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What will Canonical's Ubuntu 10.10 look like?

By Katherine Noyes
August 26, 2010 02:53 PM ET

PC World - When Canonical broke the news recently that Ubuntu 10.10 will include uTouch 1.0, a multitouch and gesture stack, it caused a flurry of excitement about the Linux release's potential for use in tablets.

Thanks to the new technology, users of Ubuntu 10.10 -- also known as Maverick Meerkat -- will be able to switch applications or tabs within an application, for example, using gestures. Android users have already been enjoying the power of touch, of course, but this new technology will bring it to the Linux desktop.

Ubuntu 10.10 is currently in its third alpha release, with the final version expected on October 10. Current home and business users of older versions of Ubuntu will have to decide if the benefits make it worth upgrading the free software.

Though changes will inevitably happen over the next few weeks, here's a summary of some of the key features that are currently expected.

1. Simpler Installer

Ubuntu 10.10 is expected to use a new installer that makes the installation process simpler than ever. Startup options are now placed right in the installer itself, and they include just two options: Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu. A simplified partitioner, meanwhile, lets users choose between automatically using the whole disk and manual partitioning, while a new Wireless Network Selection page will be added as well. These features will be particularly helpful for newer Ubuntu users.

2. Processor Support

It sounds like the Maverick Meerkat will not run on processors older than i686, or anything before Intel's P6 microarchitecture. For most business users this probably won't be an issue, but it could affect some occasional users of older machines.

3. Default Environment and Applications

Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 3 uses version 2.6.35 of the Linux kernel, which includes numerous security enhancements over previous versions. It also updates the GNOME desktop environment to version 2.31.

Among application changes, meanwhile, is that Firefox 3.6.8 will be the default, as will OpenOffice 3.2.1, for example. Photo tool F-Spot has been replaced with Shotwell, while a new sound indicator has been added to centralize controls for sound. The Evolution mail and collaboration software will be updated to the 2.30 version, which reportedly is much faster than the one in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, or Lucid Lynx.

4. The Ubuntu Software Center

In version 10.10, the Ubuntu Software Center--the tool for browsing, installing and removing software on Ubuntu--will gain "Featured" and "What's New" choice icons on the front page, along with a "History" tab displaying recently installed software. It is also said to be faster and more responsive. Taken together, these improvements promise to make it much easier to track and find new software options.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from PCWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 PC World Communications. All rights reserved.
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