Home > Computing, Software > Ubuntu 11,10 – first impressions

Ubuntu 11,10 – first impressions

This week saw the release of Ubuntu 11.10, which could also be considered a tribute to the late Dr. Dennis Ritchie, who was heavily involved in the development of Unix and the C programming language. Both of these technologies are essential building blocks in the Linux arena, owing to the fact Linux was developed as a Unix clone and coded in C.

Last night, I pulled down the ISO image for the 64-bit desktop release of 11.10 and installed it into a VMWare virtual machine. Installation was easy – no change from the previous 11.04 version and it’s a very straightforward routine. The usual choosing of disk partition, language and time zone etc.

You can also boot Ubuntu from other media – a bootable CD (by burning the ISO image to one) or create a bootable USB key. It can be an extremely useful tool for salvaging data off non-booting Windows systems or those that are infected with a virus or malware, as the infected will not be active when Ubuntu is booted, making it a safe platform to back data up from the infected PC.

After the VM booted for the first time, I was presented with a login screen not dissimilar to the Windows XP one. After clicking on my username and entering my password, I was presented with the Unity desktop. The Unity desktop was first introduced in the 10.10 Netbook release and became a core part of the Desktop release in version 11.04, but there was also an option within Ubuntu to switch back to the standard Gnome ‘Classic’ desktop. If you want Gnome ‘Classic’, you’ll now need to install the Gnome Desktop package.

Gone are familiar menus at the top of the screen, although the icons that make up the equivalent of the Windows System Tray are still present in the top right-hand side. Occupying the full length of the left-hand side is an applications  launch bar or dock. There are some pre-defined shortcuts to apps – such as Firefox already present as part of the default install. Right-clicking on a shortcut allows you to remove it. Other applications can be launched/installed by clicking the ‘Ubuntu’ icon at the top of the launch bar. You can also drag applications to the launch bar for quick access.

Back in version 11.04, LibreOffice replaced OpenOffice. LibreOffice is a fork of Oracle’s OpenOffice and is produced by The Document Foundation. It began as a result of concerns that Oracle would either discontinue or place restrictions on OpenOffice. I’ve not personally used LibreOffice yet, but a quick look shows that it is extremely similar to OpenOffice, which makes sense, given that it originates from the same code base.

In summary, Ubuntu 11.10 looks to be a useful update to the operating system. It’s easy to install, offers a range of applications that would give you a useful, working platform with a fully featured office suite. LibreOffice is compatible with Microsoft Office, although glitches can and do occur with document conversion from time to time.

Categories: Computing, Software
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