Ubuntu 13.04 'Raring Ringtail': Beta 1 preview

Ubuntu 13.04 'Raring Ringtail': Beta 1 preview

Summary: Despite having cut back on the milestone releases, the Beta 1 release for Ubuntu 13.04, codenamed Raring Ringtail, has appeared on schedule. As yet, though, there's not a great deal new to report.

TOPICS: Ubuntu, Linux, Reviews

There have been more rumours circulating about the upcoming 25 April release of Ubuntu 13.04, or 'Raring Ringtail', than is usual for an Ubuntu update.

Early on in the development cycle, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said, in a blog dated 18 October 2012, that a more secret 'skunkworks' approach would be adopted for key parts of Ubuntu 13.04. His rationale was that Canonical's previously more open approach had resulted in critics attacking new concepts before they were fully developed. Participation in development would therefore operate on more of a 'by invitation' basis (to be fair, Shuttleworth did backpedal a little in a subsequent post).

In October 2012 it was announced that all Alpha releases and the 'first' Beta would be dropped; then during the recent online Ubuntu Developer Summit the idea of switching to a rolling release was once again discussed, the argument being that this would help reach the goal of device convergence by 14.04. Axing the 13.04 release altogether was even mentioned as a possible consequence.

Despite all this uncertainty, Ubuntu 13.04 Beta 1 has now been released — on the date scheduled in the roadmap on the Ubuntu Wiki.

Installation is by now very slick, even on the beta. You can choose whether or not to download updates while installing, and whether to install third-party software at the beginning of the install. The install prompts you to select a network connection and offers three partition choices: use existing free disk space; use all disk space; or manual partition selection. This is followed by a choice for keyboard layout (with an autodetect button). There is a 'Who are you?' dialogue for name, password and so on, and a dialogue where you choose a user picture. The install is fast — about 15 minutes on a Dell XPS M1210 laptop — and a single reboot was all that was needed to be up and running.

The default Ubuntu 13.04 'Raring Ringtail' desktop. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)

Following Shuttleworth's intention that Ubuntu should move towards a more elegant and beautiful user interface, there are new icons for the Software Updater, Nautilus and the Dash Home button, changing the look of the Unity Launcher. The appearance of the Software Updater has changed and is less cluttered, presenting clear options.

The new filing cabinet icon for the file system and the new Dash Home button.

The file system icon on the launcher bar has a new look and opens a revamped Nautilus file manager with changes to the user interface. Instead of a text menu appearing at the right-hand end of the desktop menu bar, a row of buttons along the top of the file window now open search, file organisation and file operation menus. Activated buttons adopt a grey shade — the files as icons button, for example, is activated by default.

The Nautilus file manager window in 13.04 with the file operations menu opened. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)
The Nautilus file manager in 13.04 with Search selected. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)

There is a new icon for the Software Updater and the update progress dialogues have been tweaked for clarity.

The new software updater icon.
The Software Updater dialogue listing new updates looks a little different from previous versions. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)

The shutdown or restart dialogue has now been harmonised with the Unity theme and displays two large button areas to shut down or restart.

The new Ubuntu 13.04 shutdown dialogue. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)

The rather whimsical mouse and touchpad test display (System Settings / Mouse & Touchpad, Test Your Settings button) shows a graphic of a small girl flying a kite watched by a cat. Scrolling up with the mouse or touchpad reveals some birds, balloons and finally the kite. The round logo at the bottom responds to left clicks, right clicks and double clicks, changing colour as the mouse or pad buttons are manipulated. A previous — more conventional looking — dialogue allows users to set the mouse or touchpad responses.

The 13.04 beta mouse and touchpad test display. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)
The mouse and touchpad settings dialogue. The Test Your Settings button leads to the girl, cat and kite graphic. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)

The beta ships with LibreOffice, Firefox 19.0.2, Thunderbird 17.0.4 and Linux Kernel 3.8.0-12-generic (type uname -r in a terminal window and hit return to see the Linux Kernel version).

What's next?
Even for this first and 'only' beta, the OS seems remarkably stable, fast and responsive — although admittedly there's little in the way of new features. Perhaps these are being held back for the big reveal, as promised by Mark Shuttleworth for the final release. Tune in for our next milestone review of the final beta release on 28 March, and a full review of the final product on 25 April.

As a footnote, GNOME enthusiasts will be glad to hear that GNOME will now be available in an official Ubuntu remix called GNOMEbuntu.

Topics: Ubuntu, Linux, Reviews

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  • Getting even better

    The changes look very nice. Thanks Terry for the sneak-peak of 13.04.

    Isn't this is the excitement one would miss if rolling release is adopted?
    • I'm not sure if rolling releases is right for everyone

      but to have it as an option isn't a bad thing.
  • 13.04

    I've been using 13.04 since January, and I must say I like it a lot. There's not a whole lot of difference, but I have noticed it runs smoother and a tad faster.
    • I would say

      This release will be known primarily for ironing out Unity a lot.

      I notice a huge amount of difference between 12.10 and 13.04 in this area.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • It's a lot faster and smoother here too.

