friend was describing the teams of people he worked with on OS X and it wasn't some vast army of developers. It is hard to imagine that Canonical can't even get something remotely close to Apple's OS X interface technology with the employees they have.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by masmullin (1479239)

      Did you happen to mention the #1 worst UI decision EVER is that damn "can only resize windows from the bottom right hand corner"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bertie (87778)

      Give them a chance, they're only really getting going now. Traditionally this has been an area that Linux has fallen down on. You're welcome to speculate as to the reasons but it seems to me that a lot of people in the community just aren't that excited by making stuff more user-friendly. Not to say that it doesn't interest them at all, it's just that they're more interested in performance and functionality, and so these are the areas in which efforts tend to be focused, meaning that user-friendliness ca

  • The problem: vertical space is limited. Quick hack: put toolbars on the sides. True fix: get a rotatable monitor!
  • by RichMan (8097) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:02PM (#32161752)

    I run with the "launcher" panel on the left and the applicaion panel on the right.
    Both are auto-hide. This gives an lot of screen space on widescreen monitors.

    The big pain is the few icons that don't translate well to the side panels.

    • Do what I did, replace them with nice-looking plain bold TEXT.
      Horizontal or Vertical, they work. Eventually you get to know
      where the app is after constant use. Ever since icons started
      losing their meaning, and then started going wacky with
      bubble-gum fisher price colors, I chose to make mine a business
      minded desktop.

      Add your own effects as well, e.g. reflection, shadow. And mostly
      neutral colors, so they won't distract from color graphics work.

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:03PM (#32161762)

    It would be nice if they could make the effort to implement a touch based layout without biasing against lefties. This is a significant annoyance especially with traditional mouse oriented controls like scroll bars. To do this right requires a design that minimizes the occurrence of the hand covering the screen while performing touch operations. Usually what happens is a system is designed assuming right handedness and the result is awkward to use for lefties. Ideally, applications and the window manager will dynamically change based on a user hand preference.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:24PM (#32162044) Journal
      I hear ya... but I gave in long ago. I've adapted to a righty world. I now do almost everything righty, since that's what most tools are designed for. I still write left-handed, but that's just about the only thing I haven't converted yet.

      It was annoying for the first 5 or so years, but now I'm completely used to it.

      Lefties are never going to be 100% supported; better to get used to doing things righty, it'll make for a lot less frustration.

      Plus, your girlfriend/boyfriend/otherfriend will appreciate your ambidexterity, if you ever get the chance to make use of it.
  • "Instant" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:03PM (#32161776)

    We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop.

    That's a strange definition of "instant." 10 seconds.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I know! Instant rice takes at least 300 seconds. This is like time-travel, or something...

  • Vertical panel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bambi Dee (611786) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:05PM (#32161806)
    What a sane decision. Why not lose the top panel, too? I've been going with a vertical panel (only) in KDE for a long time now. Even before I had a widescreen monitor it saved the "right kind" of space. (KDE 4's taskbar widget automatically strips the text off the buttons at that size/orientation, leaving only icons... they're usually informative enough.)
    • I'd rather it strip the icons than the text. Like someone mentioned above there are so many icons now and they're so similar to some other icon that there is really no info there. Yes, I'll eventually get use to doing it by memory, at least in readers and other simpler devices, but for a desktop or a laptop this would be a regression in usability.
  • No default GNOME shell? Going for lightweight, rather than modular? I don't see this as a logical direction for Ubuntu.

    For instant-on, you could have the computer boot in a completely clean state then freeze that state to file. I practically guarantee that unthawing that state, then tweaking it afterwards (kill -HUP is your friend) will be faster than any staged booting or threaded booting could ever be. The only exception is a daemon or other service that creates a large amount of state at start-time. Then, you simply create your clean image to exclude such services and start them once the image is in place.

    An alternative would be to do something similar, but instead of actually loading the software, you load and freeze hooks. This won't be quite as fast, but a frozen image of application hooks and corresponding DLL hooks (and perhaps the filesystem kernel modules) should be small enough to fit into a flash chip. This would "pre-boot" the computer without having to actually parse the init scripts and without having to have a full ramfs boot stage.

