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Hands-on with Ubuntu's new Unity netbook shell

During a keynote at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Belgium, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth unveiled a new lightweight user interface shell called Unity. The new shell is designed to use screen space more efficiently and consume fewer system resources than a conventional desktop environment. It will be a key component of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition and a new instant-on computing platform called Ubuntu Light.

The Unity environment eschews the conventional GNOME panel configuration. It includes a dock-like launcher and task management panel that is displayed vertically along the left-hand side. The top panel will house application indicators, window indicators, and the menubar of the active window. Moving the menu out of individual windows and into a global menu bar will reduce wasted vertical screen space, leaving more room for content.

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