Preview: Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot – getting there
We were very excited to find out Canonical released the latest version of Ubuntu – the 11.10 or Oneiric Ocelot. While the name doesn’t particularly say anything, the operating system is getting closer to being the only thing you need to run your tasks.
One would think the “Hey, good looking!” bit is just a marketing gimmick but truth to be told the new Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot looks and feels better than ever. Back in April we took a closer look at the Natty Narwhal and found out Ubuntu had done a great job at improving things they had started years ago. Oneiric Ocelot is all about refining the things people actually enjoy using. Things like the Software Center, System Preferences, Ubuntu One and the whole out of the box experience have been improved. Furthermore the apps available for downloading have been also improved, making the whole user experience more enjoyable.
We decided to analyze the apps currently available for Ubuntu and see if the OS can actually replace a more advanced operating system such as Windows or Mac OS X. Let’s start with the serious stuff.
You really have three choices: the pre-installed Firefox, Chrome/ Chromium and Opera. We tried all of them and our safest bet is Google’s browser, mainly because it has nice plug-ins and great web apps. Furthermore Google has a nice suite of apps that handle documents, photos, bookmarks, emails, blogs and many more.
Ubuntu comes with the LibreOffice apps which are basically customized versions of Oracle’s OpenOffice. The apps offer a great deal of options for creating, editing and saving your documents. The good thing about the LibreOffice suite is the possibility to import Microsoft Office documents, so if you’re thinking of switching there’s no reason for you not to.
Ubuntu also offers Mozilla’s Thunderbird mail client pre-installed which we all now can handle pretty much anything that gets thrown at it. The only thing that bothered us was Thunderbird’s constant need of saving e-mail addresses as contacts in order to display all the content.
For syncing files we are being offered the Ubuntu One option which grants 5GB of free storage. The service is also available on Android and iOS devices for that constant access we need. Although it offers a seamless experience we also enjoy keeping our Dropbox account.
Perhaps the most used app on Ubuntu is GIMP. The popular Photoshop-like image editing software is the perfect tool for minor adjustments and even heavier editing. For video editing we enjoyed using the OpenShot video editor and for viewing the content we stuck to the native solution. Music lovers will find Banshee to be the best solution for music files and even buying songs (Ubuntu One Music Store).
The Other Stuff
If you do want to get technical and install more advanced apps and settings the Ubuntu forum can help you in a lot of ways. It may be hard in the beginning but in the end, if you’re really committed and passionate about repositories, the Terminal and a whole lot of sudo apt stuff, then Ubuntu is the OS for you.
However there are some things you’re going to miss and those things are the apps we’ve gotten used to. For those owning an iPod things are going to be difficult since there is no iTunes for Linux. Although Evernote and Tweetdeck may have web apps they still don’t offer anything compatible with Linux. The Empathy messenger service may offer support for Yahoo and Windows Live Messenger we still missed the original apps. These are some apps that we use frequently but there are many more missing from the Ubuntu Software Center.
Wrapping it up
To sum it up, Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot is a more polished version than the ones before it and it offers a decent solution for those who want a fast, reliable, stable and good looking OS. This doesn’t get any better if you also think about the price: absolutely free!
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