    In both these cases, I'm picturing that when you change any init script or any of the packages involved, the machine would need to rebuild the fast-boot images. This means that updating low-level packages would place a LOT more strain on the system. On the other hand, disk access is slow, scripts are slow and starting heavier applications is also slow. Cutting two of these three out would massively boost startup times, cutting all three out would be damn-near instant-on.

    (You actually could get instant-on with Coreboot + a running system image, and given that thumb drives have a larger capacity than older desktop systems, it's not impossible to imagine having such a system. Oh, and Coreboot works on a hell of a lot of platforms these days, for those who dismiss it as architecture-impaired. It's not perfect and it can be a pain at times as-is, but the one thing it's not short of is supported platforms.)

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``Oh, and Coreboot works on a hell of a lot of platforms these days''

      I am happy to hear that, because the one thing that has kept me away from Coreboot all these years has been lack of support for my hardware. Other than that, it's just about perfect - I got boot time from GRUB to shell down to a few seconds years ago (on a 486, even), and from GRUB to full X session a few years ago, but the time from power-on to GRUB can easily be tens of seconds. I am led to believe that Coreboot can do better than that.

  • by fph il quozientatore (971015) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:17PM (#32161960) Homepage
    Horizontal space is cheap, unless you decide to run two applications side-by-side. This is a scenario which is extremely common for people who are writing a document (HTML, Latex, most programming languages, maybe also 3d editors) and like to have a preview of what they're writing/drawing/programming. Unfortunately, despite widescreens turning more and more popular, window managers do not seem to have caught on the trend. AFAICT, only with some obscure tiling window managers such as Awesome and Xmonad or some scripting uber-hacks can you have two applications side-by-side without resizing them manually every time (which is a PITA). Thanks Ubuntu, neat idea, but I would rather have the toolbars on the top and bottom, and some support for tiling horizzontally side-by-side two windows.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sancho (17056) *

      I hide both of my panels by default. The entire screen is then devoted to whatever I'm working on. The only thing I lose is the clock.

      Heck, most of the time, I use keyboard-shortcuts to switch between applications, so I don't even need the bottom panel. The top panel is mostly useful for the clock and easy access to NetworkManager. If I could have a shortcut that displayed the time via libosd and a better application-level network manager, I could do away with the panels entirely.

      • by c++0xFF (1758032)

        That's fine and dandy for a full computer, but not for a touch interface:

        We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.

        That rules out keyboard shortcuts, which no longer make things easier/faster on a touch-only interface.

        I like the idea of hiding all panels ... but how do you make them visible again later? Mouse hover is the traditional way, but we don't have a mouse to work with. Maybe through a gesture that "drags" them out from the screen edge?

        Heck, if you do it that way, it doesn't matter which edge you use: top, bottom, left, or right. It woul

        • by Sancho (17056) *

          I imagine you could do a lot with gestures. Two fingers swipe down from the top of the screen to display the menu, etc.

          Though that said, I don't think traditional menus transfer well into touch interfaces anyway, so the top bar might be completely different in a touch-environment.

          I think Apple's multitasking solution looks pretty good. I think it's touch the home button and hold to bring up the menu of running applications. Something like that (could be a gesture, or a special place on the screen, or wha

        • by proxima (165692)

          I like the idea of hiding all panels ... but how do you make them visible again later? Mouse hover is the traditional way, but we don't have a mouse to work with. Maybe through a gesture that "drags" them out from the screen edge?

          ipad/iphone apps often run into this. The simple solution is to use the multi-touch recognition. For some apps (e.g. Atomic Web browser), it is a three finger tap anywhere on the screen to go "fullscreen". For others (e.g. Kindle apps), it's a single tap near the center. Recogn

    • This is a scenario which is extremely common for people who are writing a document (HTML, Latex, most programming languages, maybe also 3d editors) and like to have a preview of what they're writing/drawing/programming

      Most people use WYSIWYG writers, so that point is moot. (not me though, I use Awesome).

