The beta of the long-term support release of Ubuntu 12.04, Precise Pangolin, has become available to download, bringing the Unity desktop for testing to many enterprise Linux users.
The release across Desktop, Server, Cloud and Core was announced by Ubuntu on Thursday. Precise Pangolin comes with features that lower the power consumption of Sandy Bridge-based Linux systems and the 3.5 beta 2 release of LibreOffice.
The beta is the first LTS release to come with the contentious Unity desktop, which was introduced with Ubuntu 11.04. Additionally, the default music player has been switched to Rhythmbox and support for ClickPad devices has been enhanced.
"12.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open-source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution," Kate Stewart, Ubuntu's release manager, wrote in an announcement. "The team has been hard at work throughout this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs."
A tool that Ubuntu Project founder Mark Shuttleworth has called "the future of the menu", named the HUD, has been introduced. The HUD provides a context-sensitive menu and search interface for Unity applications.
The beta release can be downloaded from Ubuntu's website. The final version is scheduled for release around 26 April.