Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail final beta has been released today, this being the first and only milestone for Raring. If you're not using Raring already, read on to find out what's new!
Note: this is the first and only Ubuntu 13.04 beta, even though the ISO says "beta 2", however, some Ubuntu flavours already had a beta release so today it's beta 2 for Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Kubuntu for instance.
Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail Final Beta video
As usual, I'll start the article with a video in which you can see most of the visual changes in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail Final Beta:
(direct video link; subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos)
Unity changes in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail Final Beta
In Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, Unity has got two new features that should make it easier to switch between multiple open windows of the same application:
- if an application has two or more open windows, the window title will be displayed as an Unity quicklists and you can switch between those windows by clicking on the quicklists;
- again, if an application has two or more open windows, users can switch between those open windows by scrolling on the application icon in the Unity Launcher.
There have also been quite a few UI changes to Unity in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail beta:
- new Unity-style shutdown / logout / suspend dialogs;
- new icons for the Dash icon (BFB), workspace switcher, lenses, Software Updater, Ubuntu Software Center and Nautilus;
- new window snap animation which shows the window preview as it expands;
- the 32px minimum Launcher icon size limit has been removed and the launcher can now be resized to a mimimum of 8px.
Here are some screenshots with these changes:
Further more, the new workspace switcher icon now indicates the current active desktop. However, with Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, the workspaces have been disabled by default and they can be enabled from System Settings > Appearance, on the "Behavior" tab ("Enable workspaces"):
Unity Dash has received special attention in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail and it's now a lot faster to open, search and display previews. Also, Dash Previews have received a slightly modified animation and an updated design. And finally, Dash now comes with overlay scrollbars:
The Dash already had a legal notice, accessible from the bottom right Dash corner, but with Ubuntu Raring, the legal notice can also be accessed from System Settings > Details:
Another Dash change is the addition of a small, fast library called "libcolumbus" that provides error tolerant matching which makes it easier to search the Dash: for instance, if you type "gdit" instead of "gedit", Dash will find Gedit, something that wouldn't have happened in previous Ubuntu versions:
The Unity Online Accounts has received per application on/off toggles so for instance if you add your Google account, you can select not to use it for the Dash photo search plugin and Shotwell, but enable it for Empathy:
Besides the additions above, there's also a removal: the Unity systray whitelist has been removed, so you can no longer whitelist applications to allow them to use the notification area in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail. However, Java and Wine applications have been hard-coded as the only software still able to use the notification area so this change only affects some old applications that don't come with AppIndicator support. And since Qt applications systray icons are automatically converted to appindicators thanks to sni-qt, this change shouldn't affect too many applications.
Two new indicators have been added by default in Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail:
- Sync Menu, an indicator that only supports Ubuntu One but later it might support other services such as Dropbox. The indicator has been available starting with Ubuntu 12.10, but it wasn't added by default until now. For now, it can be used to enable/disable Ubuntu One sync, display current and recent transfers or share files, but more features should be available in the future;
- Bluetooth Indicator - a proper indicator for Bluetooth, which has replaced the old Bluetooth indicator that was basically just a patch over the fallback gnome-bluetooth icon.
The work to "make Ubuntu fit on mobile" had advantages for the desktop too and with Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, the memory usage should be greatly reduced. For instance, some processes were changed to exit-on-idle and be restarted-on-demand rather than running all the time, there have been many optimizations and fixed memory leaks and so on. And this is just the beginning.
- Intel SNA (2D acceleration for the Intel Linux graphics driver that improves the X.Org performance) has been turned on by default in Raring;
- Gvfs now has a MTP backend which allows users to access Android 4.0 devices that don't support USB Mass Storage without any tweaks;
- LibreOffice has got appmenu (global menu) / HUD support by default (although it's still a bit buggy);
- Many multi-monitor fixes, including a fix or the bug that caused the launcher / top panel to show up on top of full-screen applications on the inactive monitor;
- 13 new gorgeous community wallpapers have landed in Raring.
Also, with Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, the maintenance period has been reduced from 18 months to 9 months - this change won't affect just Raring but all future non-LTS releases.
And of course, there have been many other minor changes, improvements and bug fixes, too many to cover in a single post. Give Ubuntu 13.04 a try and you'll notice them for yourself.
Ubuntu 13.04 will ship with GNOME 3.6 for most applications / libraries, just like Ubuntu 12.10. However, Ubuntu 12.10 was released with Nautilus 3.4, GNOME Control Center 3.4 and Totem 3.4 while Ubuntu 13.04 ships with the latest 3.6 stable versions of these applications: Nautilus 3.6.3, GNOME Control Center 3.6.3 and Totem 3.6.3.
Also, Gwibber and the Gwibber lens have been removed from Ubuntu for now. It will probably be replaced with an application re-written in QML called Friends-App and the Gwibber Service will be replaced by Friends Service. This change is still pending approval.
Besides the applications mentioned above, Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail beta ships by default with Firefox 19.0.2, Thunderbird 17.0.4, LibreOffice 4.0.1 (now with built-in global menu support), Ubuntu Software Center 5.6.0, Transmission 2.77, Deja Dup backup tool 26.0, Shotwell 0.14.0, Rhythmbox 2.98, Gedit 3.6.2, Brasero 3.6.1 and Empathy 3.6.4 on top of Unity 6.12 daily build as of 13.04.01 and GTK3+ 3.6.4.
Raring beta uses the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 3.8.0 based on the upstream Linux Kernel 3.8.5, Xorg server 1.13.3 and Mesa 9.0.3.
Download Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail final beta
Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail has been very stable from the beginning and I'm not the only one saying this, many users have reported that Raring is the most stable development version of Ubuntu so far. However, this obviously depends on the hardware too, and this is stil la beta, so it's not recommended you install it on production machines!
If you've installed Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail daily build and you've updated the packages through the Software Updater, you already have Raring beta so there's no need to reinstall it.
This is the only Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail beta release (not counting the other Ubuntu flavours - with Raring, each flavour can have its own release schedule) and the next milestone will be the final Ubuntu 13.04 release, on April 25th.