Changes to the Software Centre
An optional Recommendations feature has been added to the Software Centre for filtered application suggestions. You'll need to create or sign onto an Ubuntu Software Centre Store account to receive the recommendations. The width of the Software Centre can now be changed by dragging the overlay widget or right edge; the start-up time while the Software Centre loads the apps catalogue has also been much improved.
The Software Centre now offers an optional Recommendations button
Ubuntu One client goes Qt only
A new Qt-based version of the Ubuntu One client has been developed, and support for the original GTK version is being dropped. The new client more closely resembles the Ubuntu One Client for Windows and shares code with it.
The Qt-based Ubuntu One client with the new-look login screen
A new option in System Settings allows you to switch on Privacy settings for particular activities. This means that these activities will no longer be recorded in the operating system log files. For example, you can choose not to record activity for email or spreadsheet files, or even activity within selected folders.
The new Privacy settings, accessed via the System Settings panel
Also new to System Settings, Landscape is a system management tool that provides enterprise-wide monitoring, support and upgrade management — including cloud management — from a single interface. Landscape is available for purchase as part of the Ubuntu Advantage support service: interested parties can register for a free trial.
Landscape, a tool for enterprise IT managers, is available via the Ubuntu Advantage support service
Significant application updates include Firefox 11.0, Thunderbird 11.0.1, LibreOffice 3.5.22, photo app Shotwell 0.12.2, CD/DVD burner Brasero 3.4.1 and a reversion to Rhythmbox (2.96) from Banshee as the default music player. The Nautilus file manager is updated to version 3.3.92.
Those frustrated by the lack of configurability in the Unity shell might like to try Ubuntu Tweak or MyUnity. Ubuntu Tweak and MyUnity are third-party configuration tools with user-friendly interfaces that make it easier for users to change the look and feel of Ubuntu GNOME/Unity. Although version 0.6.1 of Tweak has support for Ubuntu 12.04, you install Tweak and make changes at your own risk. You can add the MyUnity repository to software sources with the Personal Package Archive — ppa:myunity/ppa.
GNOME shell users will be glad to know that the Ubuntu repositories for Precise Pangolin now have the latest GNOME 3.4 shell.
With the release of Precise Pangolin the process starts again with version 12.10, now named Quantal Quetzal, which is due in October.
In line with the name (Quetzal are a very colourful family of Central and South American birds), early news indicates that 12.10 will feature more cloud integration and a theme redesign with a broader colour palette. More details are expected to appear next month at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Oakland, California.
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