First of all, you have to upgrade you Ubuntu to the version 11.10. To do this, you can see https://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/upgrade for the upgrade process. Of course, if you are new to Ubuntu, just install a new fresh copy from your CD.
Get the GNOME 3 shell extension
I love the GNOME desktop since the very early version of Ubuntu. When you may have a big trouble with the GNOME 3 on Ubuntu 11.04, this version of Ubuntu comes with the GNOME and you can easily use the GNOME 3 shell with a simple command
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
After re logging, you can choose GNOME 3 or GNOME 3 classic on the welcome screen beside the “traditional” Ubuntu and Ubuntu 2D shell. This is my screen shot with Ubuntu 11.10 and GNOME 3 shell.
Enable my touchpad
Again and again, my touchpad becomes unusable after upgrade Ubuntu. For those who meet this bug like me, use this command to re-enable your touchpad.
gconftool-2 --set --type boolean /desktop/gnome/peripherals/touchpad/touchpad_enabled true
I found the solution here and do not assurance that it works for you. Believe to your luck!
For a longer battery life
After reading this post, I believe that install Jupiter will help me have a better performance-power balance. To get the Jupiter, open the Terminal and enter these commands
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install jupiter
You can find the icon of Jupiter on the Bottom tray of your desktop.
Decrease the window font size
The significant bad thing of GNOME 3 on Ubuntu 11.10 for me is that the system font size is to big. I did as bellow to customize my Ubuntu font settings. First, install the GNOME tweak tool from the Terminal
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
Open it via terminal or Ubuntu “run” dialog by entering this command
Go to this page to customize the font settings
After doing all above, let see what is interesting my Ubuntu.
The return of “show the desktop” and “run dialog” shortcut as well as the System tray (bottom tray)
In this version, my two favorite shortcut becomes available again. To minimize all windows and focus on the desktop, you can press “windows key”+”D”. You can also press “Alt”+”F2” to open Ubuntu “run dialog” and quickly run programs with just a line of command. The System tray or Bottom tray is also the “new” feature of Ubuntu 11.10 (as it disappeared in the Ubuntu 11.04). It contains the icon of the programs which run “as a service” on your machine. You can find Skype, Banshee, Jupiter, Ibus … icon here.
New design of the “dash home”
The GNOME 3 brings a new look for the “dash home” to the Ubuntu 11.10. To show this view, you can press “windows key”, click the Activities button or move your mouse to the top left screen corner. The “dash home” can be considered as the “windows 7 start menu for Ubuntu”, you can browse your applications, documents and even search them. As you can see on the first figure, the “dash home” view contains several elements: a left panel with your favorite applications; the toggle panel in the right contains your current workspaces and the main area in the middle for the windows in the selected workspace or for the application browser.
The improvement in UI and UX
In my opinion, Ubuntu 11.10 has a great improvement in its UI as well as UX. The dash home, as told above, is an example. The welcome screen and the lock screen are also re-designed and make me feel better. The notifications are moved from the right to the bottom of the screen, now, it appearance no longer annoys me! Further more, many dialogs and windows have been rearranged to make the users easily to use Ubuntu.
I have just tried Ubuntu 11.10 for one day, there are many nice features that I cannot or do not mention in this post. But in a general view, Ubuntu 11.10 is a good OS to try, look, and explore. If you are using Ubuntu, upgrade it. If you haven’t used Ubuntu before, feel free to give it a chance.