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A first look at Ubuntu 12.04 (Gallery)

Ubuntu’s upcoming Unity-based Linux desktop is already looking pretty darngood.
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At first glance, the beta Ubuntu 12.04 Unity desktop looks the same as Ubuntu 11.10’s desktop. That’s by design. This is the next-generation of Unity, not the arrival of Ubuntu's Head Up Display.

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But some of HUD is already in Ubuntu 12.04. With HUD, you’ll use search for much of what you now use menus for.

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If you want to change your settings in Ubuntu 12.04, the operating system makes it easy. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of choices within those settings. What you see is pretty much what you’re going to get.

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One nice thing about Ubuntu 12.04 though is that it automatically integrated with your network—even if, as here, it includes a Samba-based server, a Windows Active Directory-based network, and an old style Windows Workgroup.

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Ubuntu also makes it very easy to keep the operating system, and all your applications, up to date from one easy update manager.

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Adding new programs is easy with Ubuntu’s app store like Ubuntu Software Center.

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Another neat Ubuntu trick is that, using the Software Center, you can synchronize applications between Ubuntu desktops. This way you can have the same apps on both your desktop and your laptop without going to a lot of extra effort.

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Ubuntu still has some rough spots. For example, while it uses the latest version of LibreOffice for its office suite, LibreOffice’s menus aren’t integrated into the Unity menu system. It works just fine, but it doesn’t quite the way other, better-integrated, programs do.

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Ubuntu also comes with its own private cloud service: Ubuntu One. With it you get 5GBs of free storage to share files with other PCs that
have Ubuntu One. That includes, by the by, Windows PCs since Ubuntu One also has a
Windows client.

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A close to unique feature in the new Ubuntu is that it gives you easy control over your privacy settings. Don’t want to keep a log of what you’re doing on your PC? Ubuntu makes it easy.

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Ubuntu comes with the newest version of Firefox for its default Web browser.

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Last, but not least, with other new desktops, like Windows’ Metro and GNOME 3.x, making it hard to simply turn a computer off, Ubuntu Unity still makes it easy to just shut your PC down.

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