Ubuntu 12.10 - So what's new?

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Ubuntu 12.10, codenamed Quantal Quetzal, is set for release on 18 October. Beta 1 is available now, and here are 10 notable changes from the last stable version of Ubuntu, 12.04.

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Ubuntu 12.10 - So what's new?

Ubuntu 12.10, codenamed Quantal Quetzal, is set for release on 18 October. Beta 1 is available now, and here are 10 notable changes from the last stable version of Ubuntu, 12.04.

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Linux kernel

Let’s start by discussing the updated components that comprise the underlying architecture of Quantal Quetzal Beta 1. As with most Linux distros that get a new version, the first thing usually to get upgraded is Linux itself. The final release of Ubuntu 12.10 will be based on Linux kernel 3.5.3. Specifically, Ubuntu’s developers spin their own customized variants of 3.5.3, and the one being used in Quantal Beta 1 is Ubuntu Linux 3.5.0-13.14.

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GNOME

Though Ubuntu’s developers dropped the GNOME shell as the default GUI for their OS in Version 11.04, they have still included the GNOME stack in order for subsequent releases of Ubuntu to remain compatible with GNOME applications. With this in mind, Quantal Beta 1 now uses GNOME 3.5.90.

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Python

Beginning in Version 12.10, Ubuntu will upgrade to Python 3.0 and no longer include 2.0 by default. The 2.0 packages will still be available to be installed separately, but the Ubuntu team is encouraging developers to port their Python code to 3.0.

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X.org

The X.org stack is updated in Quantal Beta 1 to include the xserver 1.3 candidate release. Besides the usual bug fixes, the most obvious benefit that the end user will experience in Ubuntu is improved smooth scrolling.

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Previews in Unity

Quantal Beta 1 introduces the latest version of Unity, bringing it to 6.4, which is the GUI that the developers of Ubuntu themselves created to replace the GNOME shell. There’s now a Previews feature: right-clicking on an icon that’s on or listed within the Dashboard (the application launcher set on the left of the Ubuntu desktop) will open a window showing a live preview of an application or media file (music, picture, video), and relevant information about it.

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3D effects user interface

The Unity 2D user interface, meant for running on computers not equipped with 3D graphics chipsets, has been dropped from Quantal Beta 1. It’s been replaced with a new tool that enables Ubuntu’s UI to implement 3D effects on a computer whether or not it has a 3D graphics chipset.

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LibreOffice

Quantal Beta 1 updates LibreOffice to 3.6.1, but what’s noteworthy is that the office suite now supports the Ubuntu App Menu. An application with this support has its menu bar appear on the top toolbar of the Ubuntu UI whenever you move the mouse pointer to this area while the application is active. Ubuntu’s developers have been working to unify most applications included under the Ubuntu App Menu; LibreOffice is one of the last to get this treatment that’s specific to Ubuntu’s UI.

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Nautilus downgrade

Here’s one of those few examples when something does not get upgraded to the newest version. For now, Ubuntu 12.10 will stick with an older version of the file manager Nautilus: Version 3.4.2. The Ubuntu developers felt that Nautilus 3.5.x removed too many features, including split-pane views, which were beneficial to the usefulness of their OS.

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Update Manager renamed, streamlined

In Quantal Beta 1, Update Manager has been relabeled as Software Updater. Presumably, this name is more obvious to the less technically astute user as to what this tool specifically does. Software Updater also has a more streamlined interface, and now automatically checks for any available updates to software on your installation of Ubuntu when launched.

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Too big for a CD

Perhaps it was inevitable, but the installation disc image of Ubuntu has grown to where it can no longer fit on a blank data CD. The size of the ISO file of the Desktop edition of Quantal Beta 1 starts at 800MB. So it can only be put on a blank data DVD, or on a USB flash stick that has at least that amount of storage space. To update your computer if it has Ubuntu 12.04 installed, you’ll have to do it through the Internet. No upgrade disc images of 12.10 are being officially provided.

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