Ubuntu 10.10 for netbooks to have single menu bar design

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu project, this week announced that the next version of Ubuntu will incorporate a global menu bar for all of its applications. The new universal menubar will only be enabled by default on the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat".

Shuttleworth reasons that netbooks can seek to greatly benefit with a single menu bar as their displays are extremely limited in vertical space. A typical netbook display has a resolution of 1024 x 600. Users limited with just 600 pixels of vertical space are often impeded in efficiently viewing content, especially in web browsing where lots of scrolling is required. 

Canonical has decided to only incorporate the new global menu bar for the netbook edition of their OS as there are still usability concerns on larger resolution screens. Netbook users will see the most immediate and greatest benefit with the single menu bar because of their smaller resolution displays. Desktop Ubuntu users wanting a single menu bar will have the choice of that configuration though.

The most prominent operating system that has been using a single menu bar since its revelation in 1984 is Apple’s own Mac OS. While Ubuntu will be taking the same route for its next release, they will actually be going a bit further to integrate both the window title and controls into the menu bar. The proposed UI is to show the window title by default, but when the user moves the cursor towards the menubar (or presses the alt key), the panel will switch to the application’s menu. 

"Generally, people use netbooks with a small set of applications running, all maximised. In that case, putting the menu in the panel will save 24 pixels, about 4% of the vertical space. In mockups and prototype testing, the result was a leaner, cleaner feeling netbook interface. Less clutter, less wasted space, and improved clarity of purpose.”

Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” is scheduled for release on October 28, 2010.

Image credit: Wikipedia (1, 2), Global Menu for Gnome.

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Yea, might save some space, but i promise you, windows 7 with a autohiding taskbar and maximized chrome or a firefox setup configured to take as little space as possible will save more space than this, and the windows 7 taskbar is the way to go for small screens... so yea, keep trying linux, maybe in about a hundred years there might be enough reasons to use it

I installed it. Ubuntu 10 definitely a leap forward. The UI is getting better. Many concepts borrow from Mac OS. However font is still ugly you will need to use Microsoft core font to make it look good. Very solid release. Ubuntu 10 is getting near Windows or Mac experience.

It's a shame I'm still stuck on 8.04 - the only version that will run on my laptop. I don't mean after install either - the install crashes on boot for every single version except Hardy.

Quite strange imho.

SoupDragon said,
It's a shame I'm still stuck on 8.04 - the only version that will run on my laptop. I don't mean after install either - the install crashes on boot for every single version except Hardy.

Quite strange imho.

Have you run memtest86? have you checked whether you have the latest Firmware installed on your laptop? what model laptop do you have?

rawr_boy81 said,

Have you run memtest86? have you checked whether you have the latest Firmware installed on your laptop? what model laptop do you have?

Yep, all tests pass - it;s a Twinhead rebadge. Doesn't even display the first menu - it boots and does nothing but display a black screen (after going through grub).

I've tried noacpi etc ... always the same. It seems I have a laptop that challenges the developers somewhat, thinking about sending it in as a test station.

For those sayin it looks like Mac OS, that's only a disadvantsage to you.

It looks fantastic and I'll keep on lovin it because I like it for what it is, not who it copies or its originality.

Sonic. said,
For those sayin it looks like Mac OS, that's only a disadvantsage to you.

It looks fantastic and I'll keep on lovin it because I like it for what it is, not who it copies or its originality.

Hey remeber MS copied the internet from Linux. Tell 'em to beat that.

Ubuntu 9.10 on both of my computers already has this Its a panel addin called gnome-globalmenu. I'm glad to see they're finally including it with OS.

amon91 said,
Haha I actually like it, saves space.

YES! As I mentioned above, using Firefox in Ubuntu (Netbook Remix) is very cramped if you have all the toolbars (which I'm used to on my regular machine and would rather not do without). Anything that will save space is good in my book.

agreenbhm said,

YES! As I mentioned above, using Firefox in Ubuntu (Netbook Remix) is very cramped if you have all the toolbars (which I'm used to on my regular machine and would rather not do without). Anything that will save space is good in my book.

