Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 has been released today, introducing many changes which include new Unity features, refreshed default theme, and much more. There were also some controversial changes like the removal of Unity 2D and the Nautilus downgrade to version 3.4.2. Read on to find out more!
Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 video
(Direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)
Unity changes in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1
The most important change in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 is the addition of a brand new feature called "Previews". The previews work like this: when you right click an application or file in Dash, you get a preview along with some extra information which depends on the file type you've right clicked:
- applications: you can see a screenshot, description and user rating. Also, if the application is installed, you can launch it or uninstall it and if it's not installed, you can install it directly from Dash, without having to use Ubuntu Software Center:
- music: right clicking an album displays its cover art along with the available tracks. Hovering the track number lets you play it directly into Dash, without having to open an external application. This works for both local music and music available for purchase. You can also open the music in Rhythmbox music player:
- images: you get to see a large preview and some file info:
- videos: previews work with both local and online videos, but you won't see a playing video preview, just a static image:
The previews don't yet support text files, pdfs, etc., or folders but hopefully this will be added in the future.
Some other, more or less minor Unity changes in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 1 include:
- a coverflow effect for online music (this was available for a few days in Ubuntu 12.04 too, for everything not just online music, but was later on removed) only for now:
- a Google Docs scope which you can use to easily search / access your Google Documents from Dash. This new feature worked for me before beta 1 but it has now stopped working so there's no screenshot at this time.
- 'backlight toggles' is on by default in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 which means that the Unity launcher icons for applications that aren't running don't have a background anymore. This can be changed using CCSM and other similar tools:
- the 'Genie' effect (a Compiz plugin called "Magic Lamp") is now used by default when clicking a minimized application from the Unity launcher; this effect, however, is not used when minimizing an application and it seems it has been added for testing only, so it might go away in the final release:
Also, even though some code is already available in Unity, the WebApps feature hasn't landed in Ubuntu 12.10.
Unity 2D Removed
In Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal, Unity 2D will no longer be used as the fallback session for computers that can't run Unity 3D. In fact, it has been completely removed from the repositories so it can't be installed anymore and Unity 2D users are being transitioned to Unity 3D (with Compiz).
Ubuntu users without graphical acceleration will be able to use Unity 3D thanks to llvmpipe, so there will be no fallback session anymore and Unity will look the same for all users.
Nautilus version reverted to 3.4.2
A while back, there was a discussion on Launchpad and on the Nautilus mailing list about the Nautilus version that's going to be used for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal. Because many features were removed from Nautilus 3.5.x (which will lead to 3.6.0 stable), such as the extra pane (F3) feature, sidebar tree view, the option to show the statusbar, the option to create a new file, the "Text beside icons" options for icon view and others, the Ubuntu developers have decided to use Nautilus 3.4.2 for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal.
It was even discussed forking Nautilus or using Marlin or Nemo as the default file manager, but for Ubuntu 12.10, it looks like Nautilus will simply stay at version 3.4.2 but probably, more drastic measures will be taken for Ubuntu 13.04.
The default Ubuntu theme, Ambiance, has been updated to work properly with the latest GTK 3.5.x and has also got some changes to the tabs, buttons and more:
Radiance theme has also been updated, though for now the window titlebar doesn't work properly and switching to Radiance, the Ambiance window titlebar is used:
Ubuntu has got its own "Online Accounts" module in System Settings, separate from the default GNOME online accounts. The Ubuntu Online Accounts supports Facebook, Flickr, Google, Twitter, AIM, Windows Live, Salut and others and adding your account here makes various applications on the system be able to interact with those services: like for instance, adding a Google account allows Dash to display your Google documents and Gtalk integration for Empathy as well as Shotwell to upload images to your Picasa account and so on:
The Messaging Menu has also received some changes: the application names now show up instead of generic names like "Email" or "Broadcast" and there are some new icons too:
There's a new category in Ubuntu Software Center, under "Themes & Tweaks" called "Dash Search Plugins" where you'll find Dash lenses and scopes:
LibreOffice has gained appmenu (global menu) support by default, and thus HUD support, without having to use a third-party plugin. The implementation is, however, quite buggy right now and the menu doesn't always function properly:
The login screen (LightDM) has also received a minor design update, along with support for network manager:
Ubiquity has got support for full disk encryption and LVM (Logical Volume Management):
There are a few things that aren't related to Ubuntu 12.10 - the main ISO, so I'll talk about them here.
The first thing worth mentioning is that the Ubuntu alternate CDs have been dropped for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal as part of an ongoing effort to reduce the number of images. Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal has got support for encryption and LVM, however there won't be any RAID support in Ubiquity for this Ubuntu release, but you'll be able to set up RAID post-install or by using the netboot or server CDs.
And the second is Ubuntu GNOME Remix 12.10, which will be available in the same time as Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal. This is a community project designed to bring a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience on top of Ubuntu.
Right now, Ubuntu GNOME Remix is in alpha and quite buggy, but it can already be downloaded from HERE.
The default application selection in Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 includes: Nautilus 3.4.2, Firefox 15, Thunderbird 15, Rhythmbox 2.97, Shotwell 0.12.90, LibreOffice 3.6.1, Ubuntu Software Center 5.3.10, Deja Dup Backup Tool 23.90, Gwibber 3.5.4, Empathy 3.5.90, GNOME Control Center 3.4.2, Gedit 3.5.1, Brasero 3.4.1 and Totem 3.4.3 on top of Unity 6.4.0 and GNOME 3.5.90.
Also, Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 uses Linux Kernel 3.5.0-13.13 based on the v3.5.3 upstream kernel, Xorg server 1.13-rc5 (126.96.36.1995) and mesa 9.0. The new Xserver comes with better smooth scrolling, improved multiseat support and bug fixes. Also, the proprietary Nvidia driver now supports the RANDR standard for monitor configuration.
GNOME Shell users are probably wondering about the version available in the repositories. As you know, GNOME Shell isn't included by default in Ubuntu, but it is available in the repositories. For Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1, the GNOME Shell version available in the repositories is 3.5.4. The reason there's not a newer version in the repositories is that GNOME Shell now depends on GDM 3.5+, and there's hope to get the latest GNOME Shell soon since GDM 3.5.90 was recently uploaded to the Quantal repositories.
Download Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal Beta 1
Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 1 is pretty stable and if you've watched the video above, you've seen that I didn't encounter any issues while recording the video which was not the case with other Ubuntu releases. But, even so, this is a beta release and things can go wrong, so it's best not to use it on a production machine. If you want to give it a try, use VirtualBox, VMware or boot the latest Ubuntu Quantal beta 1 from an USB stick.
If you've installed a previous Ubuntu 12.10 milestone (like alpha 3) or a daily build and you've updated the packages through the Update Manager (now called "Software Updater"), you already have beta 1 so there's no need to reinstall it.
- Beta 2 - September 27th
- Final Ubuntu 12.10 release - October 18th