Canonical announced Unity, a new Ubuntu desktop environment designed for netbooks and related touch-based devices. The upcoming Ubuntu Light operating system will be based on Unity, this will be an instant-on operating system intended for the dual-boot instant web market. According to Canonical, the Dell Mini 10v netbook with SSD can boot Ubuntu Light in just seven seconds.
Canonical today unveiled a new desktop environment called 'Unity' at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Belgium. Unity will be the desktop environment for Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, released in October 2010, and is available today to developers building applications for the netbook environment.
Unity is designed for netbooks and related touch-based devices. It includes a new panel and application launcher that makes it fast and easy to access preferred applications, such as the browser, while removing screen elements that are rarely used in mobile and netbook computing.
In parallel, Canonical announced Ubuntu Light, an implementation of Ubuntu that is based on Unity and intended for the dual-boot 'instant-web' market. This pared-down version of Ubuntu features chat, IM, browser and media player applications and is aimed at PC manufacturers seeking an 'instant-web' experience that complements Windows on consumer PCs.
Ubuntu Light distinguishes itself by connecting the user to the web, with a running browser, in under 10 seconds. The product includes a media player and tools to integrate with Windows to access music files, photos, etc. This is a new market for Ubuntu and research into the requirements for this market drove many of the design principles for Unity.
PCs equipped with Ubuntu Light offer users immediate access to the web and personal content - photos, music and documents. For mobile users, or simply for cases where the simplified interface of Ubuntu is more appropriate, Ubuntu Light saves time associated with a full Windows boot and login. Ubuntu Light can be used on a standalone PC or notebook without Windows, but it is particularly designed for dual-boot environments, where it is installed alongside Windows and presented as an option at boot.
Ubuntu Light is available to OEMs immediately.
"This is a very exciting development for the Ubuntu ecosystem and it is with great pleasure that we share Unity at UDS today," said Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical. "Unity is a new canvas for the collective Ubuntu imagination to paint on. It has proven a perfect base for Ubuntu Light, and the roadmap ahead promises to make Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition a landmark release."