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17 August 2011, 11:53

Ubuntu 11.10's Unity Dash is taking shape

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Mark Shuttleworth, has dedicated a blog posting to the new features that the developers plan to integrate into the distribution's Unity interface in Ubuntu 11.10. Most of the changes affect the Dash, where "places" will increasingly be replaced by "lenses" and "scopes".

Scopes are data sources that allow users to access both online and offline information – for example, programs at the Ubuntu Software Centre or the documents a user has stored on the Ubuntu One service. Filters are intended to enable users to further limit the content they are viewing, for example, in order to display only higher-ranking apps at the Software Centre. Shuttleworth said that these components will allow Ubuntu to take a further step towards the intended goal of creating a search-driven desktop.

Another new feature will be incorporated into the Launcher, a panel for starting programs that is located on the left-hand edge of the screen: in Ubuntu 11.10, its top item will be a button to invoke the Dash. Previously, the Dash was invoked by clicking on the left corner of the panel at the top of the screen. However, Shuttleworth said that the developers decided to make this change because observations during user testing showed that people are more inclined to try clicking on items in the Launcher.

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