The Software Updater has been simplified and removed from the System control menu (accessed through the gear icon at the extreme top right of the display). Software Updater is now treated like any other application and is accessed via Dash. On launching, rather than requiring the user to initiate checks by clicking on a Check button, Software Updater now immediately checks for updates. The status display is simpler and smaller and shows just a moving status bar. With checks complete, details of the available updates are displayed. By default the technical descriptions of the updates are not shown. To install any available updates, users must confirm by clicking the Install Now button.
If there are no messaging related applications installed, such as Gwibber or Empathy, the Messaging menu now hides. Chat status is displayed via a new indicator at the bottom right corner of the Messaging envelope icon.
New versions for the bundled applications
A new Linux distribution release is always an opportunity to update to more recent versions of the bundled applications. In Ubuntu 12.10, for example, LibreOffice is incremented to version 18.104.22.168 and — although it's not installed by default — GIMP to version 2.8.
The indications from Beta 2 are that the release of Ubuntu 12.10, scheduled for 18 October, may make more of a splash than initially expected. According to the release schedule, further development freezes with the second beta, from which point only bug fixes and polishing should occur before the final release. However, there may be further adjustments to features such as the Amazon results for Dash search. Look out for our review of the final release in October.