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The Unity Panel

Ubuntu 11.10 Review: Benchmarked Against Windows 7
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The Panel resides along the upper edge of the screen, much like the top panel of pre-Natty Ubuntu and Mac OS X. The Ocelot Panel differs slightly from the Narwhal Panel, as it is no longer made up of three elements, but just two: the global menu and indicators.

Above: Natty Panel. Below: Oneiric PanelAbove: Natty Panel. Below: Oneiric Panel

No Dash

First and foremost, the Panel lost the Dash button to the Launcher. This is not that big of a move. The Dash button is now just a dozen or so pixels lower than before. The only difference is blindly jamming the mouse to the upper-left corner of the screen and clicking no longer works for launching Dash. Anyone who has grown used to doing that needs some new habits.

Global Menu

While Oneiric retains Natty's controversial global menu, it shifts to the far-left edge of the Panel due to the missing Dash button. This places the window controls (specifically the close button) in the top-left corner of the screen. So, if you're in that aforementioned camp of cursor-jammers, you'll find yourself closing the foreground application instead.

The Desktop Global MenuThe Desktop Global Menu

Indicators

Mail/Messaging

The mail/messaging indicator's position changes from being the last indicator before the time to being the first indicator in the strip. The contents of the mail/messaging indicator menu also change.

The Mail/Messaging Indicator MenuThe Mail/Messaging Indicator Menu

Mail and Broadcast accounts switched spots, with the entry for email now placed higher than social media. And there is no longer any Set Up before the entry for Chat. Messaging status can also be changed directly from this menu. This was previously part of the User indicator.

A new entry marked Clear is appended to the bottom of the messaging menu. Clicking on Clear removes the new item status from the indicator. However, new messages are still shown when the menu is opened.

Connection

The Connection indicator is represented by either up/down arrows or Wi-Fi bars, depending on whether you're using a wired or wireless connection. The menu has options for Wired/Wireless Network, the name of the connection, the option to Disconnect, a sub-menu for VPN Connections, a check box to Enable Networking, Connection Information, and an entry to Edit Connections.

The Connection Indicator MenuThe Connection Indicator Menu

Volume

The Volume indicator is only slightly changed in Ubuntu 11.10 in that it loses its orange color. We're not entirely sure why this was done; the orange slider made it really easy to see the volume level. Now you have to focus on the position of the slider handle. The handle also lost the three little grips, yielding a smoother look.

The Volume Indicator MenuThe Volume Indicator Menu

Clock/Calendar

The Clock indicator remains mostly the same. However, the Calendar lost its orange highlighting. Notably, the weather option is still absent in Oneiric.

The Clock/Calendar IndicatorThe Clock/Calendar Indicator

User

The User indicator is now represented by your full name as opposed to your username. Now that all communications tools are moved to the Mail/Messaging indicator, the User menu is now solely for manipulating user accounts.

The User Indicator MenuThe User Indicator Menu

The User menu lists Switch User Account, Guest Session, each individual user account, Online Accounts, and User Accounts. The first three are self-explanatory, though we don't see the need for Switch User Account, since all users can be switched to directly. User Accounts opens the system settings dialog for user configuration.

The one entirely new entry, Online Accounts, is somewhat of a mystery. It only appears to accept Google accounts for now, and we're not sure how entering your Google account affects anything. Google+ does not appear in Gwibber, GMail is not in Thunderbird, Google Calendar doesn't add anything to the Calendar, and GoogleTalk doesn't show up in Empathy.

Logout/Settings

Because this menu now holds more than just logout features, the circular portion of the logout icon is now a gear.

The Logout/Settings Indicator Menu The Logout/Settings Indicator Menu

System Settings was added to the bottom of the logout menu in Natty Narwhal, but in Oneiric it moves to the top. Below System Settings is an entry for Display, which handles screen resolution and other display options.

Display SettingsDisplay Settings

Below Display is an entry for Startup Applications, which allows you to add or remove the applications that launch at boot.

Startup ApplicationsStartup Applications

While the next entry is for the Update Manager, it is either labeled Software Up to Date or Updates Available, depending on current update status.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    stm1185 , February 13, 2012 4:27 AM
    4870, gtx260, doom 3, did i time travel to 2008?
  • 24 Hide
    Gamer Dude , February 13, 2012 4:25 AM
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    To bad Microsoft has a Monopoly on DX architecture.
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2012 4:12 AM
    Lol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    compton , February 13, 2012 3:24 AM
    The best part of 11.10 is the renewed appreciation it gave me for Windows 7.
  • 18 Hide
    Gamer Dude , February 13, 2012 3:57 AM
    comptonThe best part of 11.10 is the renewed appreciation it gave me for Windows 7.

    LOL that bad uh well at leased there is an alternative if the Sopa takes awake my ripped Window 8 copy LOL.
  • 21 Hide
    jasonpwns , February 13, 2012 4:01 AM
    That's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.
  • 15 Hide
    indian-art , February 13, 2012 4:05 AM
    Happy with the benchmarks. I feel Ubuntu 12.04 will be even better.

    Just around a couple of months for its launch!
  • 9 Hide
    malimbar , February 13, 2012 4:09 AM
    One major irrelevancy in beginning of the article: while Mint overtook Ubuntu in Distrowatch, it's nowhere near the actual userbase: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2012/02/stats-show-ubuntu-not-losing-ground-to-linux-mint/

    Interesting article otherwise, and very well done. I particularly like how it highlights major areas that ubuntu developers need to work on, but still gives ubuntu as a OS credit where it deserves it. It's more worthwhile IMO to review LTS releases (and one is coming up soon), but in the meantime it's great to see where Ubuntu is right now.
  • 23 Hide
    Anonymous , February 13, 2012 4:12 AM
    Lol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.
  • 24 Hide
    Gamer Dude , February 13, 2012 4:25 AM
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    To bad Microsoft has a Monopoly on DX architecture.
  • 17 Hide
    nekromobo , February 13, 2012 4:26 AM
    Linux is only free if your time has no value.
  • 27 Hide
    stm1185 , February 13, 2012 4:27 AM
    4870, gtx260, doom 3, did i time travel to 2008?
  • -9 Hide
    Gamer Dude , February 13, 2012 4:31 AM
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    You know what else Doom3 was a monumental achievement do be dissing John Carmack.
  • 22 Hide
    jimmysmitty , February 13, 2012 4:36 AM
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.


