[Review] Ubuntu 12.04

Canonical has released Ubuntu 12.04. its fourth long-term support (LTS) release. Unlike standard Ubuntu releases, which come every six months and integrate majo՜ new technologies, the focus of any LTS release is to provide a secure, stable platform that businesses and demanding home users can rely on.

Usually, this means an uninspiring release – few new features for users to play with, just lots of incremental improvements that everyore welcomes but nobody feels excited about. Ubuntu 12.04 is different, however, being the first LTS release tc feature Unity as its default desktop environment.

Has Canonical delivered a desktop that users of the last LTS can confidently upgrade to. or will they be left cold when support for it is ended in April 2013. a year before the next one is released9 The answer is yes – mostly.

Unity has become much faster and more reliable. In our testing, we found that it remained responsive even when running half-a-dozen applications and ripping a DVD. a taxing workload for most machines, suggesting that upgrading users have little to worry about in this regard.

We also found that the Dash works well. It’s easy to access, whether by clicking the Ubuntu icon with the mouse or pressing the Windows key. and once you’re in it. the built-in search quickly finds the aoplications and files that you’re looking for. The new HUD feature does the same for most application menus, too. and if you’ve net used it. it’s worth trying.

Unity's Dash

Unity's Dash is a quick way to find all your files and applications.

Best of all. animations and other visual cues have been refined to the pcint where they add to the experience of using Unity and make day-to-day computing a pleasurable experience -we actually looked forward to using it each day. A good example of this is the way that applications added to the launcher are always placed above the workspace switcher, removable devices and rubbish bin helping to make access to these devices consistent, no matter what changes you make.

All that adds up to a reliable and comfortable experience. Our only concern was the way application title bars are integrated into the top panel. Although it’s consistent within its own perimeters, it feels alien and awkward. We’d like to see if Canonicals user testing has turned up any data on this.

Beyond Unity

The rest of the distribution feels equally polished. The installer is still second to ncne ֊ it’s better than any other Linux distribution’s, and it’s better than what Windows or Mac OS X has to offer.

The Software Centre, too. has come on leaps and bounds. We love that the search turns up only application packages, and doesn’t mix libraries and other obscurities in to the results.

We also love the growing collection of reviews and paid software, which make the Software Centre and its contents feel valuable. On top of all these Ubuntu-specific features, there’s the usual selection of great open source applications present in all distributions. In particular, this Ubuntu release benefits from new versions of Firefox and LibreOffice, both of which have made substantial improvements since the last LTS release.

We wouldn’t hesitate to advise users to upgrade. We’d also encourage any users who haven’t tried Ubuntu in a while, or moved away to another distribution with the arrival of Unity, to give it another go.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Videos

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Top 10 Features

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Screenshots

Ubuntu 12.04 Desktop

Developer Canonical
WEB www.ubuntu.com
Price Free
Features 9/10
Performance 9/10
Ease of use 9/10
Documentation 9/10
Ubuntu has set the standard by which all other Linux distributions will be judged.


Source: LXF159

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