Ubuntu 11.10, code named Oneiric Ocelot, is now available. It has loads of new functions, which puts other operating systems to shame! Here are a few cool features of this new release.
The new Unity interface works well with mouse, keyboard and even touch. The dash allows you to quickly search for files, music, applications and everything in your computer. The launcher allows you to quickly launch your commonly used applications. The 'must-have' feature for music lovers is the Music Lens, which allows you to browse and find your music on your computer quickly and easily. You can sort music in folders by author, album or song wise. Similarly any new lenses or filters can be developed to have a multidimensional view of your data.
Mozilla Thunderbird is now the default email application, which happens to also be my favourite. Thunderbird supports all email standards and can manage thousands of emails in a breeze. It also has very good filters to quickly search through your emails.
Firefox 7 is the default browser. Firefox has seen vast improvements over its earlier versions and is now faster and has a much lower memory footprint. For people who prefer other browsers such as Chrome/Chromium, they can easily install those from the Ubuntu Software Centre. Skype, Flash, Acrobat and other popular applications can also be installed from there too.
The Ubuntu Software Centre is your place to install new applications, both free and paid for. With this release it also has application ratings, which makes it easy for you to decide which application to install. The Software Centre has a large collection of applications from education, games, science to development tools and more.
Ubuntu goes social
Ubuntu's best kept secret is social networking. The Empathy IM client allows you to chat with your Facebook friends as well as integrates the usual suspects such as Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live (MSN), Jabber, ICQ and many others. The Gwibber social networking client collates all of your social messages from Facebook and Twitter. This is integrated with your desktop, so you can see your updates. You can also post your own updates straight from Gwibber.
With Shotwell, you can easily manage your photos, crop them, edit them and publish them on Flickr, Picasa or Facebook. OpenShot Video Editor makes it easy to edit, clip and resize your videos. It supports many effects and file formats. 3D has attracted the attention of OpenShot developers and they have enabled the functionality to add 3D animated titles to your videos.
Data back up is also a key feature in Ubuntu 11.10, and you realise how important it is when you don't back up and lose data! To make your backup activity easy, Ubuntu bundles Ubuntu One which can automatically backup all the files to the cloud. If you need external backup, you have Déjà Dup, which means you can backup to external media.
Ubuntu One gives you 5GB of free online storage, it can synchronise your data between Ubuntu PCs as well as Windows. It also has clients for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android so you can access your files on the go. Ubuntu One mobile client also gives you an option to backup your photos automatically. For example if you take a photo on your mobile, it would get backed up automatically to the cloud. It also allows you to stream your music to your mobile device. If you have tons of music and don't want to carry all of it with you, you can keep it on Ubuntu One and stream it to your mobile phone when you want to listen to them.
The Author is Regional Manager -Asia Pacific, Canonical. The views expressed here are his own. He blogs regularly at www.cityblogger.com and can be reached on prakash at canonical.com