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ubuntu dash previews

Unity 6.4.0 has been uploaded to the Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal proposed* repositories today, bringing a huge list of bug fixes, but also some new features that were announced earlier, like the Dash previews feature.

The previews feature allows you to right click applications or files in Dash to get a preview, along with some extra information which depends on the item you've right clicked. The previews currently work with applications (both installed and suggested), music (available on the HDD and available for download), videos and pictures. 

The music lens can now play music without the need of an external music player: when right clicking an album, be it available for purchase or local music, the tracks are listed along with the album art and if you hove a track number, a play/pause button is displayed and you can play that track:

music lens preview
Dash previews - music available for purchase playing

Dash previews - local music playing

We've covered this a while back, so for more info and a video, see: Unity: Dash Gets A Cool New Previews Feature [Video] - Ubuntu 12.10 Development.

ubuntu unity previews
Dash previews - local image


Besides the preview feature, the latest Unity 6.4.0 seems to also come with the new Unity webapps technology because when upgrading, 2 new packages were installed: libunity-webapps0 and unity-webapps-service, but it doesn't work yet. The browser (Firefox and Chromium) extensions are not installed by default, but even after installing them, the WebApps feature didn't work in my test so it seems there's something still missing here.


Another change in Unity 6.4.0 is that "backlight toggles" mode is now switched on by default (screenshot above) which means that the Unity launcher icons for applications that aren't running don't have a background anymore:

unity Backlight toggles on
Backlight toggles on

And finally, there's also a change in Compiz that I've noticed while testing Unity 6.4.0: the Magic Lamp animation is now used when clicking a minimized application from the Unity launcher (this is not used when minimizing an application). This animation is also used on Mac OSX where is known as the Genie effect (you can see a GIF with this animation in action HERE):

unity magic lamp genie effect
Magic Lamp ("Genie") effect

For a complete list of changes in Unity 6.4.0, see the changelog @ Launchpad.



* The proposed repository is not enabled by default - it can be enabled via Software Sources. Unity 6.4.0 should be promoted from the proposed to the main repository soon.
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