Saturday, April 16, 2011

Natty Beta 2

Since the release of Natty Beta 1 two weeks ago, the overlay scrollbars announced much earlier on Mark Shuttleworth's blog has become a part of the Unity desktop. It's a rethink of how a scrollbar should be with an eye towards reducing clutter without sacrificing function. By including it in the default installation you no longer need to install it from the PPA to enjoy the benefits.

The overlay scrollbars certainly looks good and functions quite well, but I find that it can sometimes be problematic if you're trying to scroll using the scroll thumb. The orange bar is the target when you want to drag the thumbs but the bar scales with the content in the particular window. Basically, if there's lots and lots of content then you'll have an ever smaller target to aim for. When using just the mouse scroll wheel there's no issues but since some users are used to dragging on the scrollbar (or, may not even have a scroll wheel on their mouse) it may turn out to be an occasionally slightly frustrating experience.

The new overlay scrollbars with a rather small orange bar
There's also some issues with video playback. Generally everything's fine, but sometimes you get popping sounds during video playback. I suspect it only happens with very large video files but it's only happened to me the one time so I can't be sure.

Aside from a few niggles (and the occasional crash) Natty seems to be doing just fine. Since Natty Beta 2 replaces the traditional Release Candidate this cycle it should really be pretty stable at this point. From here on out there should be nothing new landing. It's bug fixes all the way.