It’s arguably one of the most popular third-party applications available for Ubuntu, and its new 6.0 will sport an entirely revamped interface. What am I talking about?
Ubuntu Tweak, of course!
Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 pre-beta
I took some time to poke around the pre-beta of Ubuntu-tweak 0.6, which marks a dramatic change in appearance from previous version of the system-tweaking app.
Being a pre-beta the usual caveats apply: it’s crashy, half-implemented and freezes a lot, so much of what I have to say ignores this and focuses on what is there and how it’s coming along compared to the mock-ups we saw a few weeks back.
The pre-beta is NOT recommended for installation.
When first launching the ‘new’ Ubuntu Tweak you’ll be greeted with an over-view pane. This informs you as to whether there are package updates available, provides some hardware information and lets me know whether some space can be freed up by running a system clean.
Th ‘Overview’ pane is a great idea. There are touches within it that really make Ubuntu Tweak feel like a native system application rather than a 3rd party bolt-on full of, mostly, irrelevant options.
Personally I don’t need to see my hardware information every-time I launch the application (unless my hardware multiplies past midnight like Mogwai), so I’d ditch that in favour of another ‘update’ update box a la the cleaner and system status. This would make the overview pane informative and helpful.
Also of note is the sidebar with quick access to ‘recently used’ actions.
The Apps pane wasn’t implemented/working during my test, but this will be home to the ‘PPA/Package management’ section. My one gripe – even in the present version – is that it’s far too easy for a rogue to create a PPA, package something malicious up then submit it to Ubuntu Tweak where an unsuspecting user will ‘enable and install’ it without really knowing what it is, where it’s come from or who made it.
Likewise I think it’s high-time that multi-package PPA’s came with a warning. All to often I come across people who enabled a PPA via Ubuntu-Tweak to get an updated version of one package and then found half their system updated. That’s not cool, and Ubuntu-tweak could, by exercising a bit of responsibility over what they provide easy access to, make the application something many users could feel comfortable with recommending to novice users.
Oh dear. The ‘tweaks pane’ is so visually similar to the System Control panel present in 11.04 that my first reaction was thinking that it was the system control panel.
This pane houses pretty much all of the old entries behind ‘buttons’ rather than than ‘tabs’. As of writing there is nothing Natty-specific added, and most of the ‘popular’ tweaks remain.
Navigating back/forward between the main ‘menu’ and specific entries is done via two navigation buttons inline with the tabs.
Admin Pane, Settings Menu & search entry
As with the Apps pane none of these were working/implemented during my poke around.
Ubuntu Tweak 0.6, like many applications gearing up for Natty, supports quick lists. These work well: just click a tweak topic and Ubuntu Tweak will open up on that page. Simple.
Thoughts so far
The new look works very well on the Natty desktop, even if the depressed tab style doesn’t quite match that of the app this look bases itself on.
This integrated gives the application an air of authority (for better or worse) but the incremental changes to ‘tweaks’ included so far don’t reflect the pace of change present in Natty. Here’s hoping successive releases bring as much substance to the application as style.
Should you wish to test it out – and I strongly urge you that you don’t – you will need to be running Ubuntu 11.04 and will need to install the .deb package downloadable @ launchpad.net/~tualatrix/+archive/next/+packages