Hands On With Unity 8 On Ubuntu 16.10 (Screenshot Tour)
In case you missed word earlier, the Unity 8 desktop is now available to try out in the latest Ubuntu 16.10 developer images ― no need to manually install anything.
It’s not the default experience, but it’s there, as an option, right on the login screen (see right).
As cautioned in our news article on its arrival ― a story duly picked up and passed off as an exclusive by other linux blogs ― the Unity 8 Desktop Session doesn’t work with all set-ups.
This is due, largely, to the Mir display server that Unity 8 runs on.
If you’re reading this a few months down the line keep in mind that many of the issues, missing features or quirks mentioned below may be fixed.
For reference, I am testingthe Unity 8 Desktop Session in a virtual machine (VMWare Fusion) running Ubuntu 16.10’s latest daily builds with proposed updates enabled. I couldn’t get legacy Xorg apps (e.g, VLC, Firefox, et al) to show up in the Ubuntu Scopes window, much less get them to actually run!
Unity 8 doesn’t work with VirtualBox but should/could play nice with qemu/kvm. It’ll also run happily on devices that useopen-source Intel or Nvidia drivers.Unity 8 (So Far)
I’ll insert a bunch of screenshots here, and add some text explaining what they’re showing in a bit (most of it is fairly obvious). If something doesn’t make sense when you read this, refresh in 10 mins and it probably will ;)
When you log in you get taken to the desktop.
Nice clean desktop. Sadly my desktop resolution was fixed which meant I was limited in the amount of space on screen (and the Unity launcher was automatically) hidden to maximise space.
And yes, you can change the wallpaper ;)
The indicator menus work exactly as they do on the Ubuntu Phone and the Tablet, only you don’t need to click & drag them down. Just click. They shade out automatically.
All of the sliders, switches and toggles in the indicators work as expected.
The easiest way to switch between apps you have open in “desktop” mode is using the familiarAlt+Tab shortcut. This reveals the swish application switcher, which animates nicely, and can be navigated using the keyboard arrow keys, tab key, as well as the mouse.
As this is a convergent platform it’s no surprise to the few apps you can use on it also supporting convergence, like the Ubuntu Browser which transitions from windows “mobile mode” to tabbed “desktop mode” beautifully. Websites load perfectly, too.
What else do you want to see?
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