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Ubuntu unveils end of menus with HUD

Ubuntu HUD

No more hunting for the right menu option with search-style box

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has revealed on his blog that the next version of Ubuntu, 12.04 LTS, will replace the menu bar with a search box. Instead of navigating through lists of text to find the option you want, you just have to search for it.

For example, if you want to bring up the preferences menu, you just have to click on the HUD and start typing “preferences”, and as you type a list of matching options will appear in a list below the search box. You’ll probably get as far as “pref” before the right option will appear. In this way it works in a similar way to Windows Vista or 7’s Start menu, or Spotlight on a Mac, but instead of just launching applications or dealing with files you can control any aspect of an application, from making text bold to adding a shadow to a shape in Inkscape.

There are other advantages to the system: as all applications tie into the HUD, you can control other programs without switching focus from where you are. For example, you can switch your Skype status to offline without leaving the LibreOffice document you’re working on. Of course, as with Microsoft’s Ribbon interface, there will be many who just don’t get on with the HUD. If you prefer a more traditional style of working, you can always turn the menus back on.

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