Hello, Unity

This is an early version of Unity, what will hopefully become the new interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10:

Unity on an especially small screen

Unity running on a very small screen

Unity comprises:

  • A launcher that makes opening and switching between applications delightful.
  • A panel where indicators behave uniformly.
  • A view of your installed applications, with Ubuntu Software Center integration.
  • A view of your files, with quick access to favorite folders, recent files, downloads, and simple browsing.
  • A search field, enabling pervasive use of find-as-you-type search so you can find applications, files, and settings with a few keystrokes. (This is not the search field pictured above.)

Some pieces of Unity will be defined further this week at the Ubuntu Developer Summit. Other pieces are available now for testing. Neil Patel, the engineering lead for Unity, has written a nice summary of the features we’ve started to implement, or plan to implement (or plan to plan to implement this week at UDS) for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10, along with instructions for how to test Unity on your computer. You might also be interested in Mark Shuttleworth’s account of why Unity was created and what it will be used for.

I will discuss each piece of Unity separately and in great detail; this is only the opening remark in a long and exciting conversation!

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