Ubuntu's controversial UI Unity is set for a few tweaks in the next version of the open-source operating system, as well as ARM support for the server edition.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of developer Canonical, unveiled a screenshot of the "Dash" in the next version, Ubuntu 11.10 - nicknamed Oneiric Ocelot.
Due in October, Oneiric Ocelot will ditch the "places" in the previous release's dashboard, in favour of "scopes and lenses".
"Scopes are data sources, and can tap into any online or offline data set as long as they can generate categorised results for a search, describe a set of filters and support some standard interfaces," said Shuttleworth in a blog post.
"Lenses are various ways to present the data that come from Scopes."
He claimed the idea behind the search-based, "device-like" screen has been nicked by others, notably Mac OS X Lion.
"While we're definitely the outsider in this contest, I think we can stay one step ahead in the game given the support of our community," Shuttleworth said.
The next version of Ubuntu will also feature changes to window controls, with Shuttleworth admitting it had taken a few releases to get it right, as well as tweaks to the design and colour choice of the Dash.
The server version of Ubuntu will support the ARM architecture from 11.10.
"The base image of the releases will be the same across architectures with a common kernel baseline," said Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical, in a post on the Canonical blog.
"The ARM architecture will also be part of the long-term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu Server in 12.04 and other future releases."
Ubuntu developers predict that ARM will work its way into the server space because of its lower power requirements.
"One of the emerging approaches to solving this problem is to look at the technologies in low power-consumption appliances like phones and applying them to dense clusters in server-like configurations," he said.
"Whether it is in smartphones, tablets or other embedded systems, the processor at the heart of these low power devices is generally ARM-based.
"With Ubuntu Server becoming the de-facto standard for cloud infrastructure and big data solutions, we recognise that power consumption is key to efficient scaling."
Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing
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