In the Ubuntu Developers Summit today, Mark Shuttleworth announced some very interesting new features and ideas regarding the future Ubuntu releases.
He announced Unity - a new netbook interface and Ubuntu Light - a new instant-on Ubuntu for OEM.
The driving force behind Unity is maximizing the vertical pixel available. This is what Shuttleworth himself wrote in his blog:
We focused on maximising screen real estate for content. In particular, we focused on maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing. Netbooks have screens which are wide, but shallow. Notebooks in general are moving to wide screen formats. So vertical space is more precious than horizontal space.
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.
Those constraints and values lead us to a new shape for the desktop, which we will adopt in Ubuntu’s Netbook Edition for 10.10 and beyond.
This is what they have done with Unity:
- Move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications.
- Expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly.
- Adopt the global menu for the top-panel.
You can install Unity in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx by following the instructions here.
Ubuntu Light is an instant-on version of Ubuntu. It is mainly aimed at OEM, who can put it in dual boot installation with other OS (like Windows). Ubuntu Light will be available Ubuntu Netbook Light and later, a Light version for the desktop will also come out. The Ubuntu Netbook Light will use the Unity interface.
Ubuntu Light will be optimized for each OEM's specific hardware to ensure that it boots as fast as possible on that platform and that applications loads quickly. Because of this it will not be available for download from ubuntu.com like the other Ubuntu variants.
Ubuntu Light will not have any traditional file management and it will come with a few applications installed for web, media, mail etc.
- Unity will use Mutter, for window management, and Zeitgeist will be an anchor component of our file management approach. The interface itself is built in Clutter.
- Window indicators (WIndicators) will behave like status indicators. Clicking on them gives you a menu.