    • by ampathee (682788)

      I know we're talking about linux, but Windows 7 actually has a neat feature for this - drag a window to an edge, and it "snaps" to fit half the screen.

      Do it with another window on the other side, and there you go, two windows side by side.

      Demo here [youtube.com].

      It's something I'd like to see gnome copy.

  • Logical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@nOSPaM.hotmail.com> on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:19PM (#32161986)

    Two thoughts:

    1) Moving the max/min/close buttons now makes sense.

    2) Dash reminds me a LOT of KDE 4's start menu.

    I generally like the idea, especially with the goal of allowing KDE apps to seemlessly integrate. I still have issues with using the gnome base when I think LXDE has a far better upside (in my opinion) with respect to low power computing but I hope that Unity does continue to evolve and prosper.

  • I've been doing this for years in Windows and OSX for the same reasons Shuttleworth has stated it: widescreen monitors Glad to see a system embrace this concept and see where it would go logically if done by default and per design (instead of just an alternate option).
  • I have OS X on a Dell Mini 10v.

    Dock on the left side. The sleep mode gives me instant-on operation and extends the stock battery life to 8 hours.

    OS X renders beautifully. This is a great netbook experience. Of course, it's a hack... But it's a glorious hack.

    If there's one thing that is not optimal, it's the Apple menu across the top of the screen. I suggest that Ubuntu for netbooks have the horizontal menu extend from the left-side dock. Or hide the menu automatically.

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Well, 10.10 will be like that, only for people who aren't thieves.
      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        Well, 10.10 will be like that, only for people who aren't thieves.

        I read your post and I have no idea what you're talking about. Could you explain please?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        How do you know he lives in a country where EULAs are legally binding? It may be perfectly legal in his country.

      • Most Righteous Stallmanite,

        Here, before the court of Slashdot, I admit that I have committed the heinous sins of

        a) disobeying laywers for my own private, non-profit use, experimentation, and curiosity, without hurting ANYONE; and

        b) angering a Stallmanite.

        So great is my ethical decay that I don't even know which is worse!

        I know I am fortunate to live in a country where I will not be imprisoned or put to death for what I have done. If all flouters of EULAs were sent to the Moon or forced to work on GNU Hurd, just imagine what a better world this would be.

        Up Yours Sincerely,

        A Penitent EULA Flouter

  • usability... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by g253 (855070) on Monday May 10, 2010 @05:42PM (#32162320) Homepage
    It's also true for regular Ubuntu I guess, but it just noticed it with the screenshot in TFA for some reason: that whole bar at the top of the screen completely defeats the purpose of Chromium's "tabs at the top of the screen" approach.
  • I like the direction Ubuntu is taking. Instant-on, thinking about how to better use screen real-estate. These are things that have been on my mind for a long time, but I don't have the clout to get it done. Now Ubuntu is doing these things that I have been thinking about. I am looking forward to the results!

  • Different isn't always better. Sometimes, it's just different.

    Instant on is great. I kind of miss the instant command prompt from the diskless Apple II days. I'm not dissing instant on.

    Maybe this is the next great thing in user interfaces, but I hope there's another alternative on the install.

  • For those of you interested in InstantOn action, there already is Mandriva InstantOn [mandriva.com] that has some similar design goals (couple of chosen programs, fast boot).

  • Is this really a new concept? How can anyone say this is "awesome" when all you had to do before was shove DockbarX on a GNOME panel? That's all this is (except they're making their own dock for it)! Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

  • So they're wasting time on configuration options that I can (and do) change myself, instead of getting back on track toward their stated goal of producing a distro that "just works." Warty was a major breakthrough in usability, but it's only been downhill from there.
  • To the left of the screen? No, no, no... it's called "the wharf" and it sits at the right of the screen: http://xwinman.org/screenshots/bowman-matt.gif [xwinman.org]
  • First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world.

    Than sounds a lot like my fvwm config that I have been using for the last about 10 years. Just replace gdm with slim and gnome with fvwm and you get a blazingly fast environment that consumes almost no memory.

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