Ubuntu Unity 22.10 Review: A Promising “Official” Start

4 min


We review Ubuntu Unity 22.10, which becomes an official Ubuntu flavour from this release onwards.

For the fans of Unity desktop, it’s a piece of good news. Ubuntu Unity 22.10 Kinetic Kudu became the official Ubuntu flavour featuring Unity desktop after Canonical officially abandoned it on April 2018. You can now enjoy the officially supported Unity desktop with an Ubuntu base.

That means you get the usual security and package updates following the Ubuntu release schedule.

I did a hands-on on the official Ubuntu Unity desktop, and here’s what I found.

Ubuntu Unity 22.01 Login Screen
Ubuntu Unity 22.01 Login Screen

Ubuntu Unity 22.10 Review

At its core, Ubuntu Unity 22.10 features Linux Kernel 5.19, and the core modules are aligned with Ubuntu 22.10. The desktop version is Unity 7, which is the current stable version.

However, its successor UnityX is still under development for more than a year, so hopefully, you will get a more advanced Unity desktop in the future.

First look and themes

At first glance, you should notice the purple-based Ubuntu Unity with the Kinetic Kudu mascot. The left bar is static and includes only the essential items (LibreOffice & Settings). The shortcut to global search is at the top of the sidebar. The top bar contains the power menu, network, calendar and time widgets. And the Trash shortcut is at the bottom of the left bar.

Unity Global Search
Unity Global Search

The default theme is Yaru dark with a purple-based colour combination. Which I believe doesn’t look good with orange borders in several controls (text box, etc.). In addition, the Yaru and Yaru dark both are strict light and dark themes. That means you can’t have a mix of a light theme with a dark title bar.

However, the team also includes the good ol’ Ambiance and Radiance themes which you can easily apply with the Unity Tweak Tool (requires installation) – this would give you the good ol’ Ubuntu feel.

Yaru Dark Theme in Ubuntu Unity 22.10
Yaru Dark Theme in Ubuntu Unity 22.10
Ambiance theme brings back the old days
Ambiance theme brings back the old days

The main attraction of Unity is two significant items. The global search via HUD and the global menu at the top bar. In this release, you get both of them. This is an ideal desktop for those who want clean app windows and more screen space.

Unity Global search inside app options
Unity Global search inside app options: one of the best features of Unity

Furthermore, a new feature adds a tweak at the top bar where you can switch the themes without launching the Unity Tweak tool. However, this option is only visible for the Yaru theme for some strange reason.

New option to switch accent color and theme
New option to switch accent colour and theme

Applications

If you are new to Ubuntu Unity, you should know that this distro doesn’t have any native apps of its own. It ships basic apps, which most users need.

However, there is a change in the 22.10 version. Earlier (when it was unofficial), Ubuntu Unity was shipping some GNOME Apps as default. Since the implementation of libadwaita and moving to GTK4, the team now replaced most of them with the native-MATE applications. For example, the Pluma text editor from MATE is now part of Unity.

Other than that, Firefox Snap and Thunderbird email client is added as default, also LibreOffice suite.

Thanks to the above apps, the ISO size is less than 3 GB, and performance is way faster.

Performance

Overall, Ubuntu Unity 22.10 performance is speedy. Both in idle and heavy workload state. There are no fancy animations other than the places where it is needed. The HUD search is fast, and you can launch apps right away.

In addition, window operations such as minimize, maximize, and drag feel snappy. There is no lag whatsoever. At idle, it uses 1GB of memory. In a heavy workload state, it increases up to 2.2GB, based on how many apps you are running.

Ubuntu Unity performance at idle state
Ubuntu Unity performance at idle state

Ubuntu Unity is really outperforming vanilla Ubuntu. It feels faster than vanilla GNOME with Ubuntu. It might be one of the contenders for lightweight Linux distros in the coming days.

However, the default installation takes 12 GB of disk space – which I believe is a little higher than other distros in the same category.

Summary

  • Linux Kernel 5.19 with Ubuntu 22.10 base
  • Firefox 106 web browser (Snap)
  • Flatpak is not installed by default
  • Unity 7 desktop
  • Nemo file manager
  • Pluma text editor (1.26)
  • LibreOffice 7.4
  • Thunderbird 102.
  • Only available as X.Org (not yet ready for Wayland)

Wrapping Up

Ubuntu Unity 22.10, being official, is a promising start for the Unity desktop to become more mature. From the development viewpoint, a colossal amount of work awaits to make it to UnityX (the next version of 7). Also, it only supports X.Org and no Wayland at the moment. Wayland might be a deal breaker for some users to adopt this as a daily driver for performance-centric workloads.

That being said, Ubuntu Unity 22.10 is perfect for the average user for everyday work and perfect for smaller display form factors. If you like the Unity design, HUD search, global menu, and left action buttons – then it’s for you.

Give it a try.

You can download Ubuntu Unity 22.10 on the official website.


Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send us an email.
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