As I first mentioned last Friday I've installed Ubuntu 11.10 in a VMware virtual machine. Today I spent a few more minutes checking out how it worked. One of the first things the installation did after I started it back up was to download about 60 updates. Considering it was just released, I find that a bit peculiar. But then I always find it peculiar when a newly released distribution version such as Ubuntu downloads a slew of patches right after it's release. Not to worry, though; Fedora does the same thing, as does OpenSUSE.
What I wanted to note was the use of Unity 2D on the desktop. Even thought it's not using hardware acceleration, it can still support credible transparency as shown by the terminals.
One aspect of the launcher I find somewhat annoying is the inability to launch more than one instance. I can understand this on an Android tablet. But this is a genuine Linux desktop. You should be able to launch additional copies just by clicking on the icon. I discovered rather quickly that you can right click on an icon and get a simplified menu that allows for the launch of additional instances, such as multiple terminals.
Finally, Dash is shown in all its transparent glory on top of several desktop applications, such as Ars Technica's review of Ubuntu 11.10 in Firefox. And therein lies an interesting conundrum. The version of Firefox in this version of Ubuntu is 7.0.1. Will Ubuntu keep up with Firefox, such that when Firefox releases version 8? Will Ubuntu pass version 8 of Firefox on as an update? Every other Linux distribution I know of doesn't. It will be interesting to see what happens.
And based on that interest I tried to look for and install Chrome for Linux via Software Center. Unfortunately that didn't happen because I've done something to break Software Center, which I was only able to determine by starting software-center in a shell. Consider the following output:
2011-10-24 14:58:45,624 - softwarecenter.fixme - WARNING - logs to the root logger: '('/usr/share/software-center/softwarecenter/netstatus.py', 108, '__init_network_state')'
2011-10-24 14:58:45,623 - root - WARNING - failed to init network state watcher 'org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NoServer: Failed to connect to socket /var/run/dbus/system_bus_socket: Connection refused'
2011-10-24 14:58:45,750 - softwarecenter.ui.gtk3.em - INFO - EM's: 17 15 21
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/bin/software-center", line 151, in
app = SoftwareCenterAppGtk3(datadir, xapian_base_path, options, args)
File "/usr/share/software-center/softwarecenter/ui/gtk3/app.py", line 243, in __init__
self.backend = get_install_backend()
File "/usr/share/software-center/softwarecenter/backend/installbackend.py", line 70, in get_install_backend
install_backend = AptdaemonBackend()
File "/usr/share/software-center/softwarecenter/backend/installbackend_impl/aptd.py", line 195, in __init__
bus = get_dbus_bus()
File "/usr/share/software-center/softwarecenter/backend/installbackend_impl/aptd.py", line 62, in get_dbus_bus
bus = dbus.SystemBus()
File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/_dbus.py", line 202, in __new__
File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/_dbus.py", line 108, in __new__
bus = BusConnection.__new__(subclass, bus_type, mainloop=mainloop)
File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/dbus/bus.py", line 125, in __new__
bus = cls._new_for_bus(address_or_type, mainloop=mainloop)
dbus.exceptions.DBusException: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NoServer: Failed to connect to socket /var/run/dbus/system_bus_socket: Connection refused
I'll probably either repair or re-install Software Center via apt-get (thank goodness for apt-get). As I said I have no idea what broke or why. It may have been me, or it may have been the update that came rattling down the series of tubes. I've seen worse happen to Ubuntu after an update. This is what makes Ubuntu users, new and grizzled, really annoyed. I have yet to cast this version aside, but the internal instabilities are taking the shine off the good feelings I developed with regards to the Unity shell.
Update 6 December
A post based on questions from Rick Reumann's comment below: http://blogbeebe.blogspot.com/2011/12/at-work-with-linux-digging-into-ubuntu.html