Ubuntu Netbook Remix came around last year at Computex Taipei and the original version we tried out was quite nice with its small-screen optimizations and very different launcher interface compared to simply running GNOME or KDE on a small mobile device. This year when the Moblin V2 user-interface was finally unveiled and it put us in awe with its sleek, intuitive design that was driven by Clutter. How has Canonical responded to Intel and Moblin V2? Well, there is Ubuntu Moblin Netbook Remix that just debuted to deliver the best of Ubuntu and Moblin, but the traditional Ubuntu Netbook Remix has also picked up several improvements for its 9.10 release.
Looking at these screenshots from today's build and comparing them to earlier Ubuntu Netbook Remix releases you will find quite the difference. In fact, it's radically different. New artwork, including new login and boot screens, were committed to Ubuntu Karmic Koala this week and the other distributions within the Ubuntu family, Netbook Remix included. Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix is using the Clutter 1.0 tool-kit with its launcher to provide nice animations similar to Moblin V2.
The window picker applet found in Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix has also picked up new icons and other improvements, as is very apparent from these screenshots. There are also new indicators for messaging and the session status with the Netbook Remix edition of Karmic Koala. Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix has also picked up other packages that are new and updated in Ubuntu 9.10, like the Ubuntu Software Store and the Ubuntu One client.
One underlying improvement that will really help those Intel Atom netbook users with Ubuntu 9.10 / Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix is the updated Intel Linux graphics stack. The netbook experience was killed with Ubuntu 9.04 due to regressions with Intel's Linux graphics driver stack after it had undergone invasive changes to support DRI2, the Graphics Execution Manager, and kernel mode-setting. Fortunately, the serious regressions are now worked out and the Intel graphics performance has returned with the Karmic Koala. Ubuntu 9.10 has also restored its home encryption support, which is a great option for securing data on mobile devices.
Our final write-up regarding Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix and the Moblin Netbook Remix will come in October. Beta releases of all the distributions in the Ubuntu family are planned for the first of October followed by the final releases on the 29th of October. Earlier this week we also offered a preview of Moblin 2.1.