    Sorry but those benchmarks for games are almost pointless. They are old games and the only reason they run on Linux is due to OpenGL. I do wonder though why RAGE was not tested, as its OpenGL. Maybe it didn't work since its a much newer engine using a much newer OGL standard. Or maybe it just didn't show Ubuntu doing very well.

    Windows is still the king of games since the majority of the games out there are DX based, not OGL.

    And from my experience with Ubuntu, 11.04, the 64Bit version is not stable enough and its finicky with ATI GPUs. Had to buld a system for a customer and with 64Bit, it would just flicker as well on 32bit with a HD6450. Had to swap to a nVidia GT210 on 32Bit to get it stable. And then to enable multi monitor support, that was another nightmare. You still have to do everything via a shell prompt with the X (X meaning the GUI) disabled to install the drivers. And thats just the start, If it goes well, you are in business, if not you may just reboot to a shell prompt and no GUI. Or at least thats what happened to me. Had to reinstall Ubuntu over it to get the GUI then reinstall nVidias drivers. Luckilly third time was the charm and it worked.

    Ubuntu has its place, but for the majority of consumers its not the best option as it takes more technical knowledge to operate it efficiently. Windows is for the majority who just need a system to do what they need. Or Android.

    For now I will stick with Windows 7 and enjoy my games.

    I would have liked to see this done on an SSD too.

    Gamer DudeDX11 sucks and its in few games and the ones it is even in mostly run like ass with terrible codding and patch jobs plus The Witcher 2 looks better than any DX11 game.


    I disagree. DX11 is actually faster than DX9, when coded properly. Its been shown. Add in the Tesselation, which DX9 cannot do, and its a great setup. Just wait till the games start doing it more in DX11. It will get better.
  • 7 Hide
    sseyler , February 13, 2012 4:41 AM
    nekromoboLinux is only free if your time has no value.


    Or if you can save a huge amount of money (compilers come to mind) by getting free Linux software, or if you know what you're doing and it doesn't really take that much time, or if what you can do with Linux outweighs the cost in time that it takes to set up and run Linux, or...
  • -3 Hide
    Gamer Dude , February 13, 2012 4:45 AM
    jimmysmittySorry but those benchmarks for games are almost pointless. They are old games and the only reason they run on Linux is due to OpenGL. I do wonder though why RAGE was not tested, as its OpenGL. Maybe it didn't work since its a much newer engine using a much newer OGL standard. Or maybe it just didn't show Ubuntu doing very well.Windows is still the king of games since the majority of the games out there are DX based, not OGL.And from my experience with Ubuntu, 11.04, the 64Bit version is not stable enough and its finicky with ATI GPUs. Had to buld a system for a customer and with 64Bit, it would just flicker as well on 32bit with a HD6450. Had to swap to a nVidia GT210 on 32Bit to get it stable. And then to enable multi monitor support, that was another nightmare. You still have to do everything via a shell prompt with the X (X meaning the GUI) disabled to install the drivers. And thats just the start, If it goes well, you are in business, if not you may just reboot to a shell prompt and no GUI. Or at least thats what happened to me. Had to reinstall Ubuntu over it to get the GUI then reinstall nVidias drivers. Luckilly third time was the charm and it worked.Ubuntu has its place, but for the majority of consumers its not the best option as it takes more technical knowledge to operate it efficiently. Windows is for the majority who just need a system to do what they need. Or Android.For now I will stick with Windows 7 and enjoy my games.I would have liked to see this done on an SSD too.I disagree. DX11 is actually faster than DX9, when coded properly. Its been shown. Add in the Tesselation, which DX9 cannot do, and its a great setup. Just wait till the games start doing it more in DX11. It will get better.

    When coded proper DX11 can be faster if it was implemented for performance enhancements and not graphical enhancements but mostly the devs have botched DX11 up in most circumstances DX9 performed better and can still look the dickens The Witcher 2 case in point. DX 11 will be allot better and come into its own only when the next gen of DX11 enabled console arrive in another 50years.
  • -9 Hide
    Gamer Dude , February 13, 2012 4:45 AM
    Gamer DudeYou know what else Doom3 was a monumental achievement dont be dissing John Carmack.

  • 12 Hide
    adamovera , February 13, 2012 4:53 AM
    hotsacomanLol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.

    That's the best of what runs natively on Linux. OilRush is out, but has no benchmarking tools, so we have the three Ungine benchmarks. Hopefully, Postal 3 (Source engine) and Rage will be available later this year. Amnesia is also available for Linux, but it isn't really a benchmark-type of game.
  • 8 Hide
    adamovera , February 13, 2012 4:55 AM
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    On Windows we ran the Unigine tests in OpenGL AND DirectX. Linux doesn't do DirectX.
  • 15 Hide
    wildkitten , February 13, 2012 4:56 AM
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    Except which distro do game developers supports?

    A lot of game developers actually tried doing Linux versions a few years ago. The problem they ran into was there was enough variation between each distro, they almost each distro had to be supported, so they gave up shortly after they started supporting it because there simply was not enough customers to be able to do so much support.
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