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15 May 2010 09:45

Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Unity, and Ubuntu Light

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Unity, and Ubuntu Light Monday, May 10th, 2010 A few months ago we took on the challenge of building a version of Ubuntu for the dual-boot, instant-on market. We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop. The fruit of that R&D is both a new desktop experience codebase, called Unity, and a range of Light versions of Ubuntu, both netbook and desktop, that are optimised for dual-boot scenarios. The dual-boot, web-focused use case is sufficiently different from general-purpose desktop usage to warrant a fresh look at the way the desktop is configured. We spent quite a bit of time analyzing screenshots of a couple of hundred different desktop configurations from the current Ubuntu and Kubuntu user base, to see what people used most. We also identified the things that are NOT needed in lightweight dual-boot instant-on offerings. That provided us both with a list of things to focus on and make rich, and a list of things we could leave out. Instant-on products are generally used in a stateless fashion. These are “get me to the web asap” environments, with no need of heavy local file management. If there is content there, it would be best to think of it as “cloud like” and synchronize it with the local Windows environment, with cloud services and other devices. They are also not environments where people would naturally expect to use a wide range of applications: the web is the key, and there may be a few complementary capabilities like media playback, messaging, games, and the ability to connect to local devices like printers and cameras and pluggable media. We also learned something interesting from users. It’s not about how fast you appear to boot. It’s about how fast you actually deliver a working web browser and Internet connection. It’s about how fast you have a running system that is responsive to the needs of the user. Unity: a lightweight netbook interface There are several driving forces behind the result. The desktop screenshots we studied showed that people typically have between 3 and 10 launchers on their panels, for rapid access to key applications. We want to preserve that sense of having a few favorite applications that are instantly accessible. Rather than making it equally easy to access any installed application, we assume that almost everybody will run one of a few apps, and they need to switch between those apps and any others which might be running, very easily. 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.

Mark Shuttleworth presenta Unity y Ubuntu Light

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Mark Shuttleworth presenta Unity y Ubuntu Light Y si creías que ya no hacía falta ninguna "edición" de Ubuntu más es porque no contabas con la astucia de Mark Shuttleworth, que con este largo anuncio en su blog presentó Unity y Ubuntu Light. Unity es una nueva interface gráfica especialmente diseñada para las pequeñas pantallas de netbooks y otros dispositivos portátiles, que está enfocada en aprovechar al máximo el limitado espacio disponible para presentar el contenido que requiera el usuario, como páginas web por ejemplo. Unity debutará oficialmente en el próximo Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10, pero quienes deseen probarlo ahora mismo pueden seguir estas instrucciones si ya tienen instalado Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Ubuntu Light es la entrada de Canonical en el mercado de los sistemas operativos instantáneos, como Splashtop o HyperSpace, que generamente se integran en rápidos dispositivos de sólo lectura para ofrecer un escritorio funcional que pueda arrancar en sólo segundos. Su disponibilidad no impide que sean incluídos paralelamente con otros sistemas operativos tradicionales, como Windows, por lo que ya probaron ser populares entre fabricantes como HP y Dell. Obviamente, Ubuntu Light usa Unity, pero además, según Canonical, puede arrancar en sólo 7 segundos (usando un disco SSD) en una Dell Inspiron Mini 10v. Ubuntu Light está disponible a partir de hoy mismo para OEMs quieran incluirlo en sus productos.