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Ubuntu 10.04 beta 1 is looking good, less brown
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Canonical has announced the availability of the first Ubuntu 10.04 beta release. The new version of Ubuntu, codenamed Lucid Lynx, is scheduled to arrive in April. It will be a long-term support (LTS) release, which means that updates will be available for three years on the desktop and five years on servers.

Although the Ubuntu developers have largely focused on boosting stability for this release, they have also added a number of noteworthy new features and applications. One of the most visible changes is the introduction of a new theme—a change that is part of a broader rebranding initiative that aims to update Ubuntu's visual identity.

Canonical's Ayatana team has continued its effort to overhaul the panel. Ubuntu 10.04 introduces a new application indicator system that will streamline the panel notification area. The panel has also gained a new menu—referred to as the Me Menu—for managing instant messaging presence and posting short messages to social networking Web sites. The social networking functionality is powered by Gwibber, my open source microblogging application, which was added to Ubuntu for version 10.04. Another application that's new in Lucid is Pitivi, a simple video editing tool. In a controversial move, the Ubuntu developers have decided to remove the GIMP, the popular image editing program.

The new theme has benefited from further refinement since its initial inclusion. Some of the more garish elements, like the strong hash marks on the scrollbars that we saw in the original version, have been smoothed out and made more subtle. Several bugs have also been addressed, such as the problems we previously encountered with OpenOffice.org menu highlighting. The Ubuntu Software Center has also gained an improved look that matches the new Ubuntu branding.




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