[Reviews]: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin Review

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Finally! The latest stable release 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin is available to download in different flavors, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, UbuntuStudio, and Mythbuntu. Many of the recent changes in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, we already have seen it any many post on the earlier builds of Precise at LinuxNov. However, in this post we will go through the recent major features in a quick review for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin.

Check the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin release notes, then we will go through the major changes and the default applications comes along with Ubuntu Precise.

The “HUD” or “Heads-Up-Display”

HUD allows you to search though application menus to run any of  the included functions on these menus. When this feature firstly announced by Mark Shuttleworth on his blog, many people were saying that tool is completely useless, they would prefer to use the mouse cursor to go through menus and select the required options, I would agree with them that tool is sometimes is waste of time specially with applications does not include many menus and sub-menus. However, this tool is super handy for many applications that includes many menus and sub-menus, and it will be really difficult to remember where is the location for all these functions in menus, or remembering the shortcut keys for them. So, I decide to give this tool a try with some applications such as Gimp, InkScape, Blender and Kdenlive. After using the HUD, I was really impress how easier to find an effect for Gimp or Kdenlive. It just by writing few letters it will recognize the possibilities for what would you need, and will show a convenient results. Check this post about the HUD posted earlier during the development stages.

The HUD can be activated using the right or the left Alt key.

Ubuntu Unity User Interface

Overall, Unity UI looks quite similar to Unity for Ubuntu Oneiric. However, it includes several improvements, new features, and polished look to the launcher and the Dash home.

Unity Quick-list

Quick list is now supported by default for many applications such as Nautilus file manager, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Screenshot tool, the Dash home icon which leads to the included lenses on it.

Quick-lists for Nautilus file manager allows you to have access directly to these directories such as Download, Documents, Music, Videos, and Ubuntu One. Quick list is customizable, so you will be able to add a new elements to quicklists for some applications using an application called MyUnity.

Unity Panel

Ubuntu icon is no longer available on the left side of the panel as it used to be on Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. It just shows the “Ubuntu Desktop” while showing the desktop. Also if you hovered the mouse cursor the panel, the global menu shows up.

Hiding system indicator icons used to be working on the development release, but now with the final release this feature is no longer available for some indicators.

 Progress bar dialog

Unity Launcher shows the progress bar dialog for nautilus copying progress, update manager updating progress, and Ubuntu Software Center installing progress as well.

Video Lens

Unity Dash now includes a Video lens, it shows recently viewed video files and currently available videos located on the “Video” directory for the currently active user. Also it allows you to search through many video provider websites such as “Youtube shows, Dailymotions, TED talks, ..etc”  and you can limit the result using filters on the right side of the dash.

Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu Software Center supports paypal for purchase applications through it, and support multiple screenshots and videos for applications overview. Also during the installation for any application using Ubuntu software center there is motion effect goes from Ubuntu software center to Unity Panel with the application icon and shows the installation progress dialog at the unity panel.

Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One music store is back to Rhythmbox music player. Probably, you will need to activate from plugins configuration window located on “Edit” menu. Ubuntu One contacts sync in Evolution is not supported any more and has been removed.

Appearance Settings

We have seen the new default wallpaper for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin Here. Also the Appearance window allows you to adjust the Unity Launcher icons size, and change the theme.

The “Behavior” Tab includes some options for auto hiding Unity Launcher or to keep it visible all the time. also you can modify the reveal sensitivity for the Unity Launcher.

Privacy Options

A new tool to collect your daily activities for applications, and files. Also you can exclude some applications and files from being tracked and you can deactivate the record activity for all as well.

Unity Launcher Placement for Multi Monitors

Displays settings allows you to choose the placement of Unity Launcher on one of you displays or on all of theme.

 

LightDM

LightDM is the display manager for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin, it support viewing user wallpaper for each of the available users on the system, and has several improvements to the UI since Oneiric. Check the Video Preview Down below.

Power Management

As Ubuntu developers discussed earlier on UDS “Ubuntu Development Submit”, that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise pangolin Kernel will be optimized for better power savings by decreasing the power needed when the GPU is idle (down to 0W).

RC6 is enabled by default for Sandy Bridge systems. RC6 is a technology which allows the GPU to go into a very low power consumption state when the GPU is idle (down to 0W). It results in considerable power savings when this stage is activated. When comparing under idle loads with machine state where RC6 is disabled, improved power usage of around 40-60% has been witnessed.

The Default Applications on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

  • Rhythmbox is back instead of Banshee.
  • Gwibber micro blogging client.
  • Mozilla Firefox web browser 11.0 Firefox 12.0 now is available for Ubuntu 12.04, just run the update manager.
  • Thunderbird 11.0.1 mail client.
  • Unity 5.10 and Unity 2D as well. Unity 5.12 update is available, it brings some bug fixes, and improvements to the video lens.
  • LibreOffice 3.5.2 Office suite.
  • Gnome 3.4.1. GNOME 3.4 Release Notes.
  • Remmina remote desktop client.
  • Kernel 3.2.0-23.36. Kernel 3.2.0-24 is available to update.
  • Transmission 2.51 torrent client.
  • Shotwell 0.12.2 photo manager.

Conclusion

Unity user interface for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin became really efficient with the recent changes to it, that helps a lot to easily get access to applications quicker through unity launcher and go to specific directory through the quicklist for Nautilus file manager. Ubuntu Unity plugin for compiz has included many options which helps you to easily customize Unity user interface to become suitable for your own usage along with other compiz plugins.

To install Compiz configuration settings manager “CCSM”

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

The HUD is quite awesome tool specially for application crowded with many menus. It will became super handy for these applications. However it sometimes comes out with non-convenient results at all.

Even after the improvements to Ubuntu Software Center. it’s still quite slow specially after installing several applications, so I guess, I will stick with Synaptic!

To install synaptic

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Privacy option is pretty awesome to keep tracking your activities and check the mostly used applications and files and easily remove all the recorded activities with one click, also it allows you exclude some applications and files from being recorded.

The Unity Launcher Placement for who uses multiple displays is a greet options if you prefer to keep the launcher on all displays or only one display.

Finally, I have been using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin since the early development stages, at the beginning it was a great experience testing this release and use it for my daily usage, specially it was a quite stable release and it has minor crashes. I am not a really big fan of Unity UI. However, I kinda feel comfortable using it, specially with the recent enhancements. Also I am really impressed how this release has been improved day by day during the development stages, the developers who have been working on this release did such a great job. Hopefully this quick review helps you to decide to use Ubuntu Precise or using another flavor of Ubuntu or another Linux distributions!!

Testing environments

First Machine

AMD Quad core processor x4 955 with 6GB of RAM and ATI 4890 graphics card.

Second Machine

Intel Dual core 2.1 GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M.

In both machines Ubuntu Precise was working fine with Unity “3D” and 2D

Download Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin

Choose the suitable Ubuntu image for you system from Ubuntu Downoad Page.

Upgrade instructions from earlier release of Ubuntu to Precise, check this upgrade guide.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin release announcements.

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