How-To Geek

Ubuntu 10.10 Improves Your Linux Desktop Experience [Screenshot Tour]

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From the install screen to a fully loaded desktop, Ubuntu 10.10 looks nicer and is easier to use than its predecessors. We’ll take a look at our favorite new features in Ubuntu’s newest version, appropriately released on 10/10/10.

The Ubuntu Font Debuts

Ubuntu 10.10 is the first version of Ubuntu to come with the Ubuntu font family, and it uses it for many user interface elements by default.


If you’ve been using Ubuntu for any length of time, the change is immediately noticeable. In our opinion, it’s a very positive change, but if you prefer the old font, you can change back to the Sans font in System > Preferences > Appearance.


Email, Chat and Microblogging Are Integrated Well

If you’re like us, you’ve been slowly moving from desktop apps to doing everything in your web browser. 10.10 refines the work that 10.04 started in integrating email, chat, and microblogging into the Ubuntu desktop – and it’s good enough that we’re switching back to desktop apps.


The mail icon in the top panel provides a central location for notifications from Evolution, Empathy and Gwibber. If you don’t use these apps for email, chat, and microblogging, this improved Ubuntu integration may be reason enough to switch.

The Software Center is Better Organized, Offers For-Pay Software

The software center has been improved all around. The first thing you’ll notice is a new section for featured and new software packages.


You will also see a few new entries in the list on the left. One is History, giving you a detailed list of the packages you’ve installed or upgraded.


Another new entry is For Purchase software. Right now there’s only one piece of software to buy, but we’re interested to see if this new avenue for selling Linux apps spurs new development from companies that have stayed away from Linux in the past.


The Installer is Simpler and Faster

Note: The installer shown is from the 10.10 Release Candidate. It should be functionally the same as the final 10.10 installer, though the final version may be updated to use the Ubuntu font.

There have been a few small but extremely useful changes to the installer on the Ubuntu CD. The first is a set of checkboxes that can greatly speed up the computer set-up process by doing some common tasks that you usually have to do manually after your system has finished installing.


The second and most impressive change is that the system will actually start the installation process while you go through the tedious steps of setting your time zone, main user account, and so on.


We did experience some slowdown when trying to fill out some of these screens, but once we finished filling them out, the system had already almost finished installing. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

Other New Additions

While those are the new features we think are the most exciting, there are many other minor additions and changes.

The Update Manager now shows displays a short description more prominently than the actual package name.


If you’re playing music with Rhythmbox, song information and simple controls are available in the volume control applet in the top panel.


Shotwell is now the default application for organizing and making simple changes to photos, replacing F-Spot.


And, of course, many software packages have been updated to more recent versions.

What’s your favorite new feature of Ubuntu 10.10? If you already use 10.04, are these changes enough to get you to upgrade? Let us know in the comments!

Download Ubuntu 10.10
See the full change log

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 10/10/10

Comments (24)

  1. Gamaware

    Those are just Minor changes, i’ll stick to Lucid Lynx for now, in fact I think is much better to use a LTS release than just a 6-month-release

  2. Jon

    The problem is the orange and brown color scheme. Ubuntu has a lot of functionality but the presentation is horrible.

  3. Enes

    Payed software on Linux?? OMG! Thats so stupid…

  4. Nathan

    What I dont understand is that it recommends 32bit instead of 64 bit… this might be a stupid question but what is wrong with 64bit?



  5. Trevor Bekolay


    I use 64-bit on a regular basis, and I haven’t run into any problems, but there are many software packages that are only offered in 32-bit versions. In most cases these will run without issue in a 64-bit version of Ubuntu.

    It’s more that many software developers are still mainly developing for the 32-bit platform, and efforts to update software to 64-bit are likely to be less stable than the well established 32-bit versions.

    However, if you have 4GB or more of RAM, I definitely recommend the 64-bit version so that you can use all of the RAM you have installed.

  6. bob dole

    yes i use only 64bit OS as well, how ever you may run into flash and java problems if you do so.

  7. Trevor Bekolay

    @ bob dole

    Good point. I’ve found that since I switched to Google Chrome and used its built-in flash player I haven’t had any problems. I haven’t had any problems with Java yet either.

  8. SuAlfons

    Why not paid software on Linux?

