Thursday, April 26

Ubuntu 12.04 'Precise Pangolin' Released, Changes and Screenshot Tour


Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin has been released today. This is fourth Long Term Release (LTS) by Canonical and both Desktop and Server versions will be supported for five years.

An LTS release has greater focus on polish and stability and it aggregates all the work done in last 4 release cycles. Probably the most visible and talked about change since last LTS is the new Unity Desktop Interface, which in itself started as a netbook shell and slowly took over Ubuntu desktop.

I have been using Ubuntu 12.04 since Beta 1 and the experience has been great. Unity is much more customizable, responsive and beautiful. There is tight integration between apps, software center and system settings has been tweaked to include Unity specific options. Apart from these visible features, some serious under the hood work has been done, as Ubuntu 12.04 is blazing fast. There is very little app launch delay, less CPU usage and improved battery life then last Ubuntu release.

Lets look at all new features and changes in Ubuntu 12.04, for a video scroll to the end:

Default Apps

Banshee, Gbrainy and Tomboy have been removed. Rhythmbox is now default music player. LibreOffice has been updated to 3.5.2 and GNOME has been updated to 3.4.1. Kernel based on  v3.2.14 upstream stable Linux kernel.

Heads Up Display (HUD)

With Ubuntu 12.04, a new way to access application menus has been introduced. Named, Heads Up Display or HUD, this features allows you to access menu options by typing search string. HUD can be invoked by tapping ALT key.


HUD key is configurable in gnome-control-center for both Unity 2D and 3D.

Unity

Unity has received a major revamp in this development cycle and it is undoubtedly the most polished Unity release till date.

Unity Launcher now takes average background color.

Home Lens has received a major change in Precise. All the shortcuts with big icons have been dropped and home lens now shows info about recently used apps, files and downloads.

Home Lens in Oneiric:


Home Lens in Precise:


Main dash button now has quicklists providing fast access to installed lenses. The application name font on quicklists is now bold and keep/remove in launcher has been renamed to lock and unlock from launcher.


A new video lens has been added to dash providing an easy way to search for local as well online videos.


You can easily disable software recommendations in main dash menu. Just select Local Apps only from new sources option. This feature works with Unity2D too.


A message is displayed when no results are returned in the Dash.


Pressing and holding Super key now displays a keyboard shortcuts hint overlay. This feature can be disabled from Compiz Config Settings Manager.


New Super+Tab Switcher lets you scroll between shortcuts on Unity launcher. Releasing the key launches a new window or reveals a running application window.


Tooltips in Unity got a new look.


Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu Software Center received major improvements including faster start up and better application discovery.

Multiple Screenshots and Embedded video support for detailed apps view has been added in Ubuntu Software Center.


Support for viewing prices and purchasing an application from list itself has also been added.


All applications installed via Ubuntu Software Center are automatically added to the Unity launcher with a nice animation as a new option 'New Applications in Launcher' is now turned on by default. A progress bar is  also shown on the icon to indicate installation progress.


Detailed view shows system requirements like mouse, printer, 3D hardware acceleration etc.


Ubuntu Software Center can now recommend relevant apps. This is an opt-in feature.


A new 'People Also Installed' category is shown in detailed application view.


Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One GTK interface has been replaced by a new Qt interface to maintain consistency across other platforms.



System Settings

System Settings have received  a new improved look with monochrome icons and category separators.


Launcher icon size can be changed now using a simple slider. 


A new Behavior tab has been added where you can tweak Unity settings like turning launcher autohiding on/off  and changing launcher reveal spot. 


Sound settings panel have been resigned and the interface has been made more intuitive and simpler.


One major addition to System Settings has been the new Privacy Settings. These settings give you full control on the info that is displayed on dash.




New option to display either a single launcher or a launcher on each display in a multi-monitor environment and option to turn off sticky monitor edges.


A new category for Canonical's Landscape Client has been added to system settings.

Unity 2D

Unity 2D has received major changes and now it resembles very closely to Unity 3D. It does lack some of the features available only in Unity 3D but it is much faster.


LightDM/Login Screen

LightDM Unity Greeter can now read user desktop backgrounds in Precise. 


LightDM greeter theme has been improved with much cleaner look. Session chooser is now revealed in a neat dialog menu.


Other Changes
  • Improved ALT+TAB switcher now lets you switch between windows on current workspace
  • Genre filter category in the Music Lens now have a 3 column layout
  • Window auto-maximise functionality now disabled on monitors with a resolution above 1024 x 600
  • Application icons now only display windows from the current workspace in the window spread
  • Windows can be resized using overlay scrollbar thumb
  • Nautilus received dynamic quicklists support making it easier to access your bookmarked folders.


  • Global menu is now displayed for longer time when a new application is launched and then fades away smoothly. Menu discovery time and fade-in, fade out duration can tweaked from compiz config settings manager (CCSM).
  • You can now add a 'Show Desktop' shortcut on the launcher from CCSM.
  • Qucklists added to many default applications like Rhythmbox, Totem, Gedit, Brasero etc
  • New Default And Community Wallpapers

  • A broader overlay scrollbar thumb and new spin buttons.
  • Compiz Config Settings Manager now displays a warning.
  • NotifyOSD uses same color as dash
  • Improvements to light themes
  • Ubuntu 12.04 now has enhanced support for ClickPad devices.
  • IPv6 and IPv4 are now equally supported in Network Manager: an IPv4 address is no longer required for a connection to be considered as working.
  • Hibernate (suspend to disk) has been disabled by default
Check out a video review by Quidsup:


Download Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin LTS

If you are getting site offline message, download from torrent.

32bit: http://releases.ubuntu.com/12.04/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso.torrent

64bit: http://releases.ubuntu.com/12.04/ubuntu-12.04-desktop-amd64.iso.torrent

To upgrade from Ubuntu 11.10, launch the update manager, check for new updates, and you will see a notification for new release.


You can take a live tour of Ubuntu @ http://www.ubuntu.com/tour/en/.


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