Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 is out!

After six months of hard work by the developers, Ubuntu 12.04 is now out and ready to download.

Below is a video of the top ten features, as chosen as OMG Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 12.04 = Fast

The ‘P’ in the Ubuntu 12.04 codename (“Precise Pangolin”) could just as easily stand for ‘Performance’ as it does ‘Precise’.

Speed, once a rod used to beat Unity with, is now arguably its greatest strength; a yardstick by which other desktop environments may start to be measured.

This speed boost feeds into the entire OS feeling brand new. Ubuntu is fast, snappy and responsive. In fact this release is perhaps best representative of the “Unity” vision proposed by Canonical; everything from apps to environment feels cohesive in 12.04. Elements that were, in prior releases, half-finished or cumbersome to use now feel polished and intuitive.

Quicklists, for example, were one ‘feature’ of Unity that hadn’t been exploited by many of Ubuntu’s default apps until now.

One of the first thing you will notice if you upgraded from 11.10 is that Rythmbox has replaced the rather sluggish Banshee music player. People who are coming from Lucid (Ubuntu 10.04) won't notice the change, as Rythmbox was in Lucid.

The latest versions of office suite LibreOffice, web-browser Firefox, e-mail client Thunderbird, and Instant Messenger Empathy are all included, with the latter introducing better support for video calling.

The Ubuntu One control panel has been redesigned, and includes set-up, installation and other options all in one window.

Ubuntu 10.04 upgraders will find an alternative photo-management application installed in the form of Shotwell (Ubuntu 10.04 had F-Spot).

For Tweets and Facebook addicts the default “social client” (also obtusely referred to as ‘Broadcast’ in places) remains as Gwibber. 

First off, Unity has been upgraded a lot since Ubuntu 12.04 was nearing a few weeks left until final release. A few posts ago, I was talking about Unity updates. So if you are a Unity hater, I would kindly ask you to give Unity another try. It has been upgraded, and a few of the major bugs have been patched.

There are new lenses, options and minor features for you to play around with – most notably of which is the new ‘App Menu’ searching tool ‘HUD’. 

The HUD is called by a tap of the ‘Alt’ and is able to search entire application menus of the ‘in focus’ app – as well as provide swift access to features in the ‘Status Menus’ (networking, messaging, etc).

The ‘Home’ Lens that previously provided 8 giant shortcuts to applications and folders has been replaced with dynamic ‘activity overview’ – showing your most recently used apps, files, etc. You can control specifically what shows here by adjusting the new Privacy settings available in System Settings.

If you don’t like the size of the left-hand launcher, you can now quickly and effortlessly resize it via the Appearance pane in System Settings.

Elsewhere you can find an overhauled Unity Greeter, which sports a tweaked UI, new animations, and user-account wallpaper matching.

The default theme of Ubuntu – Ambiance – has been updated, and sports a new ‘unfocused’ state to better help you differentiate between active windows and non-active windows.

There are also subtle changes to buttons, widgets, scrollbars, tabs, tooltips and more.

You can download it right now from the Ubuntu website. If the normal HTTP downloads are not working, or they are too slow, they recommend you go for the torrents, as not many people use that, and is faster.

Click here to go to the Ubuntu download page. There you will be presented with the x86 (32-bit) or x86-64 (64-bit) version. If you are not sure, get the 32 bit version. If you know that you have a 64 bit processor, then get the 64 bit version.

If you already have Ubuntu, go to your update manager to get the update. If you are using Wubi, be careful. Distro updates always present the risk of breaking the system.

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