Tag: Natty Narwhal

Going back to Natty

On the 13th October 2011 the latest version of Ubuntu became generally available. It is called Oneiric Ocelot, and some of the enhancements contained in this release are listed in this lifehacker article: Ubuntu Linux 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” Released; Here’s What’s New

Because of my strict habit of backing up my computer to two separate external devices on each and every day on which I have used it, I decided it would be easier to blow it away and install Oneiric from scratch. I have my backups to get my data and program settings back from, so why not? The alternative was to do an over the top upgrade but I thought i’d take the opportunity to have a clean and fresh install.

I installed Oneiric and then pulled back my data and added my small list of must-have applications from the Ubuntu Software Centre. Within 2 hours I was all done. Happy days? Not quite. After a few days working with 11.10 I have reversed the process and gone back to using Natty Narwhal, 11.04.

Why?

Well, there are a lot of small nice touches in Oneiric. Many of the new items that were introduced in Natty, especially to do with the Unity interface, have been refined and improved. You can see where the developers and designers are trying to get to, and they’re showing great promise in getting there. But there are a few niggling glitches that I can’t put up with.

Quite often an application will open with its menu bar hidden, tucked underneath the status bar of the desktop. Applications periodically need to be forcibly shut because they have frozen. Programs that worked fine in Natty have a stubborn streak in Oneiric. Sometimes things need two clicks when one should have been enough. Cumulatively there were too many small annoyances, so I reverted to Natty.

I will wait until Ubuntu 12.04 comes out, and see what the experience with Precise Pangolin is like. The 12.04 release is going to be a LTS release, which means it is a Long Term Support release. Between now and then the Ubuntu developers and designers will be doing much more work in refining and polishing the Unity interface and, importantly, the developers of the applications will be able to make the small tweaks and changes to their software to make it integrate and perform in Unity cohesively.

I’m not discouraged by my experience of Oneiric, instead I am excited about the potential for Precise Pangolin.

Here, Canonical talk about their Long Term Support being extended from 3 to 5 years: Ubuntu 12.04 to feature extended support period for desktop users

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Unity Keyboard Shortcuts

What can I say. I’m old school. For me keyboard shortcuts are usually a lot faster than using the mouse. Many of these use the Super Key. This is the key that on most keyboards has the Windows logo on it.

Super Key Opens the dash.
Super Key (held down) Opens the Launcher and numbers the entries. Hit a number to launch that application.
Alt+F1 Opens the Launcher and allows you to use the Up/Down arrow keys to move the highlight from application to application. Hit Enter to open the highlighted application. Press the Right Arrow to show the Quicklist (if the highlighted application has one).
Alt+F2 Opens dash in search mode. Type the name of an application and it will provide suggestions as you type.
Super+A Opens up the application window from the Launcher.
Super+F Opens up the files and folders window from the Launcher.
Super+W Display all open windows. Click on one to have that application become the active window. Note that this shows all applications from all workspaces. If the window you click on is from a different workspace, that workspace becomes your working desktop.
Super+D Hides all windows. Repeating Super+D restores them.
Super+T Opens the bin.
Super+S Shows all workspaces. You can then drag windows from one workspace to another with the mouse. Click on the application or workspace you wish to work with.
Ctrl+Alt+T Opens a Terminal window.
Ctrl+Alt+L Locks the screen. Needs your password to get back in.
Ctrl+Alt+Left, Right, Up or Down Changes your working desktop to a different workspace.
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+ Left, Right, Up or Down Moves the current window to a different workspace.
F10 – Opens the first menu on top panel. This will be the menu of the active window (the application which has focus) or the default Ubuntu desktop menu.

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Migrating My Data

The data migration process was relatively simple. I back up my data on each and every day that I use my computer. The backups go to external USB drives. (I did that when I used Windows; I do it now on Ubuntu. Back up, Back up, Back up. It’s the only safe way to use a computer. Any computer.)

I made sure my backups were current and then installed Ubuntu. When the installation had finished I connected my USB drives and dragged my data back to the appropriate folders.

In your home folder in Ubuntu you have folders with such names as Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. These are the Ubuntu equivalents to the Windows folders called My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, etc.

That much was simple. It required nothing more than copying files.

This covered off all of my office documents, music and pictures. The documents were either created by me using the OpenOffice.org office suite or they were emailed to me as attachments. Without exception those attachments were created by others using Microsoft Office.

Ubuntu used to come pre-configured with OpenOffice.org. This latest release of Ubuntu (11.04 Natty Narwhal) has replaced OpenOffice.org with LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a separate and distinct project, based on the OpenOffice.org source code. (That deserves a post of its own.)

LibreOffice.org works with the all of the document file formats that OpenOffice.org works with, including the Microsoft Office formats, so there was no panic there.

Some applications such as Firefox and Thunderbird were handled as special cases. These will be covered off in future posts.

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The Learning Curve

I’ve recently blown away Windows 7 Professional from my main computer and installed Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal.

The continual problems and blue screens just got the better of me, and I ditched the whole sorry mess. Ubuntu installed in 20 minutes, didn’t ask for any drivers and is running like a dream.

All of the software I used in Windows was open source or free software anyway, and it was all cross-platform – what was there to lose apart from frustration?

This version of Ubuntu features the new interface called Unity.

Journeyman is an old term meaning someone who is no longer an apprentice but not yet a master craftsman. That’s where I am with Gnu/Linux and Ubuntu.

This is my record of interesting things I learn as I explore Ubuntu, and any tips or gotchas or warnings for those who might decide to follow me.

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