Ubuntu 13.04 goes beta

Ubuntu 13.04 goes beta

Summary: In a few weeks, the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu Linux will roll out. Here's what to expect.


It took a while, but the second, and final, beta of the next version of Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution, 13.04, aka Raring Ringtail, has been released.

Ubuntu 13.04 is only weeks away from release, but you can take an early look at it today.
(Image: Screenshot by Steven J Vaughan-Nichols/ZDNet)

Behind the scenes, there's been a lot of debate on how long Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, will support non-long-term support (LTS) releases of the Linux-based operating system, such as this one. The final decision by the Ubuntu Technical Board was to "reduce maintenance period for regular/standard (non-LTS) Ubuntu releases from 18 months to nine months". In short, Ubuntu is moving to a rolling release schedule.

As Ubuntu continues to evolve into being a universal operating system for PCs, tablets, and smartphones, this move to a more rapid-fire schedule doesn't come as any surprise. This is a natural continuation of Canonical becoming more focused on its own development path instead of the broader Linux desktop.

That said, here's what we can expect from Ringtail.

First, if you really, really can't stand Unity, the default Ubuntu interface, not only do you have KDE for a choice in Kubuntu, Xfce with Xubuntu, and LXDE with Lubuntu, but you'll also be able to use GNOME 3.6, with some of 3.8, in Ubuntu-GNOME 13.04. Let me just say though that I still find the GNOME 3.x family to be more annoying than useful. If you want an old-style Ubuntu GNOME 2.x style interface look to Linux Mint with either Cinnamon or MATE.

As always, there will be a slew of updated programs. That starts from the core. Ubuntu will be using the Linux 3.8.5 kernel. Above that, you're going to fine LibreOffice 4.01 for the office suite; Firefox 20.0 for the web browser; and Thunderbird 17.05 for email.

For development tools, Ubuntu has the usual assortment. While Canonical intended to wean users away from Python 2.x, and does indeed ship with Python 3.3, they were unable to "convert everything to Python 3 for Ubuntu 13.04".

Ubuntu will also include an early version of Upstart Users. This is a new desktop tool designed to speed up the desktop login experience by deferring some desktop services from starting unless they're requested or required. This feature won't be enabled in 13.04, but you'll be able to manually turn it on for all users or a particular user if you wish.

Finally, and annoyingly, Ubuntu 13.04 will not include the Ubuntu installer for Windows, Wubi. This popular tool enabled Windows users run Ubuntu from within Windows just as if it were an application.

Unfortunately, as Steve Langasek, an Ubuntu developer, explained, Wubi is "not currently in very good shape for a release" for a variety of reasons. Not least of which is that "Wubi has not been updated to work with Windows 8" and Ubuntu has been focused on its mobile client over the desktop.

Don't like this decision? Ubuntu would be more than happy for a developer to take Wubi on. Langasek concluded, "If someone is interested in taking over the maintenance of Wubi so that it can be released with 13.04 (or if not with 13.04, then with a future release), I would encourage them to start by looking at the above-mentioned bugs and preparing patches, then talking to the release team." I, for one, would welcome someone bringing Wubi back from retirement. It's proven a useful program for introducing Windows users to Linux.

In the meantime, if you want to give Raring Ringtail a try, you can either download an Ubuntu 13.04 ISO or upgrade from Ubuntu 12.10 by taking the following steps:

  • Open Software Sources

  • Switch to the Updates tab and set Notify me of a new Ubuntu version to For any new version

  • Press Alt+F2 and type in "update-manager -d" (without the quotes) into the command box

  • Update Manager should open up and tell you: New distribution release "13.04" is available

  • Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.


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Topics: Ubuntu, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software Development, Windows

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  • Ubuntu 13.04 goes beta

    Will give Ubuntu 13.04 a try….
    • Bahahaha....

      Kudos... and explain what do you do with it...
      • Probably quicker to list what you can't...

        Don't want the comments section getting clogged up now do we?
        • if you moved the task bar to the left of the screen

          you cannot say that you innovated something of your own. and dear SJVN your language changes when you talk about windows 8..very funny :)
          • ?

            He says right in the article that he's not a fan of the gnome 3 based environment, and lists popular alternatives (as you can choose your DE) my only disagree point would be that I find mint's XFCE implementation to be more visually similar to gnome 2 than MATE or Cinnamon
          • And today we have three new schmucks who post for Windows

            Now see Owllll1net brought two of his jerk windows friends today MarknWill and dugbug11 to post the same dribble. the only other dumkoff that's not here is Loverock Davidson. He probably out checking his Surface Rt sales at Best Buy like a good little Micro-softie should be doing..
            Over and Out
          • Whoops!

