Ubuntu Netbook Edition is a version of the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system that’s been optimized to play well with netbooks with small screens and low power processors. So far the Ubuntu Netbook folks have focused primarily on machines with Intel Atom processors — which covers most of the netbooks currently on the market. But with a number of smartbooks with ARM-based processors poised to hit the streets soon, the folks behind Ubuntu Netbook Edition wanted to make sure the OS could support a wider range of hardware.
Ubuntu developer Jamie Bennett says the primary stumbling block was the fact that the Ubuntu Netbook user interface needed 3D hardware drivers, which aren’t necessarily available for all ARM-based chipsets at the moment. So they rewrote the user interface for the ARM version of Ubuntu Netbook Edition to use 2D Enlightenment Foundation Libraries instead of 3D hardware support to provide graphical effects.
The long and short of it is, that most users won’t be able to see a difference between the Ubuntu Netbook Edition user interface on an ARM or x86-based device. The changes will all be under the hood. As an added bonus, the EFL-based version of the program launcher is easier to theme than the current 3D program launcher.