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Ubuntu 11.10: Word on the Street

Ubuntu 11.10 is out and has been "in the wild" for a couple days now. (Yes, I'm a master of stating the obvious.)

One of the highlights (for me) of an Ubuntu release is watching and analyzing what the non-Ubuntu online media is saying. I love to see whether buzz is increasing and whether the coverage is generally positive. Here's what I've spotted so far:

The OStatic blog reports that Ubuntu 11.10 hype is everywhere and inescapable. Evidently, there's not a website on earth that isn't reporting on the release and hoping to "cash in" on the mania. Likely a slight exaggeration, but great buzz!

Scott Gilbertson of The Register suggests in "Ubuntu's Oneiric Ocelot: Nice, but necessary?" that "unless you have some clear need to upgrade, I suggest riding it out for now." He has praise for the new Ubuntu Software Centre, but little love for Unity. He fixates on the lack of a Gnome desktop. He's not happy with Thunderbird as the new email client either. Hmmm. Not a lot of love in this article.

Adrian Bridgewater of Dr. Dobbs in his article "Ubuntu 11.10 Is DevOps Distilled" sticks to the facts about the cloud, Juju, LXC, ARM and other aspects of Ubuntu 11.10 server. Neutral, report-it-as-it-is. Good stuff!

Matthew Humphries of Geek.com concludes that "Overall, this looks to be the best version of Ubuntu yet for existing users and those considering the jump from Windows or Mac." I like the sound of that!

Christopher Tozzi of The Var Guy laments that Ubuntu releases have become somewhat unexciting, but for a good reason: "Ubuntu has become so consistent and predictable in its evolution that the release day just doesn’t feel like as big a deal as it used to." For me, release day is still an exciting time but I will agree that Ubuntu is maturing so perhaps the "shock value" is a little lower that in the early days.

Ryan Paul (of Gwibber fame) reports at Ars Technica that "Although Unity has come a long way, there are still some areas where mediocre design compromises Unity's intended usability advantages." He does say something positive though: "The ability to sell programs to Ubuntu users through the Ubuntu Software Center could make the platform a more appealing target for commercial software developers than it has been historically." A mixed review, but according to the site they'll have a full review shortly.

Scott Merrill concludes at TechCrunch that "The upgrade to 11.04 was a bit disconcerting at first, but the more I use it the less it bothers me. As Canonical works to improve the lens mechanism of Unity, and as third party lenses proliferate, I expect that I’ll enjoy using 11.10 more." Scott's still clinging to the notion that people aren't comfortable with the Unity decision, and aren't aware of the value of Lenses (yet). Scott's apparent fixation with the kernel bugs me. (Ubuntu is not linux.)

So what can one conclude so far? I conclude that there's a ton of coverage out there, much more than in previous releases. The reviews are mixed, but there are distinct threads that are positive. That's an improvement over previous Ubuntu releases, especially 11.04. Now, if we can just get people seeing the value of Unity, shedding their fixation with desktops past, and dropping the L word once and for all we'll really make some progress. :)

How about you? What are your thoughts about Ubuntu 11.10? Have you spotted any positive (or negative) press? Please share your thoughts and links in the comments.

Ubuntu Software Center: Streamline Your Software Experience

Welcome to the continuing story about what happens when an Ubuntu local community meets great software and decides to help make it more accessible.

The Ubuntu Vancouver Local Community believes that one barrier to the widespread adoption of Ubuntu's ethos and its collection of outstanding software is a shortage of well-written and accessible user guides. Guides that make people say "Wow! I didn't know Ubuntu is that easy. I didn't know Ubuntu could make my life easier and more fun!"

The Ubuntu Software Center is one of the most important components of Ubuntu. It's the entry point for new users into the universe of excellent software that is written with freedom in mind. It's our delivery channel. It's an Ubuntu first (now copied by a fruit company), and it's full of amazing.

With that in mind, back in the winter of 2011 I set out to catalyze the creation of the first comprehensive guide to the Ubuntu Software Center written primarily for the benefit of those coming from the world of proprietary, community-less software where random apps are downloaded from random web sites. My second small spark to hopefully light a massive bonfire. (Unity was the first in this one-two punch.)

With the help of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) we, Charlene Tessier and I, identified a talented technical writer, Courtney Loo, to partner with us and to help new users get software the easy and fun way.

Many months later, dozens of edits, a few curve-balls thrown at us by the world, and here we are! I am happy to announce that our first Ubuntu Software Center guide is complete and ready for you and the people you know that are new to Ubuntu. The creation of this guide really was a second labour of love, and I hope the results will speak accordingly.

Get a copy here. Read it. But more importantly, give our guide to someone who is trapped on the other side. They are stuck and they need our help. This guide is really more for them:

Credits

Please join me in thanking Courtney Loo and Charlene Tessier for their terrific effort. And, please send them a note.

Special thanks to the Ubuntu Software Center Team for making USC a delight.

This guide is dedicated to Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt), Ubuntu visionary. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place.

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Want to Help?

All Ubuntu community members are invited to help make UVLC's guides even better and to help get them into the hands of even more people. The Ubuntu Software Center team needs you, and so does your own Ubuntu local community. Join one today and help change the world.

Unity. Simplify Your Life.

Welcome to the continuing story about what happens when an Ubuntu local community meets great software and decides to help make it more accessible.

The Ubuntu Vancouver Local Community believes that one barrier to the widespread adoption of Ubuntu's ethos and its collection of outstanding software is a shortage of well-written and accessible user guides. Guides that make people say "Wow! I didn't know Ubuntu is that easy. I didn't know Ubuntu could do that!".

Unity is most new users' entry point into Ubuntu, and first impressions count. Unity is the ethos of Ubuntu. Unity is our "secret sauce".

With that in mind, back in the winter of 2011 I set out to catalyze the creation of the first comprehensive guide to Unity on Ubuntu written for the benefit of a person that had previously been trapped in the world of proprietary, community-less software. My small spark to hopefully light a bonfire.

With the help of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) we, Charlene Tessier and yours truly, identified a talented technical writer, Pritpaul Bains, to partner with us and to help new users adopt Ubuntu, not only in Vancouver, but everywhere on earth.

After many months of blood, sweat, and tears (literally), I am happy to announce that our first Unity guide is complete and ready for your enjoyment. The creation of this guide really was a labour of love, and I hope the results will speak accordingly.

Get a copy here. Read it. But more importantly, give our guide to someone who is trapped on the other side. This guide is really more for them:

Credits

Please join me in thanking Pritpaul Bains and Charlene Tessier for a job well done. Please send them a note.

Special thanks to Jason Smith, Manish Sinha, Rick Spencer, and Jorge
Castro for their contributions to this document.

Special thanks to the Unity Team for making Unity amazing.

This guide is dedicated to Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu visionary and founder of the Ubuntu project. From the bottom of our hearts thank you for making the world a better place.

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Want to Help?

All Ubuntu community members are invited to help make UVLC's guides even better and to help get them into the hands of even more people. Unity needs you, and so does your own Ubuntu local community. Join one today and help change the world.

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