Chris J Powell

Precise Pangolin Release

So today marks another historic milestone for the Little Linux Engine that could.  Ubuntu and the company that backs the popular Linux distribution Canonical will release version 12.04 today.  As if fairly typical of a Linux release there will not be fanfare and their certainly won’t be line ups at your local Best Buy or Computer Depot.

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To look at some of the new features that will be included in this the latest LTS (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu is not a difficult task as this is not a radical shift and as with previous LTS versions is more about overall stability and functionality than it is about the latest and greatest features.  A special thanks to Katherine Noyes over at PC World for the base line of these features…most links head back to PC World for their insight into some of these features.

1. A Taste of HUD

One of the most interesting changes is the inclusion of  Ubuntu’s new “Head-Up Display,” or “HUD,” interface makes its debut in this version. As a learning and adaptive technology, the HUD is designed to be a virtual assistant to the users and allows for “quick search” of Apps, Files and Folders.

2. Unity Tweaks and fixes

Ubuntu’s Unity interface caused more division throughout the Ubuntu Community than any other decision made by Canonical in the past.  Myself, I like it but then again I was an early adopter of the Netbook concept so I had a full year of getting used to Unity than most desktop users.  In this version, new “tweaks” and customizations are enabled but nothing too radical under the hood.  Some of the things that can be changed:

  • Transparency
  • Launcher resizing
  • Show/hide devices in Launcher
  • Change behaviours of Launcher
  • Change fonts
  • Change backlight settings
  • Show/hide various icons
  • Turn on/off Dash blur

3. More Synaptic Touchpad Support

More support is always a good thing as getting Synaptics to work on some laptops has been a bit of a chore.

4. Power Savings

Rumour has it that with Ubuntu 12.04, laptops will see a 40-60% increase in battery life because of more efficient power use…I don’t have it installed on a full Laptop but on my 5 year old Netbook…I can attest to some dramatic increases.

5. LibreOffice 3.5 and Rhythmbox

Among the default applications in Ubuntu 12.04 are the newly updated LibreOffice 3.5 as well as Rhythmbox returns as the default music player.

6. Better Language Support

When users install new software through the Ubuntu Software Center, the corresponding language support packages–including translations and more.  This is a good thing…simple is always better.

7. Stronger Privacy Controls

Embedded in the Control Panel is a configurable Privacy Control App.  The default setting is ON but before everyone has a conniption fit about recording activity…I for one can remember more than once falling victim to making multiple changes in rapid succession and not being able to figure out which one killed the build.

8. A Fresh Kernel

Precise Pangolin,  includes the 3.2.0-17.27 Ubuntu kernel, which is based on version 3.2.6 of the upstream stable Linux kernel.  For most, what kernel is under the hood is meaningless but for me and countless other Linux Geeks…knowing what is included in the Kernel Changelog is important.

Now as of this publishing, the main download site has not updated to 12.04 but in the past I have seen it be 11:00 or 11:30 AM before the site updates itself…to to aid you in finding the latest and greatest:

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download

One of the many new features available with the download site is that it includes a great tutorial on how to “burn” the installer to a bootable USB Stick…now that is impressive.  The site does this for Windows, Mac and Linux but it also has a detailed “how to” on burning a CD/DVD as well.

I have been using Linux as my primary OS (outside of work) for the past 7 years and have been a fan of Ubuntu since the the 3rd version that had the name “Breezy Badger”. 

In tribute, tomorrow’s post will be about the storied rise of Linux’s most popular distribution and the branches, versions and spin offs that have come from the vision of  “Community“.  I like the definition offered by Archbishop Desmond Tutu best:

Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language…It is to say. ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours’…

Well that is it for me today…a big day ahead of me and then I head off to explore the potential of a local Toastmaster`s Club tonight.  Have a great day everyone!

Cheers,

Chris J Powell

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