Friday, February 3

Ubuntu 12.04 'Precise Pangolin' Alpha 2 Released - Changes, Videos and Screenshots


Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 'Precise Pangolin' Alpha 2 is now available for download. Lots of visible changes have landed into Alpha 2. Lets look at them.

Linux Kernel 3.2.2, Rhythmbox is now default music player (ported to GTK3), LibreOffice 3.5 Beta 2, Thunderbird 10, Firefox 10 etc.


During UDS there was a discussion to drop non-PAE kernel in 12.04 LTS. However, now drop of non-PAE kernel have been postponed to Ubuntu 12.10. This means that these kernel flavors will be supported for another 5 years (LTS period). See this for more details.

Application menus on top panel are now easier to discover as they are now shown for longer period when a new application window is launched. You can change this time from Compiz Config Settings Manager (CCSM).


Ubuntu button on Unity launcher now supports quciklists providing easy access to installed lenses. Main application name is now displayed in bold text.



A new show desktop shortcut can be added to unity launcher from CCSM.


New dynamic quicklists in Nautlius.


You can tweak the color of dash from CCSM.


Unity 2D now have buttons for maximizing and minimizing dash. Ubuntu button design has been improved to match BFB from Unity3D.



LightDM Unity Greeter can now read user desktop backgrounds in Precise. The effect looks very cool in action. Check out the video.


A language selector was also added to the LightDM. However, it has been removed because of some bugs. Hopefully it will land in Beta.

Appearance settings has been renamed to 'User Interface' as per the new specifications. Many Compiz settings have been added to system settings making it easier to customize Unity, without having any need to touch CCSM. For more details read this.



Lots of under the hood work has been done for USC improving startup time and overall performance. A new change has landed where by all the apps installed form USC are automatically added to the Unity launcher. This option can be turned off from top menu. Check out the video and for more details, see this.




When installing new software through software-center, corresponding language support packages (translations, spell check modules particular to that software, help files, etc.) are now installed along automatically. This removes the need to open "Language Support" after installing new software.

Light themes now have new spin buttons and overlay scrollbar thumb has been made thicker for easier navigation.



Thats about it in Alpha 2. New Ubuntu HUD Menus were supposed to be available in Alpha 2. However, they are not ready and most likely will land in next beta release.

A newer version of Unity, version 5.2 is currently being tested in a PPA. It has already reached release candidate status. However, it has not made into Alpha 2 but soon will be available in Precise after all remaining testing is done. Lets look at changes in Unity 5.2.

Big tiled shortcuts have been removed from Home Lens in Dash and now it shows recent apps, file and downloads activities.

Home Lens in Ubuntu 11.10:


Home Lens in Ubuntu 12.04:


If you don't like software recommendations in dash, you can turn them off by selecting 'Local Apps' in sources.



If you press and hold Super key, an overlay showing all handy keyboard shortcuts is shown.


New Super+Tab Switcher lets you scroll between shortcuts on Unity launcher.


Multi monitor support has improved. You will now see launchers on each of your monitor, and when you scroll across a monitor, you should feel some resistance in order to allow for you to use the launcher on that screen. These settings can be changed from CCSM.

New improved screen edge detection method. To invoke the launcher, you now need to push (or "scroll into") against the left of the screen, rather than hover for X seconds. No more hitting the back button in Firefox and having the launcher pop up in your way.


Our friend Quidsup has done a nice review of Alpha 2 plus some extras like new HUD menus and MyUnity. Check out the video below:


Download Ubuntu 12.04 Alpha 2 Iso Files (This is development version. Avoid using it on production systems)

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