updated 05:45 pm EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
Free Linux-based OS improves user interface
Ubuntu 11.10, the free Linux-based OS is available for download (free, ubuntu). The latest version, also known as Oneiric Ocelot, includes several enhancements, most notably a new launcher, new dashboard, and new app switcher. The new update provides access to the Ubuntu Software Center to get apps supporting the OS.
The new launcher sits on the left-hand side of the screen. Its intent is to simplify and accelerate system navigation. Using it, apps and bookmarks can be added and removed, and open windows can be tracked easily.
The dash simplifies accessing shortcuts and searching for apps. It similarly provides quick access to e-mail, music, and pictures. App switching changes have simplified managing multiple windows with an Apple Exposé-style thumbnail view of running windows.
The Ubuntu Software Centre is a portal providing access to the apps which run on Obuntu. It has been redesigned to allow a user to view the top-rated apps, compare apps by rating and user reviews, and keep track of what's been installed, on the computer.