Ubuntu 11.10 review

Various included applications are also updated to their latest versions, including Firefox, LibreOffice and the Ubuntu Software Center application. The OneConf tool, which allows you to automatically keep applications synchronised across multiple Ubuntu systems, is now installed by default.

There’s a new backup client too, in the shape of the third-party Déjà Dup backup utility (it appears in the system settings named simply “Backup”). Déjà Dup works in a similar fashion to Apple’s Time Machine, with support for both local and networked storage. By default it backs up your files to your Ubuntu One account.

This is more useful than it might sound, as Ubuntu One clients are now available for Windows, Android and iOS, making the service a rival to the likes of Dropbox for convenient cross-platform file access.

The Déjà Dup backup tool integrates with the free Ubuntu One online storage service

You get a generous 5GB of free storage – expandable to 20GB for $30 a year – and for an extra $40 a year you also get a music streaming add-on that lets you play your tunes over the web or via a smartphone app.

It has to be said, though, that there are any number of competing backup and streaming services, and if you’re already invested in one of them, Ubuntu One probably isn’t compelling enough to switch.

Indeed, that in truth is the problem with Ubuntu as a whole. In a market saturated with preinstalled Windows and OS X, it’s always struggled to make a persuasive case for itself; and though 11.10 is an improvement over 11.04, there’s nothing new here to turn heads.

What’s more, since version 12.04 is set to be an LTS edition – meaning it’ll be supported by Canonical for three years on desktops and five years on servers – we very much doubt the developers will be débuting any immature new technologies in the next release either, suggesting it will be a year before we see any significant new features.

Still, while Ubuntu may not exactly be pushing the envelope, this latest release is a fine consolidation of what’s gone before. Whether you’re an existing user or simply curious to give it a try, the Oneiric Ocelot is Canonical’s most accessible distribution yet, and well worth a download.


Software subcategoryOperating system

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