            Spoke too soon - see next page of comments!
          • I miss Loverock Davidson!

            I actually just scanned the comments looking for this guy "Loverock Davidson" . Funny that someone else mentions his absence as well!

          • You always suprise me

            Just when I think your comments cannot get any worse they do.
            Dribble, dribble, dribble...
          • And you just come here all by yourself, Another View

            though that alone accounts for you and 20 others.
            William Farrel
          • Try using Mate with (X)Ubuntu

            I use Mate with (X)Ubuntu. It gives me the same as Ubuntu 12.04 and before. Just use the instructions at www.mate-desktop.org . It also works for derivatives like Zorin. Or Salix Mate if you do not care for using "sudo"

      • @Owllll1net

        Not Professional at all.
        Then again you will never be professional.
        • Really?

          I asked an honest question, what is he going to do with it. And you are judging me... not professional either...
          • Owllll1net...better go check your ever FAILING Surface Rt sales

            Best Buy is almost done packing them up as we speak. Take Loverock Davidson along with you, than you both can have a joint compiling.
            Over and Out
          • How many ubuntu tablets have been sold?

            None? great...
          • HA HA HA

            And just for you trolls, moles, shills, and Balmer fan boys from Redmond Washington.

            Here's what is really going on with MicroKlunk:

            This is indeed the beginning of the end for Microsoft.
            History is unfolding before your very eyes.

            Consider these poignant facts:

            1. Users are aware that they have a choice now. The world is no longer
            dominated by Microsoft and its inferior technology.

            2. Microsoft has no mobile market share. That ship has sailed.
            Windows 8 phone and all its tablets are confirmed as a complete failure.

            3. Cloud computing makes the OS agnostic, so why would any
            sane person buy a pc or laptop they know has a slow Windows virus trap OS on it,
            if they were not forced to?

            Recent Google Chromebook sales are proof of this.
            Again choice is driving users away from Microsoft.
            The more choice the faster Microsoft revenues decline.

            4. Microsoft is only capable of making money by forcing their inferior OS onto
            the public through OEMS who are presently very pissed off at Microsoft.

            5. When a fully configured user friendly commercial Linux operating system is released with all the drivers you need, Users will see that they have a modern virus free choice and they will gladly embrace it and run away from Microsoft, because they have years of experience using a rock solid Google Android Linux operating system on their phones and tablets. Users now know that Linux is everywhere and it is far superior when compared to any Windows device.

            6. Google docs is gaining momentum as a viable less expensive M$ Office alternative.

            7. What's left for MicroKlunk to sell? X-Boxes?
            Will that cover their multi-billion dollar payroll?

            I think not.

            8. Microsoft has posted 3 consecutive quarterly losses.

            It's over for Microsoft. They will downsize as fast as a lead balloon
            falling from the sky. This will happen in 2014.
          • Too bad no such Linux has been released within the last 22 years.

            At this rate maybe we'll see such a thing by 2040 or so.
          • Nonsense.

            Microsoft made almost $17 billion net profit on almost $74 billion in revenue in 2012. They're not going anywhere.
          • Choices.... LOL!

            Read my post below... worked on Ubuntu 12.10 for 8 hours trying to install a simple "certified" wireless USB device. Sure, call me "not so technical", but until these basic tasks can be done by basic users, Ubuntu will remain on the fringe of the OS world.
      • I use Ubuntu 12.10, exclusively

        I use Ubuntu at work - both on the server side and on my desktop/laptop. So what do I do with it? Web application development, Android development, server administration, graphics editing with GIMP and Inkscape, communicating with colleagues via Skype, storing important data in the Ubuntu One cloud, accessing my home network through my VPN server (also running on Ubuntu server), producing professional business proposals using LibreOffice (distributed as PDFs), the occasional C++ coding using gcc, and more recently some BB10 programming.

        I take it you have no idea what it's like to open up the file manager (Nautilus in Ubuntu), enter into the address bar: sftp://HomeServer (an entry for which is in my ~/.ssh/config, including public/private keys for authentication), and then have your files that exist on your home server appear (ready for reading/copying/editing etc).

        MarknWill is right - it's easier to list what you can't do (such as easily getting infected with viruses and malware/spyware, or having your computer being subverted into being part of a botnet, or being subjugated by Microsoft or Apple, who stipulate what you can and can't install/do with your computer).