Review: Ubuntu 12.10

After 6 months of development, Ubuntu 12.10 has been released, bringing some exciting new features.
With Ubuntu 12.10, Unity has gained a “Previews” feature and there’s also an innovative new “webapps” technology which integrates websites tightly with Ubuntu. Read on to find out what’s new in the latest Ubuntu 12.10.

Ubuntu 12.10 video


(direct video link)

There’s an YouTube glitch if you watch the video in 1080p and Flash so either use HTML5 (youtube.com/html5) or don’t set the maximum resolution.

Unity changes: Dash previews, webapps support, more

In Ubuntu 12.10, Dash has got a new feature called “Previews” which lets you preview various content that shows up in Dash, via right click. The previews support applications, pictures, videos, music (which can be played directly from Dash), as well as some other file types like PDFs. Not all files are supported and it doesn’t work with folders for now:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Three new lenses have been added by default in Ubuntu 12.10:
- A social (Gwibber) lens which can be used to check out the latest Twitter, Facebook, etc. posts and it can even be used to interact with these services, like for instance retweeting or liking a Facebook photo, without leaving Dash:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots

And of course, this new lens has previews support as well:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
- A shopping lens which is built into Dash as an integrated lens and is used to deliver commercial content when you perform a search, under “More Suggestions”:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
This lens uses affiliate links so if you use it to purchase products, Canonical earns a percentage of the sale. Since this lens is installed by default, Dash presents a new legal notice which you can read by clicking its icon, available on each lens, on the bottom right:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
You can turn of this lens, along with all online features available in Dash via System Settings > Privacy:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
- And finally, the third new lens is a photo lens which displays both local and online (Facebook, Flikr, Picasa Web) photos:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Another cool new Unity feature in Ubuntu 12.10 is the addition of a new “webapps” technology by default. With this, websites like Gmail, Grooveshark, Last.fm, Facebook and many others can integrate tightly with Unity: they will support HUD, you’ll receive desktop notifications, quicklists, ALT-TAB support and they will integrate with the messaging menu:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Only two webapps are installed by default: for Amazon and Ubuntu One music store (online version), but many others can be installed via Ubuntu Software Center.

Examples of what the new WebApps technology can do:

  • Control Grooveshark from the Ubuntu Sound Menu
  • See how many unread emails you have in your Gmail or Yahoo Mail inbox from the Ubuntu Messaging Menu
  • Get native desktop notifications for Google+
For better online integration, there’s also a new Online Accounts dialog in System Settings (not to be confused with the GNOME Shell Online Accounts!), where you can add your Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc.:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
 These accounts are used by various Dash features along with applications such as Shotwell (upload photos to various websites), Empathy and others.

Other changes

The old user menu and system menu have been merged into one “session menu” which includes user switching, along with the power options, system settings and so on:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Ubuntu Software Center has got improved performance, with faster loading and installation, 3D secure support, recommendation feedback, integration with the Unity Search Plugin Previews and also, the banners can now open URLS:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
LibreOffice has finally got appmenu (global menu) and HUD support by default, without having to use a third-party extension:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Jockey (used for handling third-party drivers), has been replaced with a new “Additional Drivers” tab in Software Sources:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Ubiquity has got support for full disk encryption and LVM:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots

Even though initially the plan was to upgrade all the GNOME applications to version 3.6, Nautilus has been reverted and the final Ubuntu 12.10 release ships with Nautilus 3.4.2, the same version used in Ubuntu 12.04:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
LightDM has gained support for remote desktop logins by default. This is currently done through the Ubuntu Single Sign On service:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots

Another important change is that Compiz now works on GLES.

Unity 2D removed, no more CD-sized image, DVD or alternate images

Unity 2D has been completely removed: it is no longer installed by default and is not even available to install from the repositories starting with Ubuntu 12.10. Ubuntu users without graphical acceleration will be able to use Unity 3D thanks to llvmpipe, so there will be no fallback session anymore and Unity will look the same for all users.
That’s not all that was removed, the alternate CD (a text-mode installer that comes with various advanced options like RAID setup, LVM, install LTSP Server and so on) was removed as well. Some of its features have been added to Ubiquity, like full disk encryption or LVM support (see above).
Also, with Ubuntu 12.10, there are no more CD-sized images available. The new ISO size is 800MB, so it won’t fit on a CD anymore. Users will have to rely on DVDs and USB to install the latest Ubuntu version.

Default applications

The default application selection in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal includes: Nautilus 3.4.2, Firefox 16.0.1, Thunderbird 16.0.1, LibreOffice 3.6.2, Rhythmbox 2.97, Shotwell 0.13, Ubuntu Software Center 5.4.1.2, Empathy 3.6.0.3, GNOME Control Center 3.4.2, Deja Dup 24.0, Totem 3.4.3, Gedit 3.6.0, Brasero 3.4.1 and Gwibber 3.6.0, all on top of GNOME 3.6 and Unity 6.8.0.
Also, Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal uses Linux Kernel 3.5.0-17.28 based on the v3.5.5 upstream kernel, Xorg server 1.13 and mesa 9.0. For more technical info, see the official release notes.
If you don’t want to use Unity, the latest GNOME Shell 3.6.1 is available in the Ubuntu 12.10 repositories, so you can easily install it via Ubuntu Software Center.

The fallback session is available in the repositories as well, and it works, even with Compiz:

Default Ubuntu 12.10 artwork

The default Ubuntu 12.10 theme has been updated to support GTK 3.6, including the new toolbar style for the GNOME 3.6 application stack, along with many other changes:
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Ambiance theme
ubuntu 12.10 screenshots
Radiance theme
There’s also a new default wallpaper which follows the same colors scheme as the previous ones:
Ubuntu 12.10 quantal quetzal wallpaper
There are many many other refinements and minor new features in Ubuntu 12.10, too many to include in a single post, so download and install or upgrade to Ubuntu 12.10 and see all of them for yourself!

Download Ubuntu 12.10

Download Ubuntu 12.10 from http://www.ubuntu.com/ and, like the homepage says “Avoid the pain of Windows 8.”

Also check out the official release notes!

Web Upd8 – Ubuntu / Linux blog

StumbleUponDiggTwitterFacebookRedditLinkedInEmail