Canonical Unveils New 'Unity' Desktop Environment at Ubuntu Developer Summit

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Previews 'Ubuntu Light:' an implementation of Unity Targeted at OEMs for 'instant-on' computing

Canonical today unveiled a new desktop environment called 'Unity' at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Belgium. Unity will be the desktop environment for Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, released in October 2010, and is available today to developers building applications for the netbook environment.

Unity is designed for netbooks and related touch-based devices. It includes a new panel and application launcher that makes it fast and easy to access preferred applications, such as the browser, while removing screen elements that are rarely used in mobile and netbook computing.

In parallel, Canonical announced Ubuntu Light, an implementation of Ubuntu that is based on Unity and intended for the dual-boot 'instant-web' market. This pared-down version of Ubuntu features chat, IM, browser and media player applications and is aimed at PC manufacturers seeking an 'instant-web' experience that complements Windows on consumer PCs.  

Ubuntu Light distinguishes itself by connecting the user to the web, with a running browser, in under 10 seconds. The product includes a media player and tools to integrate with Windows to access music files, photos, etc. This is a new market for Ubuntu and research into the requirements for this market drove many of the design principles for Unity.

PCs equipped with Ubuntu Light offer users immediate access to the web and personal content - photos, music and documents. For mobile users, or simply for cases where the simplified interface of Ubuntu is more appropriate, Ubuntu Light saves time associated with a full Windows boot and login. Ubuntu Light can be used on a standalone PC or notebook without Windows, but it is particularly designed for dual-boot environments, where it is installed alongside Windows and presented as an option at boot.

Ubuntu Light is available to OEMs immediately.

"This is a very exciting development for the Ubuntu ecosystem and it is with great pleasure that we share Unity at UDS today," said Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical. "Unity is a new canvas for the collective Ubuntu imagination to paint on. It has proven a perfect base for Ubuntu Light, and the roadmap ahead promises to make Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition a landmark release."

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About Canonical
Canonical provides engineering, online and professional services to Ubuntu partners and customers worldwide. As the company behind the Ubuntu project, Canonical is committed to the production and support of Ubuntu – an ever-popular and fast-growing open-source operating system. It aims to ensure that Ubuntu is available to every organisation and individual on servers, desktops, laptops and netbooks.

Canonical partners with computer hardware manufacturers to certify Ubuntu, provides migration, deployment, support and training services to businesses, and offers online services direct to end users. Canonical also builds and maintains collaborative, open-source development tools to ensure that organisations and individuals can participate fully in innovations within the open-source community. For more information, please visit

Contact: Joseph Eckert, Baker Communications Group, 203-270-3711, canonical(at)bakercg(dot)com

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