The latest release of the popular Linux flavor, Ubuntu release 11.04 “œNatty Narwhal”, developed by the open source community and Canonical, is expected to elicit new experiences from older users of Ubuntu, as well as new users with its much improved graphical user interface (GUI) called Unity.
The new GUI is far more than a design change but is seen to attract other software developers to Ubuntu, which should improve the availability of additional software on business and ordinary desktop use.
Two of the popular desktop environments are still available in Ubuntu 11.04; these are GNOME and KDE, which offer the traditional method of input for previous users of Ubuntu. However, Unity is targeted at notebook and netbook users, whose screen space is somewhat limited.
Among the applications that are included with “œNatty Narwhal” are the office desktop application set called LibreOffice (which replaced OpenOffice), music player Banshee, Firefox 4.0, photo management software Shotwell, video player Totem, torrent client Transmission, optical media editor Brasero, among others.
The release of “œNatty Narwhal” was celebrated in the country by the local organization Ubuntu Philippine Team Local Community (Philippine LoCoTeam) last July 1 at the office of software development firm Orange & Bronze Software Labs (O&B).
According to Zak Elep, Philippine LoCoTeam leader and also the head of the IT Services Division at O&B, the new Ubuntu release is designed to be easily used by first-time users of a Linux operating system.
Elep said many private companies are now using Ubuntu for their computers. This is due to the free-to-use nature of Ubuntu, as well as the availability of desktop applications that are just as good as traditional applications.
“Over other Linux desktop distros [distributions], Ubuntu has the advantage of being easy-to-use, as well as having a solid infrastructure underneath. Ubuntu also has a broader coverage of language support, with the widely used Unicode as the default character encoding,” Elep added. “Furthermore, there are Ubuntu variants that cater to specific needs, such as Ubuntu Server, Edubuntu for schools, Mythbuntu for home theater PCs, and Ubuntu Studio for professional multimedia editing.”
He said that there are already a number of government offices that are using Linux. Due to the budget constraints of public offices that have multiple computers, Linux has become the best alternative to traditional desktop operating systems and applications. This could be a potential market for Ubuntu in the Philippines.
“Ubuntu’s Unity is an improved desktop interface that can be easily used even by first time PC users,” Elep said. “It is also a secure operating system due to the fact that there are only few viruses and trojans that target Linux.”
Elep also said that the local community team for Ubuntu will be conducting additional events in some locations in the Philippines. The group will be participating in the Ubuntu Global Jam in September, as well as the upcoming Software Freedom Day.
Ubuntu 11.04 “œNatty Narwhal” is available for download at www.ubuntu.com. Conversely, the local community team will also distribute pressed CDs to specific areas in the country.