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14 September 2009, 08:34

Creature comforts for Ubuntu

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The upcoming version 9.10 of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, code-named "Karmic Koala", is is approaching its October release. As part of the community dialogue over what should be in the next version, "Lifehacker", a website about getting things done, has come up with a wish list for the free operating system, and Ubuntu has responded.

The Lifehacker list includes an "App store better than Apple's", integrated dual booting and virtualisation for simplified coexistence of multiple operating systems on a single hard drive. Lifehacker says that Ubuntu developers should also pay more attention to a completely revamped desktop interface that is intuitively navigable, straightforward backups to the cloud, and good video editing software.

Ubuntu's community manager Jono Bacon has commented on the list and explained a few steps that the project has already taken in that direction. The cloud backup feature, already integrated as Ubuntu One in Ubuntu 9.10, is farthest along, and a simple version of the Ubuntu Software Store will be included in Karmic.

Ubuntu's Software Store
Ubuntu's early view of the Software Store

For system booting, the Ubuntu developers mainly focus on speed and a more attractive splash screen. Work on a graphical operating system selector is expected to begin for the subsequent Ubuntu 10.04. The team does not plan an integrated virtualisation solution to run, say, Windows applications.

For video editing, Bacon suggests users look at the PiTiVi Gnome application and the KDE application kdenlive. However, neither of the two applications is currently contained in standard repositories. When talking about the desktop interface, the community manager mentions Ayatana, a project of Ubuntu sponsor Canonical that focuses on the user interface design and user interaction.

For example, in Ubuntu 9.10, the project has already delivered a messaging indicator, a notification system and better printing integration and it plans to deliver further enhancements to the messaging menu and provide micro-blogging support for Twitter and other services. Bacon also mentions Ubuntu‘s Usability-Initiative One Hundred Paper Cuts, which is designed to get rid of minor errors and obstacles to make it easier to work with Ubuntu.


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