Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" Beta 2 Review: With a better looking Unity!

It is April 2013 and we are eagerly awaiting the release of Ubuntu 13.04. Discussions are on whether it will have the usual 18 months of support or a lesser 9 months. Codenamed Raring Ringtail, the OS is at the final stages and in this article, I give you a sneak preview of what is expected. Of course, Ubuntu will add some last minute surprises when the final release comes.
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

As of now, the ISO is at 835 MB and is perhaps the heaviest ISO I have seen of Ubuntu. I did a live boot followed by installation on my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core-i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. As of now, it has Unity on Gnome 3.6 desktop and Linux kernel 3.8.0. I guess the final release with come with the latest 3.8.5 kernel. Already I used kernel 3.8.5 on Pear OS 7, this week, after downloading from the Raring repos.
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
The artwork of Unity has significantly improved from Ubuntu 12.10. The left hand strip has updated icons for Ubuntu Software Center (now comes with an "A") and Files FM. Unity strip looks good with the upgraded design. Raring Ringtail has some cool new wallpapers to showcase as well.
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Ubuntu Raring comes only with Unity 3D option and hence, may not run on old machines with less graphic memory. But, on modern systems, Ubuntu 13.04 runs really well.

Applications

The dash has the usual photo, video and music lens, just like Ubuntu 12.10. All of them highly integrated with Amazon.com and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Web apps are in vogue and I installed web apps for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube, on the Unity strip. Very handy for direct access to social networks.
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Other applications are the expected ones, as in every Ubuntu release, viz.
  • Office: LibreOffice 4.0.1 Calc, Draw, Impress, Writer and Document viewer
  • Internet: Firefox 20, Thunderbird 20, Desktop sharing, Remmina Remote Desktop, Empathy IM, Transmission bit-torrent client
  • Graphics: Shotwell photo manager, simple scan, Image viewer
  • Multimedia: Totem movie player, Rhythmbox music player, Brasero disc burner
  • Accessories: Archive manager, Calculator, Contacts, Screenshot, Terminal, gedit, printer settings
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
One fantastic aspect of Ubuntu is high integration with leading social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Google (Gmail, Google docs, Youtube, Picasa, etc.), AIM, Windows Live, Salut, Jabber and Yahoo! Options are there to integrate all applications or specific applications like Shotwell, empathy, etc.

From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Another good aspect is in dash, it shows not only the installed applications but also, the available options. If it irritates you, it can be switched off as well. There is a Remote login option as well, which I didn't test yet.
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Privacy
Ubuntu 13.04 comes with a detailed legal contract with the users on information sharing. Option exist, however, for the user to not share data for all as well as for selected applications. It is debatable whether user information sharing is justified or not, but good to see options for the users to opt out of it.
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
From Ubuntu 13.04 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Installation
Installation hasn't changed from Precise Pangolin or Quantal Quetzal. So, no point of discussing much on it. Please check any of my articles on Ubuntu to get a glimpse on the simple installation process.

Performance
As of now, Ubuntu 13.04 feels good to use and seems mostly stable. I didn't note any background application crash or other instability during my use. RAM consumption is a bit higher than Ubuntu Precise, at 400 MB RAM and 1-10% CPU, to boot the default desktop. However, Raring is quite smooth to use.

Overall
Ubuntu 13.04 is, as of now, an improved version of Ubuntu 12.10 with a more attractive Unity, better web apps options and more privacy for the users. However, Unity is still not customizable. Definitely, there will be some last minute surprises in store and we'll come to know of it once the final version of the distro is released. Based on what I saw, I would definitely recommend Ubuntu Quantal users to be ready to upgrade to Raring.

You can get the Beta 2 32 & 64 bit ISO from here. Ubuntu also has a pure Gnome 3.6 version and a Chinese language version as well to be tested.

