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ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 2 has been made available for download today.

There are quite a few changes in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, including a new Unity version which brings some more polish and tweaks along with 3 new Unity lenses, Amazon and Ubuntu One Music store webapps installed by default, a new default wallpaper, but also some LightDM and Messaging Menu changes. Read on to find out more!

Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 video

As usual, we'll start with a video in which you can see some of the changes available in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 2:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel or like us on Facebook)

Also see: Ubuntu 12.10 beta 1

Changes in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 since beta 1

A new Unity version is available in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, which brings new gradients, new ordering for the home lens, as well as some new animations for Dash Previews and window minimize.

ubuntu 12.10 previews

You can see these new animations in the video above. It's worth mentioning that the minimize animation is slow at first, but gets faster as the user minimizes more windows.

Other Unity changes include:
  • coverflow is no longer used for the music available for purchase in the Music Lens
  • new artwork for missing album covers in the Music Lens
  • "unity --reset" has been removed
  • the workspace switcher and removable devices icons can now be moved on the launcher
  • new gradient, tweaked highlight box and shadows
  • lots of bug fixes

Three new lenses are installed by default with Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 2: a "social" (Gwibber) lens, a photo lens and a shopping lens:

- The social lens can display results from Twitter, Facebook and Identi.ca, nicely organized in various categories: Messages, Replies, Photos, Videos, Links and Private:

ubuntu 12.10 social lens

The Dash Previews feature works with the new social lens, and it doesn't just allow the user to preview the tweets or Facebook posts, but you can also like a post or retweet without leaving Dash:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

- The new photo lens displays images from various accounts you've enabled in Online Accounts, like Picasa, Facebook or Flickr as well as local photos. You can filter the results by date or source and that's about all the photo lens can do. And of course, the preview feature works with this lens too:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

- Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 ships with a shopping lens which displays commercial content into Dash search results and is only visible when the user performs a global search from the Dash home screen and there are matching suggestions to show. The shopping suggestions differentiate from the rest of the items by using a badge which displays the price:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

The shopping lens isn't the only way Canonical tries to make more money - there are also two new webapps pinned to the Unity launcher in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, for Ubuntu One Music Store and Amazon:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

The new social and photo lenses are very slow on my computer and it takes minutes to display some results and sometimes nothing loads at all. The weird thing is, the shopping lens results load instantly, even though it's also an online feature. Mmm. This, hopefully, will be fixed by the time the final Ubuntu 12.10 version will be released, but even so, is it worth having so many online features in Dash? There are many users with a limited Internet connection which I'm sure won't appreciate these new features, but luckily, an option turn off at least some of these online results should land soon.

Another Unity change is the addition of a close button as well as the window title in the window spread (on hover):

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

This isn't "The Spread", as announced a while back, but the regular spread, and it looks like the new implementation which is supposed to improve Unity task switching won't make it into Ubuntu 12.10.

As for the new "WebApps" technology, the feature is available by default, but there are no webapps preinstalled besides Amazon and Ubuntu One Music but hopefully they will be available soon, at least via Ubuntu Software Center.

The Messaging Menu has received a minor, but useful change: the status icons are now displayed as emblems on the envelope icon:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

With Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, there's a new default wallpaper which continues to use the same colors as the previous wallpapers - not a popular choice among the Ubuntu users it seems:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

LightDM has gained support for remote desktop logins by default. This is currently done through the Ubuntu Single Sign On service:

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

ubuntu 12.10 screenshot

Default applications

Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 ships by default with Nautilus 3.4.2, Firefox 15.0.1, Thunderbird 15.0.1, LibreOffice 3.6.1 (now with built-in global menu support), Ubuntu Software Center, Transmission 2.61, Deja Dup 24.0, Shotwell 0.13.0, Rhythmbox 2.97, Gwibber 3.5.90, Gedit 3.5.3, Totem 3.4.3, Brasero 3.4.1, GNOME Control Center 3.4.2 and Empathy 3.5.92 on top of Unity 6.6.0 and GNOME 3.5.92 (some 3.6 components have landed already).

Quantal beta 2 uses the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 3.5.0-15.23 based on the v3.5.4 upstream Linux kernel, Xorg server 1.13.0 and mesa 9.0.

As for those who do not want to use Unity, GNOME Shell 3.6 is now available in the Ubuntu 12.10 official repositories.

LiveCDs dropped

With Ubuntu 12.10, there are no more CD-sized images available. The new ISO size is 800MB, so it won't fit on a CD anymore, so users will have to rely on DVDs and USB to install the latest Ubuntu version.

Download Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2

Ubuntu 12.10 is pretty stable, but there are some known issues! For instance, on systems using ATI Radeon 9200 graphics, you'll get a black screen on boot (a work-around is to add "nomodeset" to the kernel command line). So make sure you check out the official release notes before installing / upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10.

If you've installed a previous Ubuntu 12.10 milestone (like alpha 3 or beta 1) or a daily build and you've updated the packages through the Update Manager (now called "Software Updater"), you already have beta 2 so there's no need to reinstall it.

Up next:
  • Final Ubuntu 12.10 release - October 18th