In Pictures: A visual history of OS desktop environments

A trip down memory lane, tracing major milestones in the evolution of the desktop environment.

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Unity June 9, 2010 – The team behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution created an application launcher for Netbooks called “Unity.” It consisted of a vertical list of application categories, took up the entirety of the desktop space, and bore similarities to many other “simplified” application launchers over the years. The Ubuntu team liked this approach so much that they opted to build an enhanced version of the Unity interface as the default for Ubuntu. Over time, some interesting new features have found their way into Unity. Most notable was the Unity HUD, which allows the user to access menu items via a shell-like heads-up terminal that learns your common actions. Want to “Copy” some text? Open the HUD and type “Copy.”

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In Pictures: A visual history of OS desktop environments

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