How can you stand using Firefox in Ubuntu? It's very ugly. I use Google Chrome, it's a very nice UI, something that actually looks good for once on Ubuntu. I really wish there was some kind of theme available for GNOME that would replace the orange look with Chrome OS's blue look. I like this new look in 10.04, but they still use orange in certain places and the background colors have a bit of orange in them, I would rather have blueish white backgrounds.

how bold and stupid, Well, at least it is optional.

The main problem with a unified menu (and the problem IS present in OSX) is it is pretty easy to create a mess and to confuse the user, for example:
a) opening the same application twice and showing both in the same screen.

b) opening a "x" application in fullscreen, the opening a "y" application in fullscreen, then minimizing (but not deactivating) the application "y", then you can see "x" in fullscreen with the "y" menu.


A simple example (my snow leopard):

http://farm5.static.flickr.com...4570444723_c22e153307_b.jpg
menu :firefox.
Applications visible :finder.

c) a small but active window over a big window (full screen), again it will show the menu from the small window.

Yes, that is a valid concern. However, I and likely many other people are happy to live with that little inconsistency in order to gain some extra screen real estate. And before you say "it's just a few pixels high", you need to remember that those few pixels are multiplied by every window you have open, and with widescreen monitors, vertical pixels are usually at a premium, especially on netbooks.

There's also the whole "Fitts Law" thing to consider too. A menu bar at the top or bottom of the screen is considered easier to hit than one on some random location on the screen.

Edited by roadwarrior, May 2 2010, 1:33pm :

Valid point, but the fact that the app title is clearly listed in the menu prevents any confusion for me at least. Once you click on that Finder window to do anything it will become the in-focus app and it's menus will take over.

TechDudeGeorge said,
God, stop copying Macs, I don't like them as it is. I don't want a decent OS to follow the same path.

I don't think this is about copying Macs as it is to save space on netbooks. Yes, the button switch to the left from the right was Mac-esque, but on my netbook, when I use Firefox, there's a real waste of space at the top of the screen when you factor in the bookmarks bar, the menu bar, the URL bar, then the Ubuntu menu. This is a welcome change.

agreenbhm said,

I don't think this is about copying Macs as it is to save space on netbooks. Yes, the button switch to the left from the right was Mac-esque, but on my netbook, when I use Firefox, there's a real waste of space at the top of the screen when you factor in the bookmarks bar, the menu bar, the URL bar, then the Ubuntu menu. This is a welcome change.

you can get rid of the bookmark bar on firefox... it you want to save some mm

eilegz said,

you can get rid of the bookmark bar on firefox... it you want to save some mm


But I don't want to get rid of the bookmark bar in FF...

Is it bad that I'm considering buying a netbook just so I can have this on it? Really feels like Ubuntu has come a very long way.


The new universal menubar will only be enabled by default on the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat".

It is enabled by default in netbook edition, i'm sure you can manually enable it.

Edited by ReDwAvE, May 2 2010, 11:32am :

Rich-E said,
Is it bad that I'm considering buying a netbook just so I can have this on it? Really feels like Ubuntu has come a very long way.

At least wait until it drops before buying a netbook. You can get today's netbook at its 6 month reduced price or the new netbooks they have 6 months from now.

agreenbhm said,

At least wait until it drops before buying a netbook. You can get today's netbook at its 6 month reduced price or the new netbooks they have 6 months from now.

Oh I'd wait don't worry, I need to justify the purchase to myself anyway

NienorGT said,
As long greedy Apple don't sue them... I hope Apple don't have this in their ocean of patents...

Doubtful. The Amiga had a single menu bar as well. Apple isn't the only system that has used this feature.

