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Canonical touts app launcher for 'netbooks'

The founder of the Ubuntu project has given details of a new application launcher for a version of the operating system designed to run on the new generation of small laptops, such as the Asus Eee PC.
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Written by Tom Espiner, Senior Reporter on

The founder of the Ubuntu project has given details of a new application launcher for a version of the operating system designed to run on the new generation of small laptops, such as the Asus Eee PC.

The launcher is for Ubuntu Netbook Remix, a pared-down version of the operating system, designed for "netbooks", or low-cost laptops. Ubuntu Netbook Remix was released last week.

Mark Shuttleworth, who runs Ubuntu's commercial sponsor, Canonical, said the organisation's OEM team developed the launcher after being approached by a number of OEMs who want to sell netbooks based on Ubuntu.

"Almost universally, they've asked for standard Ubuntu packages and updates, with an app launcher that's more suited to new users and has the feeling of a 'device' more than a PC," Shuttleworth wrote in a blog post.

"There are some very cool launchers out there — AWN is a current favourite of mine — but people seem to prefer the more 2-dimensional, tabbed approach, so the OEM team implemented a lightweight, but still very classy, launcher for this use case," said Shuttleworth.

The launcher gives more screen space for web browsing, while a package for the launcher, available from a public PPA (personal package archive), includes Gnome panel applets, window-manager tweaks and themes.

"These bits and pieces improve the experience of Ubuntu run with the netbook launcher on screens with lower vertical resolution," said Shuttleworth.

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