At System76 we take a holistic approach to creating products. Our PC’s aren’t simply pieces of hardware with software loaded on them. They’re an entire customer experience. A customer should be surfing the web within minutes of receiving their computer. Every System76 computer, from the Starling Netbook to the ultra high-end Serval Professional, should be responsive and snappy. Common task and applications should be easy to access and use. Finally, if you need help, you have System76, Canonical, and the exceptional Ubuntu community available to you.
System76 services a very broad range of customers. Our customers include fellow computer geeks, businesses, schools, government, and many people that have never used Ubuntu. We love attracting newcomers. They’ve learned that Ubuntu is a better option and, with their System76 PC, they’re experiencing that better option. The Open Source universe expanded just a bit.
This brings me to Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 and Unity. Unity is a new netbook user interface incubated and released by Canonical in May 2010. The interface is designed to maximize vertical pixel availability on small screens while considering the needs of future touch technologies and user experiences. I started using the software via ppa in Ubuntu 10.04. As was to be expected, the edges were rough. Unity has improved considerably over the last few months and is now the default user interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10.
Unfortunately, many of Unity’s rough edges remain apparent. The interface is slow and in many ways confusing to use. Applications launch slowly, the Starling Netbook’s fan runs high for a while then dips, and Mutter crashes. Searching for the word “Update” displays Gwibber Social Client, Update Manager, as well as Adept, Akregator, and sometimes Amarok. Sometimes installed applications are visible. Sometimes only available applications. It’s difficult to tell what’s going to happen when an icon is clicked. Will an application launch? Will Ubuntu Software Center prompt to install software? Will a separate category open?
Given our holistic approach to building products and the broad range of customers we serve, System76 will give Unity another release cycle to reach it’s maximum potential. We have every confidence in the ability of Ubuntu developers to create the world’s finest software. Unity needs a bit more time. Until then, the System76 Starling Netbook will remain on Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 LTS.