This is what Ubuntu 12.10 should have been. A polished avtar of 12.04. This is a very good release of Ubuntu and I would strongly recommend to upgrade to this version, if you ‘have’ to upgrade. This release has brought in a lot of eye candy, a lot of polish, some new minor enhancements which makes this release a good release to upgrade to.
The Ubuntu team has not done any thing radical in this distribution as such. There are no major changes in the UI, just little bit of animation when minimizing applications in the Unity. You will love it when you minimize or maximize the application. Ubuntu has released a complete new icon set for this release. I can easily say, it is the best icon set ever that I have come cross in Ubuntu. It is fresh and it makes the desktop look vibrant and intuitive.
This is how the basic desktop looks like
Some of the important omissions / downsides in the distribution are
- Network Tools – I think this is a disaster. It can be installed from the Software repository. But I think, omitting it from the default install was not required.
- Gwibber – Replaced by a QT based Application called as Friends. Facebook account cannot be added and does not integrate with Gnome notifications. Has to be used in a minimized mode.
- System information in the System Monitor is also omitted
- Application ‘White-Listing’ using dconf has been ommitted. The down side is that when you install Skype, the icon does not appear in the notifications bar on the top right hand side. There is no way to add that icon in the notification area in this release as ‘White -Listing’ is not longer available. It was possible in Ubuntu 12.04, but not in this release. This is a big downside.
- Updates and upgrades for this release would be available only for 9 months. So after 9 months you must upgrade to 13.10 or live for 3 more months without updates till 14.04 is released
Some of the interesting additions / upgrades
- Ability to make facebook, gmail, linkedin, hotmail and a few more web applications as desktop applications – This time they all work. A feature similar to Windows 7 – Pin to Taskbar
- Upgraded Empathy – Looks very polished and has larger thumbnails for the friends list. For someone who has a big user list it can be quite tiresome to scroll down.
- Upgraded Libre Office to v4 – The enhancement in this version is higher compatibility to Microsoft Office
- Unity has become very fast. Super Fast. Overall the operating system has become significantly fast.
There are no major changes on the front end as such, just subtle enhancements which I am sure would just add to enhancing the overall user experience in some ways. If we are to see a cumulative effect of the changes when 14.04 arrives, I am sure these changes would add a lot to the user experience.
This is a fast OS. It is far far better than the 12.10 release and overall usability is satisfactory. If you don’t mind upgrading the OS in 9 months, strongly recommend to update, though not in production environment. Else continue with Precise – 12.04
My personal choice is 12.04.02 as I use the system for all my day to day work and is a production system. I get impacted if my system goes down. I have not moved to 13.04 on my production system, but running raring ringtail in a VM and use it occasionally for doing web based work.