Ubuntu 'Unity' Desktop Environment First Impressions
When Canonical announced last fall that Ubuntu 11.04 would be released with a home-brewed desktop environment called "Unity", I found myself almost immediately excited. As Ubuntu came equipped with GNOME as its primary desktop environment since the distro's inception, the idea that Canonical would be pushing it aside for something it was creating was rather shocking.
While it may not seem like a big deal on the surface, Canonical's choice to move over to a different default desktop environment is impressive. What it says to me is that the company is confident that it can create a desktop environment "better" than GNOME, and as I've never been a big fan of it, the idea of another full-fledged alternative desktop environment was appealing.
Since I use Ubuntu full-time on my notebook, I decided to upgrade to the beta and check things out. Upgrading from 10.10 to 11.04 wasn't an issue at all, but I did have to re-install virtually every program that I use that doesn't ship with the distro, such as GIMP, Xchat, FileZilla and others. The entire install process was fast though, and before I knew it, I was back at my desktop - sans GNOME.