Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu 10.10, a major update of the popular Linux distribution. The new version introduces the Unity netbook environment, which offers a custom desktop shell that is optimized for ease of use on small displays and has a global menubar to conserve vertical screen space.
Ubuntu's installer got a major overhaul in this release, with substantial user interface improvements and new features. The new installer can start downloading updated packages during the early stages of the configuration process in order to save the user from having to run a full update immediately after installation. It also has a new option that lets users choose to automatically install closed-source components, such as multimedia codecs.