Revisiting Ubuntu and Xubuntu (11.10 beta 2)
The new Ubuntu release (Oneiric Ocelot) comes out in about three weeks. Since the Linux news feeds I peruse have been filled with all the great improvements being made to the Unity interface in Ubuntu, I thought I’d download the new Ubuntu 11.10 beta 2 and check it out. It comes with new Linux Kernel version 3.0.4 and Gnome 3.1.92 along with an upgraded Unity.
It booted up fine on my six-year-old HP computer, and I logged into the wireless connection without problems. But after checking things out for about ten minutes I have to say I was quite unimpressed. They’ve added more cosmetic Lens effects and search categories, but the Dash functionality seems much the same as in Ubuntu 11.04 that I’d installed a few months back. And I was disappointed to see that the panel still seems to not be very configurable as well. I find that the Dash and Lenses just get in the way of doing things; not make it simpler.
I guess I’m just spoiled; compared to standard Linux Mint with Gnome 2 and Bodhi Linux’s Enlightenment desktop that I’m used to using, Unity seems to me like more work to use with less functionality. It was a very underwhelming experience! And then my wireless internet suddenly disconnected, and would not reconnect no matter how many times I re-entered my password.
So, next I popped in the new version (beta 2) of Xubuntu that I’d also burned to a CD. More and more I am liking the Xfce desktop environment, and heard that this official Ubuntu brand of Xfce is quite nice. And ya know, it is! It booted quickly from the CD, is simple to use, has a nice look and an easy-to-use menu of utilities and applications. The Xfce panel is more configurable than Unity, though still not as useful as the old Gnome 2 panel. The new Xfce also comes with a simple docky-like thing at the bottom for launching apps. You can even enable simple visual effects without using Compiz. And I experienced no problems with my wireless connection even after half an hour of use.
I think Xfce is growing toward (maybe) becoming as easy to use as Gnome used to be, and certainly is lighter on your system. But for me, Enlightenment and Gnome 2 still can’t be beat!
Here are some links you may find useful: