The five best things coming in Ubuntu 12.10 Linux

The five best things coming in Ubuntu 12.10 Linux

Summary: Ubuntu 12.10 has just hit beta phase. Here's what we have to look forward to in this forthcoming popular Linux distribution.

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The new Ubuntu Linux beta is already looking pretty good.

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions around. The next version, 12.10 aka Quantal Quetzal, has just reached beta phase. Here's what looking to to be the new Ubuntu's best features so far.

5) Unity Previews

In the Ubuntu Unity desktop, when you get a file, you get a lens that automatically open the file in the appropriate application. So, for instance, if you click on a document file, LibreOffice will open it, if you click on an image, Shotwell, will pop it open for you and so on.

What's new and improved in Ubuntu 12.10 is that you can now right click on files. Besides the usual more detailed information for the file from doing this that you get from most operating systems, you get a ”Preview Pane” for its content type. For instance if you right click a song in Unity's Dash display, you the album artwork and music player controls. This is a handy little feature.

4) Online account and Web service desktop integration.

Ubuntu has long integrated social network accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, into its desktop. In this version, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is also adding Web applications to its desktop. So, for example, Ubuntu's message indicator can be set to alert you when new mail arrives in your Gmail account.

Technically adept users can also use the application programming interface (API) and an integration script engine to make their own desktop applications.

3) Ubuntu One adds file sharing

Ubuntu One, Ubuntu's built-in personal cloud storage, ala Apple's iCloud and Windows 8's SkyDrive, now includes an easy-to-use file-sharing mechanism, Share Links. With this you can send friends and co-workers a Web link to a file you want to share with them. Of course, they still need your authorization to access the file, but it's still a handy, built-in way to share files.

2) Ubuntu moves to Python 3.

While like any Linux, you can write any program you like in any language that strikes your fancy, Ubuntu recommends “using Python. Many important parts of Ubuntu are already written directly in Python, and we work to make every important API and framework within Ubuntu available from Python.”

In this upcoming version, Kate Stewart, the Ubuntu Release Manager , announced, that “The Ubuntu desktop has begun migrating from Python 2 to Python 3. Most Python applications included in the desktop is now using Python 3, and most Python modules that are included by default are available for both Python 2 and Python 3.” In other words, if you want to develop for Ubuntu's, especially for its Unity and Head Up Display (HUD), you should be doing it in Python.

1) Unified Unity desktop

For graphics, Ubuntu is moving to a new X.org X Window stack. This include the new x.0rg 1.13, and updated X libs and drivers. On top of this, Ubuntu is consolidating its 2D and 3D versions of the GNOME 3.x-based Unity desktop. What all this should mean is that Ubuntu's desktop performance, especially on higher-end systems, should be faster.

Ubuntu is also using GNOME's Nautilus 3.4.2 as its fundamental file manager. This is not the newest version of Nautilus.

In the past, Ubuntu had always used GNOME's newest tools even while rejecting its default desktop, the GNOME shell, in favor or Unity. Not this time though. Like other Linux distributions, Ubuntu's developers have gotten tired of GNOME's increasingly out-of-touch Linux desktop development efforts.

The final version of Ubuntu 12.10 is scheduled for release on October 18, 2012. If you want you can give the new Ubuntu a spin today. You cannot, however, run or install Ubuntu 12.10 beta from a standard CD, The minimum Ubuntu test image, at about 800MB, is too big for an ordinary 700MB capacity CD. So, instead you'll need to use a DVD or a USB stick to play with the Ubuntu beta.

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Topics: Ubuntu, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, PCs

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63 comments
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  • Ubuntu's nice, but...

    I'm now a Linux Mint Debian Edition user. Rolling updates and no more upgrades are NICE!
    thebaldguy
    • Which Version?

      I tried the latest Mint with Cinnamon and it was buggy.
      slickjim
      • MATE

        I haven't tried Cinnamon, MATE is perfect for me! I haven't noticed any bugs, either.
        thebaldguy
      • yes unstable

        for some video cards, mate+compiz is solid rock though
        eulampius
  • Worth a try.

    Unity is staying no matter how many people hate it, but it's clear Gnome is going nowhere. I'm glad they're trying to do their own thing more and more and get away from some of the more unstable groups in Open Source today
    JeremyCMorgan
    • Unity built on Gnome core

      Given this, your comment doesn't really make much sense. Unity is built on top of the core GNOME components, so isn't a separate thing like KDE is. Choice is good, and while there will never be a single desktop environment to "rule them all" that doesn't mean they are warring factions or something.
      russellmcormond
  • Linux Is The Only Platform Still Innovating On The Desktop

    Linux is the only desktop platform offering users a choice of how to do things, instead of insisting that users shall do things according to the vendor's latest ideas of what user interfaces should look like. And managing it all without continual increases in hardware requirements.
    ldo17
    • choice and innovation

      are two separate ideas. OSX is chugging along bit by bit, and windows is making changes by leaps and bounds. you can't call that lack of innovation.

      and windows 8 at least runs better on low specs than windows 7.
      theoilman
      • People Say That About Running Better

        But, I'm skeptical. I don't see how Live Tiling (with variable size tiles) works except it relies on parallel processing and GPU off-loading.

