Ubuntu LogoMaverick Meerkat is around the corner. Ubuntu 10.10 – the ten out of then release – of which rumors circulate that it will be released on the 10th of October (to complete a 10/10/10 release date) is almost here.

Today we take a look at it, and note some interesting things, among them a new installer…

First Impressions

UPDATE – apparently there have been some changes since the last update. I am updating my install as well to see what the changes are. Thanks Jet for the headsup. The Wallpaper is one of the things that got updated. Will keep you posted.

And below is the new wallpaper:

The Much Prettier Wallpaper

The Updated Wallpaper. Better. (Click To Enlarge)

This is still a Beta release, but if you were not explicitly told that, you would be excused for thinking this was a final release. Sure there are a few minor rough edges, but in the short time I have played with it I have experienced no crashes, and only one problem with Ubuntu One itself – or the application at least.

The color scheme for the beta release is all Lucid. It sports some orange accents now, maybe a hint of a change in colors? I don’t know…

The wallpaper has three garish orange spots scattered over the desktop, and active buttons are highlighted in orange.

I am not sure I like that, but it will probably just last until the “real” color scheme is revealed with the Release Candidate or maybe even the final release.

For some reason I imagine Maveric in a sandy grey. Don’t ask me why, nothing so far has pointed to this – maybe it is me having seen Meerkat in the wild in South Africa with the sandy grey of the Limpopo Bushveld as a backdrop.

(Please note that I took all of the screenies from a virtual machine – I did not want to install the Beta on a “real” machine yet – that will come with the RC and Final releases…)

The Maverick Beta Desktop

The Beta Desktop - note the orange dots. This has been replaced. (Click to Enlarge)

Notice the use of orange?

Updating the Beta went well. I balked a bit at the dailogue used: “Upgrading” as opposed to “Updating.” It conjured images of breakage and re-installation, but all went well.

Behold, my crappy Internet connection trying its manly best to get the upgrade down the tubes to my house.

Beta Upgrades

384ADSL For the win. (Click To Enlarge)

Seriously, if someone wants to sponsor me a faster Internet package contact me. *nudge*

Installation

The first major changes become apparent here. Ubuntu has improved the installed a lot, in my opinion. It is now aimed at the less technical user, and hides a lot of the possible confusing options from the user.

One thing that now happens, is that the actual system install takes place while you are still entering your personal information. This cuts down on the installation time a lot. Also of note – you get an option to install codecs while installing, negating the need for installing everything later.

The New Installer

The New Installer. I like - Do You? (Click To Enlarge)

Note that you can now also download updates while installing. I opted against this – I have crappy internet at home – and if there are any updates that have been included after this I might have missed it.

Setting up Partitions

Simple - this seems to be the mantra for the installer. (Click To Enlarge)

If you click “Install Now” you will start installing your OS, after that you will be asked to enter your user information. This is a departure from how things worked in the past.

Partition Choosing

This is what you will see if you select one of the other options. (Click To Enlarge)

The options are much presented much better to the user. It is neater and better laid out.

Setting Timezone

Note that the partition is being set already? (Click to Enlarge)

While you choose your timezone the partition is being formatted in the background. Nice. I can’t believe this has not been done before. Honestly I never thought of this possibility, but since the installer is running in a live environment it makes perfect sense to be able to work with the hardware while you are setting options.

The Keyboard Layout

The Progress Bar at the bottom tells you how the install is proceeding. (Click To Enlarge)

While you are choosing your keyboard layout the system files are being copied to disk…

Setting User Information

Entering User Information. (Click To Enlarge)

Notice that logging in automatically is the default option here. I kinda glanced over this and when the OS logged in automatically first boot I was nonplussed for a moment. Looking at the screenshot again I realized that I did the opposite of what I intended here. Maybe the reverse should be offered here?

On previous versions of Ubuntu logging in automatically has caused some options with applications that needed the Gnome Keyring, hopefully the Ubuntu team has addressed this since they are offering logging in automatically as default.

Password and Encryption

Notice the option to encrypt your /home partition. (Click To Enlarge)

Where previous versions (with the possible exemption of Lucid) you needed the alternate installer to encrypt your /home. Here it is a simple tickbox away. I have shied away from this – maybe it is time to try again?

After all this copying of files and downloading of updates the installation is done.

Installation Done

Without Much Fanfare you are DONE. (Click to enlarge)

Installation of Maverick Meerkat is quick and painless. It is delayed somewhat by the downloading of third party packages like the codecs, but other than that you have little issues.

Aptitude is missing

I like me some aptitude. I prefer it to apt-get, no concrete reason really, but some bloggers have raised a stink about this.

Missing Aptitude

Aptitude is gone :( (Click To Enlarge)

Some people have linked the removal of Aptitude to the introduction of DRM support in Ubuntu. I am not too sure about this. Others have pointed out that aptitude was supposed to replace apt-get which would become deprecated.

I am adopting a wait and see approach.

Other

Firefox is still at 3.6.9 for the Beta release – I wonder if they will include the Firefox 4 Beta like they did with previous releases?

Firefox 3.6.9

The "old" firefox soldiers on for this release. (Click To Enlarge)

I encountered exactly one problem while spending a few hours with Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat. That was with Ubuntu One.

It refused to allow me to log into the service from the desktop – even though I was able to log in to it from the browser inside the VM.

I am guessing this is a minor glitch somewhere.

Ubuntu Software Center – and the first paid for app.

Ubuntu Software Center keeps being incrementally improved. There are minor changes across the board.

The File menu includes an option to reinstall previously bought applications, for instance:

You can re-install paid for apps

You can Re-Install paid for applications. (Click To Enlarge)

There are also “Featured Apps” and “What’s New”

So... What's New?

The Featured and New Apps

And of course – the first application you can buy:

X Adventure

The First Cash ap is X Adventure (Click To Enlarge)

Summary

Maverick looks good. I cannot comment on the actual look of the desktop, yet, but the general impression is of a lot of improvements across the board.

Will we have a totally new look to the OS? I think maybe. You never know. Will Ubuntu go down the road to money making venture putting users needs on the backburner in the quest for dollars?

I hope not.

Certainly the introduction of at least one application that you can now buy is an exciting development.

Keep watching for more updates as I become aware of them.

Related posts:

  1. Review: Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat – Wif Screenies and Video