10 Rocking Features in 10 Days – Countdown to Ubuntu 7.10 – Deskbar and Tracker

As we close in on the release of Ubuntu 7.10, codenamed Gutsy Gibbon during the development cycle, we thought we would tell you a little bit about some of the new features and improvements that make the release exciting. So over the next ten days, we will talk about one rocking feature each day until the 18th of October, when Ubuntu 7.10 goes live.

So what is in store for you with 7.10? We’ll be looking at the following features:

  • Starting today, desktop search via Tracker and Deskbar
  • Improved usability for configuring the graphic environment, with features such as Bulletproof-X and Graphical X configuration
  • Spectacular desktop visual effects by default, brought to you by Compiz-Fusion
  • Improvements in Firefox plugins, including Gnash installed by default
  • Fast User Switching for those with shared machines
  • Printer auto-detection
  • Better handling of non-free drivers (including firmware installation)
  • Improved security with AppArmor
  • Easier access to your files on Windows with NTFS writing
  • Desktop search with Tracker and Deskbar

    As any of you know, once you use a computer for longer than 5 minutes, you start collecting files, a lot of files. Finding them can be difficult, especially as hard drives get bigger and the urge to keep everything grows. Thankfully, Ubuntu 7.10 has a solution for this, with the inclusion of an indexing program called Tracker and an easy way to access that data, via Deskbar.

    Deskbar LogoTracker Logo

    So what does Tracker do?

    Tracker does to your local files, including your documents, music, etc, what Google does for websites: it searches through the full text (and any tags) and compiles them into a giant database, for easy searching. So, if you are looking for all documents on the computer that contain a single word, such as “Ubuntu” or “music”, tracker already knows where they are and can show them to you in a blink of an eye.

    So how do I actually search for my stuff?

    Well, having your computer know where stuff is is only half the battle; you need to be able to tell the computer what you are looking for. This is where Deskbar comes in – a powerful, single place to not only tell Tracker what exactly you are looking for, you can also launch applications for it, run commands in a terminal and much more.

    For example, if you are searching for your music, open up Deskbar by clicking on the icon (as below) or by hitting F11. Then type in “music” and off you go.

    Search is not the only thing Deskbar can do. You can also launch applications be searching either on the application name or the actual executable name, look up a word in the dictionary, and if you configure it correctly, search your bookmarks, history, Google or Yahoo. And if that isn’t enough for you and you have a bit of programming skill, you can always extend Deskbar with your own plugin (to find out more about this, check out Deskbar’s page on live.gnome.org).

    Tomorrow we are off to visit the new X.org stuff, including BulletproofX and the new graphical config. Until then!

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