    A paid DVD-Software btw. is the only legal method of playing a DVD on Linux in many countries. Such as Germany, where overcomming a DVD’s CSS-security by the “standard” Linux way of hacking the code is illegal.
    Of course, everyone does it. But you could not do it on some PC in an office with a chance for it being checked.
    I am willing to pay if the software is not available in free & open source. Btw. Open Source and free-of-charge do not need to be the same.

  9. Zack

    What sucks is that when trying to install this, I accidentally wiped my hard drive. It’s not Ubuntu’s fault (I’m the one that clicked the buttons), but I can’t figure out how to dual boot with Windows in 10.10. It worked flawlessly in 10.04…

  10. Steve

    What a dissapointment that the GUI is still stuck in the 1990’s. Where is the innovation? And Microsoft BTW haven’t done a desktop OS ‘right’ since XP!

  11. JohnnyHTML

    @Steve If you want an “Innovative” swooshy desktop that uses up your CPU and memory resources, then I would definitely recommend Windows 7. You can feel like the coolest cat in the whole of your office bragging about your OS and how much it cost you. When you actually get down to the nitty-gritty of opening firefox and checking the price of your Shares in Microsoft, you might conclude that the swooshy desktop wasn’t actually necessary to achieve the task in hand.

  12. Jaydeep



    it was such a stupidity…!

  13. Stoyan Deckoff

    Tonight I updated through my 10.04 installation

    1)It looks great – probably GnomeDo and elementary should be included for even better look :)
    2) Once you get it, installation is easier than XP for example – and looks way better – not to mention the live USB option(first reason for me to use linux anyway)
    3)Paid apps – why not. Open source apps – YES!!!! I used to live in a different world before going to the linux world. Anyway, Ubuntu hardly needs any apps to be added after the install – all is in there…
    10 out of 10 for 10.10

  14. George

    I formatted my Linux partitions yesterday and installed Ubuntu 10.10. So far, this has been the best version of Ubuntu I’ve used. My install time for all my apps was reduced. I still don’t see a faster boot like others see, but it is stable and runs very well on my Sager notebook. I wonder why the touch pad does not get disabled when you connect a USB mouse.

  15. Xavier Sythe

    @Steve Try Linux Mint KDE Edition. It has all the effects you want, and more!

  16. HTTP

    I just installed it on 2 PCs. It’s VERY nice.
    I have had some compatibility issues from some updates,
    the screen will go black and flash white bars.

  17. lukekire

    I upgraded from 10.04 this 10.10. to tell you the truth i didn’t notice much of a difference, except more software available to be download (that’s nice). I also had some graphic issues, but nothing that couldn’t be solved. Yet, when i noticed the easier install in a virtual machine, i was glad. They made the experience for New linux users a bit easier. not bad, but i do hope they focus more on improving the OS rather than making it easier to use. Just my opinion. Aside that, i do think they were aiming at making it easier to use. And they achieved it. kudos!

  18. Janneman

    Q: “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”

    A: easy, they’re not *free*

  19. Baldemar Huerta

    However, if you have 4GB EXACTLY of RAM, I definitely recommend the PAE kernel so you use all of the RAM you have installed. FTFY.

  20. Jan


    Dude if you don’t like the default theme just change it.

    Ubuntu is the best, I’m using it for a year now.

  21. Dave

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Gamaware. I’ve installed it on two machines and did live CD on a third, all with wireless and it won’t run any of them. All have different wireless cards. From what I can gather from Googling is it’s something to do with WAP security. Lots of posts with similar issues and no answers. No updates either.

  22. Konqueror

    Basically, the 32-bit version is recommended because older PCs might not have a 64-bit support. The primary difference between a 32-bit and 64-bit is that a 32-bit OS can manage a maximum of 4gb RAM effectively and is less efficient in using system resources. On the other hand, a 64-bit version of the OS can manage greater RAM and is more efficient and leads to enhanced performance. Most new PCs support 64-bit versions. However a 32-bit version is recommended since it works on both, newer and older systems.

  23. Konqueror

    Formatting/partitioning is past. VM ware is the future. I can run as many OSs in parallel and toggle between them, much like I toggle between multiple windows. I can try out any new OS without disrupting or affecting the existing OS in anyway. Brilliant it is, I must say!

  24. Fallofshadows

    @konquerer: vmware is a great idea, but running an operating system in a virtual machine is much slower than actually running it on the hard drive. I first used ubuntu in vmware to test it, but I’m very glado dual booted. Besides, it can partition for you during the installation process. It’s quite easy to use :)

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