The biggest news I had heard about 11.04 was the debut of the Unity interface. A refinement on the interface used on the Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Unity is Canonical’s vision of what a desktop interface for the future should be. With Ubuntu’s rapid release schedule, was enough time given to have Unity ready for a prime-time Linux distribution?
Similar to the release from 10.10, for 11.04 I was hoping for some pretty forward-facing features. But once you can look past the new look of Unity, there isn’t very much else to get excited about. As always Ubuntu continues to impress with its mix of stability and ease of use, but after so many releases it’s hard to not just shrug and go back to another OS.
This release does see LibreOffice replacing OpenOffice, but I can’t really tell much of a difference. I didn’t use OpenOffice all that much, so I’m probably the last person to ask about this software. Since I tend to stick with text editors I have paid less and less attention to these two fighting it out and against Microsoft Word. I do hope that this forked software will see faster improvements, as it’s still evident that it is still slower than anything when trying to open, etc.
So how is Unity? Honestly, it doesn’t bother me much, and also doesn’t really impress. Yes, it’s quite different. Yes, it does some things alot better than GNOME2 or other desktop environments do. It also does alot of things that I don’t like, and in the spirit of GNOME it seems to have stripped out any and all user settings/preferences. Now there’s some like KDE where there is user overload when trying to setup a desktop, but then there’s Windows and OS X that have a happy medium. Of course this is Linux, so I can easily switch to GNOME classic or slap on another desktop environment. Does it matter that I would have to? I’m not sure.
Currently my PC is running Windows 7 so I can work on some music along with writing, and it’s working great. I will keep an eye on future Ubuntu releases, but it’s unlikely I will be installing them for quite awhile.