        Is it that the fine print behind the claim is that by "low specs," one means the minimum specs recommended for Windows 7, and by better, does one mean well or not as sucky?

        And, to be clear, I do not consider better boot times to be synonymous with better performance while running.
        DannyO_0x98
        • Win 8

          I don't like the tiling much, although it's nice at times.... But Win 8 I have to agree is faster and better than any other windows I've used. I had a Vista machine purring along reasonably well, and put Win 8 on it a couple of weeks ago. It does run better and faster, all around. However, under this 90 day trial copy, Java isn't working with Open Office Writer for Layering of objects/photos. I just get error messages, and it locks up the PC. And, you need a microsoft login to load Win 8, of which seems to be due to Microsofts clear attempt at software sales thru the internet via Win 8. So I do like Win 8, and will be buying it, but I hope they fix Java for Open Office Writer, and I don't care for the software sales or required Microsoft Account Login.
          bill6060
          • A Small Correction

            Actually, you can still create an offline login in Windows 8, or if upgrading from Windows 7 you can keep your old login rather than migrating it to a Microsoft Account. I'm running Windows 8 on my backup tower right now, and I have both a Microsoft Account and a local user for different purposes.
            khaoschan
      • Translation needed

        “low specs”

        Please translate that for the average user.

        No were is that said to the average user.
        RickLively
        • I didn't really define "low specs"

          and in each article I've seen they define it differently, but there are many many articles (including from ZDnet) that compare windows 7 and windows 8 performance on older machines (generally 4+ years old), and each time windows 8 is said to run faster.
          theoilman
    • Choice isn't always good.

      "Linux is the only desktop platform offering users a choice of how to do things"

      Ah yes, the "choice" argument.

      Choice isn't always good.

      Let's say you're at a fast food for a lunch break. You want to buy a burger (unhealthy, I know, but this is just an example).

      Now let's say they want you to choose the color of the tray they give me, the material, the thickness of the material, the exact dimensions of the tray, the ornate pattern, and the colors of the pattern. And that's just the tray they give you. Let's say they also give you a similar variety of choices for the takeout bag, the condiments, the seat you sit in, the cushions on the seat, the menu you order from, and pretty much every tiny little detail in the store.

      In fact, they give you so many choices that it takes you well over an hour just to get to ordering the burger.

      But all you wanted was a burger.

      Yes, there is such a thing as too many choices. Too many choices slow you down in irrelevant details. Most users couldn't care less what their OS's UI looks like, as long as it's functional.

      Most users just want to get in, get their work done, and get out. They want the fast food experience.

      Guess what? Windows and MacOS (and increasingly mobile OSes) offer the fast food experience. Most users are not finicky about their UI, other than it should "just work."
      CobraA1
      • I need an edit button X(.

        "Now let's say they want you to choose the color of the tray they give me"

        Should be:

        "Now let's say they want you to choose the color of the tray they give you"

        Aack, I need an edit button X(.
        CobraA1
        • Thoughts About Edit From One Who Needs It as Well

          I imagine the Edit button made spam posts harder to filter. I'm underemployed, if ZDNet would like to bring back the Edit button, hire me 40 hours a week to vet posts and their edits, I promise to not talk back any more. I think we all win.

          Linux distros tend to be more flexible out of the box. You want Gnome? You want KDE? You want KDE4? You want no windowing system? You want cutting-edge, interesting technologies in fully functional versions? Can do. But, you might need a little Unix grease to make it happen.

          As a general consumer product, this is a detraction, but if you need to tune an operating system to your specific needs, if you are the person people look to solve interesting problems because you've got 95th percentile chops, the Linux distros are awesome. I'm not an admin server guru, but then again I'm not one of those adverse to the idea that a bash script would be just what the doctor ordered. When you want to let it blast, Linux does go to 11 and lets you set it up to go to 12, if that's what you need.
          DannyO_0x98
          • re:

            "I imagine the Edit button made spam posts harder to filter."

            I seem to recall one of them saying it was a bug, actually. Problem is, the web crew of this website is known to keep bugs around for years. The Talkbacks have always been a pain point for ZDNet users.

            "You want Gnome? You want KDE? You want KDE4? You want no windowing system?"

            What if I want iOS ;)? I actually find that to be more user friendly than anything else I've used.
            CobraA1
          • if you want iOS

            That doesn't mean Linux offers too many choices. It just means iOS is right for you. It doesn't mean it's right for everyone. Therein lies choice.
            tmsbrdrs
          • What if you were to want iOS?

            I would be stunned to see that statement coming from one of the more strident Microsoft defenders on here!

            Whew! Glad I was sitting down when I read that post; I think I need a little lie-down to get over the shock!
            non-sycophant
        • Ah, no my friend

          That would be too much of a choice, oui? ;-)
          kirovs