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10 May 2010, 11:51

Shuttleworth unveils Unity netbook shell

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Ubuntu Logo During his keynote speech at this year's Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), taking place from the 10th to the 14th of May, 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, Canonical founder and former CEO Mark Shuttleworth unveiled a new desktop experience codebase called Unity and new "Light" versions of Ubuntu that are optimised for dual-boot systems – both for netbooks and desktops. After talking to computer users, Shuttleworth says that, "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."

Zoom Ubuntu Light displaying the Unity launcher.
The new Unity user interface shell is aimed at making better use of available screen space, while using less system resources than a standard desktop environment. Netbooks, for example, have wide but short screens and the developers focused on "maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing". This is done by moving the bottom panel, devoted to launching and switching between applications, to the left side of the screen and making the top panel "smarter" by adopting a single global menu.

The instant-on and dual-boot installations will be "a new frontier" for Canonical added Shuttleworth. The company hopes that Ubuntu Light will give OEM's the ability to offer a dual-boot Linux option for their Windows PCs so that their customers can have quick access to the web and essential applications. Each OEM image will be customised and "hand-crafted to boot fastest on that specific hardware" and the Ubuntu Light range, Ubuntu Netbook Light and Ubuntu Desktop Light, will be available to OEM's starting today (10th of May). Windows tools to assist in managing the dual-boot experience will also be included.

More details about Unity and Ubuntu Light are available in a post by Shuttleworth on his personal blog. A hands-on with additional images is also available.

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