Now, however, it looks like there may be another big change coming down the pike. Specifically, in what feels almost like a tip of the hat to Firefox, a proposal has been made to switch Ubuntu to a monthly release cycle.
x x x
As a possible solution to those and other related problems, Remnant proposes switching Ubuntu to a rapid monthly release process, beginning with the 11.10 release due in October.
Following that version, then, release 11.11 would arrive in November, version 11.12 would come in December, version 12.01 would be released in January, and so on.
Lets leave that for a bit.
Among all Linux distributions I think Ubuntu is the one which has the best chance at the mainstream consumer market. The Ubuntu One cloud based service, their focus on making Linux easier to use for the new user, and the clear nod to new and developing hardware by making their interface easier to port to the touchscreen makes them the most relevant Linux distribution for the average user.
Unity. Earlier this year, Ubuntu got a new desktop with the controversial Unity desktop.
The new desktop is designed to be more user friendly. After booting up this is what you will see:
|Ubuntu 11.04 Unity Desktop
There is a dock on the left side of the screen which you can customize and pin your most commonly used applications to the dock. There is enough space on the dock so that the average user wont have to dig into the applications menu.
Once an application is launch the dock is hidden. The task bar on the bottom has also been remove to maximize the space available for the application.
|Ubuntu 11.04 Unity Desktop
Unity tries to get to helpful. Once you go into Unity's application and file management, it gets too helpful in my opinion.
|Ubuntu 11.04 Application Menu
When you go into the applications menu it shows you your most frequently used applications, which should be redundant. If I set up my dock properly, the contents of "Most Frequently Used" and the dock should be the same. Than it shows me apps available for download. That should really be kept somewhere else, like in the Ubuntu Software Center (an "App Store").
I prefer the simplistic approach of the Gnome 3 desktop - Just scroll down and look for what you want.
|Fedora 15 Gnome 3
The situation is the same with Unity File Manager, places which places an emphasis on favorites, but since Ubuntu 11.04 allows users access to a tradition file manager (folders and sub-folders) and is being radically changed to Lenses in a months time, I see no reason to delve in that.
I do not expect all Ubuntu's changes to be what I personally prefer. Being an old dog, I have gotten used to doing things the old way. The input of new young users would be more relevant. They are after all Ubuntu's target. Suffice it to say with about a 2% share in the desktop market, I can respect any attempt at change.
Monthly releases. But this new proposal for monthly releases is clearly a step in the wrong direction I think.
A operating system is just an app launcher. A good desktop is one that is simple to use and gets out of the way as quickly as possible. We do not spend our time on a computer to marvel at the operating system. When go on the computer to access the web browser, word processor, play a game or some other application to achieve some purpose.
I understood Ubuntu's frequest six month cycle as the operating system develops, but at some point in time it should really stabilize and other than bug fixes and security updates, I think major updates should come once every one to three years.
Well, my 2-cents.