20 comments:

  1. Unity desktop should change name to JOKE. It is worst desktop manager ever made. And heaviest. I do not know, how you can navigate in dash without groups of apps (Office, Internet, Multimedia, System, Preferences and so on). I;ve just tried it. Its more resource hungry than 12.10 and the rest of distros. There is no such huge distro with so little usability. My opinion is based on near 20 years of linux experience since RedHat distro was non0comercial and no one heard about Fedora and Ubuntu.

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    1. I guess you haven't explored dash and making a half cooked statement. The grouping of apps is there when you click filter results. It nicely groups the apps into Office, internet, graphics, multimedia, education, etc.

      Performance of 13.04 final release will be better than the beta2 version, I guess.

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    2. No usability problems here with Unity. But I have only 7 or 8 years of Linux experience (not "nearly 20"), so what do I know.

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    3. Agree, it doesn't take much experience to figure that Unity is usable :)

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    4. I also did not like unity at first, and used Classic desktop for a while longer. It was 12.04 that finally convinced me, and I am now hooked on it. The slightly higher CPU consumption may be an excuse to finally upgrade my aging PC

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    5. Exactly same in my case as well. Ubuntu 12.04.2 release finally convinced me and now I am really hooked to it. Unity, of course, is still work in progress and will take another 3-4 releases to mature.

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    6. I also had problems with Unity initially. I found the lack of a clickable list of windows really limiting. Then I discovered that I could install xfce4-panel and get a windows list on it and bingo, Unity became great! With access to a panel, Unity is just another launcher and unified search, and it does those functions pretty well.

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    7. Seems like not many users have explored the filter results option in the dash ...

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    8. I've tried Unity and am familiar enough with it, and will toy around with it just out of curiosity to see what's changed in the new version, but I'm pretty much sold on xubuntu. It's not that the Dash button isn't easy, it's that xubuntu is easier. In Unity it's click Dash > click app menu button > scroll down|click category > click program icon, or click Dash > type in search for program (make sure you remember spelling or even names of more obscure ones) > click program icon. In xubuntu it's click App Menu launcher > hover mouse over desired category > click program icon. It takes half the time, which adds up over the course of a day. And the bottom panel provides almost twice the room to pin favorite programs in plain view as the Unity bar does on the side. If you run out of room on the Unity bar you have to bring your mouse to the corners to see any extra favorite programs, while in xubuntu all you have to do is shrink the icon size on the bottom panel a little and you'll still be able to see everything at one go. Definitely a time and aggravation saver.

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    9. The dash is an excellent search utilty and more thorough than the search function of Win7. I moved from Windows as i was tired of paying to use teh os which, if configured correctly is not noticable. That is, takes back seat to teh apps I use. ubuntu and unity do that for me

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  2. Great this Ubuntu 13.04, awesome version!!!

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    1. I really liked the facelift they gave to Unity. Hoping more to come by the time 13.04 is out.

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  3. I hope Canonical hire more designer then programmer. Mint is better, no one complaint

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    1. What you said is arguable, without Ubuntu there won't be any Mint :). Mint definitely works on any and every kind of machine, that's the best part of it. But, it is not upgradable.

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    2. I know LMDE has semi rolling release :). But, it is not as good as a Ubuntu based Mint.

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  4. very well made blog! the presentations are very good and i found a lot of useful information.
    thank you!

    der

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  5. How to persistent this beta2 version? Can't make it with unetbootin.
    casper-rw is on the right place, also extlinux.conf have 'persistent' text, but no setting saved.

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    1. Hi Crashnovic:

      I used Unetbootin only to create a live-USB. Go to the bottom half of the unetbootin window, select your ISO in the diskimage option and then below it "Space used to preserve files across reboots" give some 500+ MB space for persistent. Select your USB drive below it and then click ok.

      This worked for me. Please check and let me know.

      Thanks,
      Arindam

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    2. Thanks for quick reply, but not worked for Me. Worked for 12.10 but not this beta2 version. I used Unetbootin too. With ext2 filesystem, and casper-rw file or casper-rw labeled partition is there.

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