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Lucid dream: Ars reviews Ubuntu 10.04
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 17:58

From ARS Technica

During a keynote at the OSCON conference in 2008, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth urged the Linux development community to improve its focus on usability. He vowed that Canonical would contribute financial and technical resources to help make Linux more beautiful and functional. He aimed to raise the bar and set a whole new standard—not just for Linux, but for the entire desktop computing industry.

"The great task ahead of us over the next two years is to lift the experience of the Linux desktop from something that is stable and robust and not so pretty, to something which is art," he said in 2008. "Not emulate, but blow right past Apple in the user experience we deliver to our end users."

The Linux platform has evolved considerably in the two years that have passed since he set that goal, and Ubuntu 10.04, which was officially released last week, offers us an opportunity to evaluate the progress that Canonical and the Ubuntu community have made in their collaborative pursuit of Shuttleworth's ambitious vision.

The new version of Ubuntu is codenamed Lucid Lynx, and is a long-term support (LTS) release, which means that package updates will be available for an extended duration. Typical Ubuntu versions get 18 months of updates, but LTS releases are supported for three years on desktop computers and five years on servers. The LTS releases are important because the longer support cycle tends to attract the interest of hardware vendors and business users.

This is Ubuntu's chance to prove itself as a worthy contender for the mainstream desktop. In this in-depth review, we will take a close look at some of the new features and attempt to determine if Lucid Lynx purrs or growls.
Theme update

One of the most significant changes in Lucid is the introduction of a new default theme. Ubuntu has shed its previous style in favor of a new look that features black trim, orange highlighting, and an aubergine wallpaper. The new theme is part of a broader branding overhaul that will redefine Ubuntu's visual identity.

When the first release of Ubuntu was launched in 2004, it had a distinctive brown theme that was intended to reflect the spirit of "humanity" that defined the distribution's brand. Although orange and other colors were introduced in subsequent releases, the predominantly brown color palette has persisted for the past five years, becoming a common target of criticism among Ubuntu's users.

During the development of Ubuntu 8.04, the previous long-term support release, Canonical's artists began to contemplate the possibility of making sweeping changes to the default theme. A black and orange color scheme was one of the concepts that was discussed at the Ubuntu Developer Summit for 8.04 in 2007. The redesign was deferred and reconsidered in later development cycles but did not become a serious undertaking until work began on Lucid.

Lucid's updated themes were first made public at the beginning of March when Canonical announced its plans to revise Ubuntu's branding. The new default theme, called Ambiance, uses the popular Murrine Gtk+ theme engine. Window menus, titlebars, and panels are black, with a slight gradient at the top that gives them the appearance of depth and roundness. The color of the window background and scrollbar is light beige, but the buttons are shaded darker with a vertical gradient. The selection highlighting, progress bars, checkboxes, and radiobuttons have a salmon color that stands out strongly against the rest of the color scheme.


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