        Finally where it should have been all along. Even on my netbook it's running smooth.
  • Download

    Is there a link to the beta 1 preview floating around? Or is it just today's daily build?
    • The way it goes

      Ubuntu proper isn't getting a "beta 1", but the *buntu are.

      Canonical is apparently trying to steer clear of... this sort of thing where people judge their pre-release software.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • here is the link


      just the currently daily bro.
  • Download of the beta

    Go for the daily build - http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/
    Burn that ISO as a disk image to a DVD (it won't fit on a CD), set your system to boot from CD/DVD, reboot and choose to - try without installing, or install. Use software update, right away and frequently thereafter to keep up with changes as they happen.
    • Ubuntu 9.10

      get the people who make ubuntu to make a second edition of ubuntu 9.10 because it is really good and lots of people switched if you know them
      Jeremy James
      • what are you talking about?

        what are you talking about?
  • ONE question is.......

    I have a system with onboard and a PCIe card on it

    On-Board HD 4000 onboard Graphice
    PCIe Sapphire HD 750 2Gb RAM

    And I cannot get Ubuntu 12. or Zorin 6 Ultimate to load.

    Has this been fixed in Ubuntu 13
    • You can't use catalyst legacy (i.e FGLRX-legacy)

      It appears AMD now goes in for a very short "FU" support cycle and as it stands anything including HD4XXX and below will not support x-server 1.13 or above. So with 13.04 you will not be able to use the closed source driver unless you downgrade x-server to 1.12.

      It appears AMD haven't got two cents to rub together to properly fund a support team.
      Alan Smithie
  • The answer apprars it HAS NOT still hangs on boot up......

    Any answers please
  • Hangs with dual displays

    Its not practical for me to test any distro on a large number of machines but bear in mind this is beta 1 so your issue may get solved with the final release. You could perhaps see what happens if you disconnect the second monitor or remove the extra graphics card.
  • Have tried both.....

    Removing the additional Graphice card still nothing I will included the specs of this system for you...

    Carls New Computer System….
     1 x Asus P8Z77-V Intel Z77 ATX Ivy Bridge Socket 1155
     1 x Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5Ghz Socket 1155 Box Unlocked
     1 x Arctic Cooling Freezer i30, CPU Cooler, 120mm, Direct-Touch Heatpipe
     16 Gb Total G.SKILL Ripjaws X 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600MHz (PC3 12800) High Per
     1 x COOLER MASTER HAF XM MID TOWER 200mm USB3.0 with add Fans
     2 x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 64MB 1TB Set to mirror Raid 1 e: drive
     1 x Corsair Force GS Series 3 480GB SSD with SandForce SF-2200 Series controllers and fast Toggle NAND SATA3 6Gb/s R/W: 555/525 MB/s (MLC) This drive is installed in the removable slots as c: drive
     1 x Corsair HX-850 850W ATX Power Supply 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Cabling 6x 6+2 PCI-E 12x SATA 8x Molex
     1 x Lite-on 24X SATA Black Dual DVDRW iHAS324 Retail drive d:
     1 xSapphire HD 7850 DirectCU II 2GB DDR5 PCI-E 2 x DVI 1 x HDMI 1 x Displayport Video Card connecting to two monitors
     Microsoft Windows 7 Pro 64bit OEM
     Microsoft Office Professional Academic 2010 Retail Box
     1 x External USB Card Reader
     AVG Internet Security 3pc's x 2 years updates and AVG PCTuneup 3 PC's 2 years updates
     2 x AOC e2350Sd 23" Full HD LED Monitor - Black 1920x1080 20M:1 running off the Asus Video card
     1 x Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Combo
     4 x Existing Seagate 250GB NQC ST3250310AS drives from old system these are running 2 as RIAD 1 mirrored 250Gb f: and 2 x RAID 0 500gb g:

    I wish Linux would pick up and install in a large system like this.
    Even if there was a base video that would reconise the big video cards and at least install and run even in a low video mode and allow you to get and install the video drivers later.

    I am loath to remove and play aroung with this system.
    • Sadly

      AMD drivers aren't all that great for Linux.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • installation seems the same

    the article says "Installation is by now very slick" and then everything described is exactly as it already is in 12.10. and possibly 12.04 I cant recall. Having not installed it I cannot say whether anything is different, but certainly the description provided completely applies to the previous version. The article also goes on about icon and appearance changes. It would be nice instead to comment on real changes. Such as... how is privacy options handled and what lens are installed.
    Also, I dont think the update icon is any more clear then the previous one. Which showed a box package with and up arrow next to it. I do not see how an "A" icon is any more apparent.. it just looks more like a corporate logo to me.
    I dont mind graphical changes, but an article describing functional changes might be more interesting.
    Pea Wormsworth
    • Maybe you didn't read the article well.....

      More information will be released as the release date draws closer and is reached...."although admittedly there's little in the way of new features. Perhaps these are being held back for the big reveal, as promised by Mark Shuttleworth for the final release."-in english that means NO ONE knows and those who know won't say anything-yet. The article was clear.
  • Installation seems the same

    Ahem ... well what about my description of the re-vamped Nautilus. Seems like new functionality to me. And I did say in the conclusion - "although admittedly there's little in the way of new features. ..... "