Linux powers many of the low-cost subnotebooks that have emerged recently, but few of those machines run Ubuntu (the standard version of it, at least). Chalk it up to Ubuntu's system requirements or the unfriendliness of its user interface to small displays, the fact remains: the most popular Linux distribution isn't getting any love in one of the hottest markets right now.
To turn things around, Canonical announced last week that it's cooking up a "Netbook Remix" version of Ubuntu tailored specifically to these machines. Today, we see the folks at Phoronix got their hands on a pre-release version of the OS, and they've posted their impressions here along with a good number of screenshots.
Ubuntu Netbook Remix shares its big brother's brown color scheme and GNOME desktop environment, but with a twist: an Eee PC-like "launcher" fills its desktop with big, friendly icons that point to common applications and tasks. Canonical has tweaked window management with smaller displays in mind, replacing the window title bar in maximized windows with a tab system in the top applications/shortcuts bar. The bottom taskbar remains alongside the tab system, which seems a little redundant, but Canonical has some time to tweak the UI further before it unveils the new OS later this year.