Ubuntu 10.04: The Perfect Consumer Operating System?

The upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.04 is on the way and with its new theme, looks simply stunning. With an online music store built in, integrated cloud backup services and a strong focus on social networking, could this finally be the release consumers have been waiting for?

It’s true, I’ve given Ubuntu a thrashing from time to time, but it was deserved. (See Hey Ubuntu, Stop Making Linux Look Bad and Two Simple Suggestions for Ubuntu) Now, it deserves a little of something else.

Last week the first Beta of Ubuntu 10.04 was released, providing a solid glimpse of what will comprise the final release in a month’s time. It looks damn good.

On the face of it, Ubuntu 10.04 appears to achieve what no other distro has been able to do yet – near perfect integration. From start to finish this looks like a highly professional, sleek, commercial grade operating system. Truly. Whatever Mark Shuttleworth has been doing in his new role, keep doing it, because this release looks to be the best ever (and it’s me saying this, so you know I’m not wetting my pants over nothing).

It’s Got the Look

Promises made, promises lost, we’ve been waiting a long time for a new, fresh, updated look and feel for Ubuntu. Really, no-one really liked the orange and brown, but we did put up with it. Thank the Heavens now we finally have a brand new, sleek look. I like it. I really like it. How else can I put this? It’s awesome.

The boot sequence is a sharp and the new corporate font looks great. Very sleek and modern. Thank goodness that horrible black and white pulsating Ubuntu logo is gone from 9.10!

Lucid boot splash screen
Lucid boot splash screen

The login screen is simple, but light and well integrated. Here you get your first glimpse of the new color scheme including the new purple background. It does look somewhat Mac-ish, but it works really well.

Lucid login sreen
Lucid login sreen

Logging into the desktop is where it will hit you. This is no regular Ubuntu. This thing is modern, sleek, purposeful. The default desktop theme is quite dark, much removed from the traditional Human theme and is called, Ambiance.

Lucid default desktop theme, Ambiance
Lucid default desktop theme, Ambiance

However, there also a lighter option called Radiance.

Lucid alternate desktop theme, Radiance
Lucid alternate desktop theme, Radiance

Both sport the new widgets on the left (although in the screenshots they have been moved back to the right), which has caused no end of controversy. Speaking of which, what’s all the fuss about? Ubuntu users are happy to put up with poor quality releases, but move the buttons and all hell breaks lose.

Mark Shuttleworth has made it clear that Ubuntu is not a Democracy and that these decisions are not up for discussion. Quite frankly, that’s fair enough. Each Ubuntu team makes decisions about how things will be and you just have to put up with it, or change it. When it comes to OS X or Windows you are far more restricted than using any Linux distro. If you want ultimate control, fork it and make your own distro. In the mean time, use it, change it, or move on.

Buttons on the left or right aside, the Ubuntu desktop finally looks first class. This new branding is just what the doctor ordered, and will no-doubt make it much more attractive to consumers. Of course, one can also install Gnome Shell to get a taste of what’s to come!

Gnome Shell running on Lucid
Gnome Shell running on Lucid

Next: The Complete Package?

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