NienorGT said,
As long greedy Apple don't sue them... I hope Apple don't have this in their ocean of patents...

As far as I know they only have a patent for the dock having a recycle bin. Microsoft couldn't add a recycle bin on their super bar but there's a tutorial on how to do that.

Sonic. said,
As far as I know they only have a patent for the dock having a recycle bin. Microsoft couldn't add a recycle bin on their super bar but there's a tutorial on how to do that.

Meh, and putting it there doesn't help anyone anyway - it is hardly a material improvement that Windows requires. I'd sooner see Microsoft forge their own path instead of trailing behind Apple copying both the good and bad ideas.

Nashy said,
Doesn't Microsoft make a pretty big operating system with 1 bar down the bottom by default?

For a few hundred bucks, yeah, they do, .

Edited by Gerowen, May 2 2010, 9:26am :

Nashy said,
Doesn't Microsoft make a pretty big operating system with 1 bar down the bottom by default?
Nah, here we talk about a single bar that will do anything from the taskbar and also includes the menu bar ( File View Option Etc ) of each apps as well.

CoMMo said,

For a few hundred bucks, yeah, they do, .

I get the feeling within the next 2 yrs their gonna start charging for this in some way

k33nz said,

I get the feeling within the next 2 yrs their gonna start charging for this in some way


They do charge: for support. The better they make their OS (and perhaps these somewhat subtle but useful designs are attractive to other OS users), the better chance users will switch to Ubuntu, which in turn will generate more revenue from support. Sounds like a great plan to me, honestly. I love their business plan, but I don't think they've turned a profit just yet. Give it some time.

k33nz said,
I get the feeling within the next 2 yrs their gonna start charging for this in some way

I doubt it; the big move is to have a single bar at the bottom, remove the menu bar in favour of ribbon or some other non-menu based interface. I just hope that we don't end up with a frankensystem that is a mish-mash of many different ideas with each of them sucking equally because of the disunity of the user interface.

Dead'Soul said,
Kernel is awesome, but software and UI sux... Maybe ubuntu goes onto right direction and make GNU/Linux better...

I doubt it, the lack of commercial applications, crap hardware support and buggy release after release with the lack of updates fixing those bugs will always relegate Ubuntu to a small niche.

rawr_boy81 said,

I doubt it, the lack of commercial applications, crap hardware support and buggy release after release with the lack of updates fixing those bugs will always relegate Ubuntu to a small niche.

I would call crappy hardware support since all other Linux distros use the same exact kernel. And all my hardware works perfect except webcam. But then again I rarely use that.

lol...they moved the close/min/max buttons to the left, now they announce single menubar design and call those innovations...tsk tsk YOUbuntu. I was thinking it was becoming a mac...I was right.

vice le von said,
lol...they moved the close/min/max buttons to the left, now they announce single menubar design and call those innovations...tsk tsk YOUbuntu. I was thinking it was becoming a mac...I was right.

No kidding. I've always been a fan of KDE personally.

vice le von said,
lol...they moved the close/min/max buttons to the left, now they announce single menubar design and call those innovations...tsk tsk YOUbuntu. I was thinking it was becoming a mac...I was right.

What is wrong with becoming more like Mac - or more correctly, using a global menu bar like many operating systems did before the rise of Windows? Atari and AmigaOS are two other operating systems that used a global menu; are they Mac clones even though they all pull their design directly from Xerox?

vice le von said,
lol...they moved the close/min/max buttons to the left, now they announce single menubar design and call those innovations...tsk tsk YOUbuntu. I was thinking it was becoming a mac...I was right.

Well isnt the positioning of those buttons dependant on the skin you use?

As for innovative, yea it's almost as Apples innovative "folders" coming to the iphone or the fantastic feature of changing the background picture i wonder where they get all these ideas? seriously there is a lot of copying between companies right now and well as long as it actually makes things better and more usable why complain? I can see how one menu bar can be good for netbooks, though i am no fan of it