Ubuntu 13.04 has been released today with many enhancements and fixes to Unity as well as some important performance improvements.
Check out the video below to see what's new in Ubuntu 13.04:
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Unity changes in Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail”:
Unity has been improved a lot in Ubuntu 13.04 and it's now a LOT faster than in Ubuntu 12.10. A lot of the work on Unity has happened under the hood but there are some user interesting interface changes and new features, such as:
- new window switching feature that allows you to switch between open windows of the same application by using the Unity Launcher quicklists;
- switch between an application's open windows by scrolling on the application icon in the Unity Launcher;
- new Unity-style shutdown dialogs;
- the Launcher minimum icon size limit has been decreased to 8px from 32px;
- Dash is a lot faster (both to open and search), comes with improved preview animations, overlay scrollbars and the search has been improved with the addition of a new library which provides error tolerant matching so for instance, typing "gdit" will find Gedit, which wouldn't happen in Ubuntu 12.10;
- Unity Online Accounts has received per application toggles so you can choose which application / feature is allowed to use your online accounts;
- the Unity systray whitelist has been removed, so you can no longer whitelist applications to use the notification area, however, Java and Wine apps will continue to work since they have been whitelisted by default (hard-coded);
- Sync Menu indicator is now available by default - this is an appindicator that allows you to control Ubuntu One;
- a new, proper Bluetooth indicator has replaced the old Bluetooth indicator which was basically a patch over the Bluetooth notification area icon available in GNOME Fallback;
- the old Gwibber lens has been replaced with a new "Friends" lens which basically does the same thing: allows you to view, preview (it supports Unity Dash Previews - from which you can perform various actions like: retweet, like a post on Facebook, etc.) and search your social networks streams (Twitter, Facebook, etc.);
- the Workspace Switcher and removable media Launcher icons can now be moved anywhere on the Unity Launcher or they can be completely removed. The workspace switcher is actually not available by default (to turn the Workspace Swicher on: System Settings > Appearence > Behavior);
- new icons for Nautilus, Ubuntu Software Center, Software Updater, Workspace Switcher (which now displays the active workspace) and BFB (the button used to open Dash);
- new window snap animation that shows a window preview
- many other subtle changes, improvements and fixes.
Stéphane Graber has announced the release of Edubuntu 13.04, an easy-to-use distribution targeted at schools, communities and non-profit organisations: "The Edubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Edubuntu 13.04 (code name Raring Ringtail). This release will be supported for 9 months, it is intended for enthusiasts and users who would like to try out the latest and greatest software. What's New? New default packages: Klavaro - flexible touch-typing tutor, Krecipes - recipe manager and collection of recipes, Gramps - genealogical research program, Chemtool - chemical structures drawing program, Fritzing - easy to use electronics design software, Einstein - puzzle game inspired by Einstein's puzzle, VYM - mind-mapping tool, Bluefish - WYSIWYG HTML editor, Remmina - connect to various remote desktops including rdesktop." Read the release announcement for more information and screenshots. Download: edubuntu-13.04-dvd-amd64.iso (2,733MB, SHA256, torrent).
Welcome to Ubuntu 13.04, the brand-new version of the world's most widely-used desktop Linux distribution: "Today's release of Ubuntu 13.04 on the desktop brings a host of performance and quality improvements making it the fastest and most visually polished Ubuntu experience to date. Performance on lightweight systems was a core focus for this cycle, as a prelude to Ubuntu's release on a range of mobile form factors. As a result 13.04 delivers significantly faster response times in casual use, and a reduced memory footprint that benefits all users. This release also illustrates Ubuntu's ongoing commitment to quality and dependability. 'Our kaizen approach to development as well as community engagement result in a high quality alternative for people worldwide,' commented Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical." See the brief press release and check out the detailed release notes to learn more about the product. Download: ubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso (785MB, SHA256, torrent).
Jonathan Riddell has announced the release of Kubuntu 13.04, a desktop-oriented Linux distribution featuring the intuitive and customisable KDE desktop: "Welcome to Kubuntu 13.04, a brand new version with the latest KDE software to enjoy. Highlights: the current release of KDE's Plasma Workspaces and Applications 4.10 adds a new screen locker, Qt Quick notifications, colour correction in Gwenview and faster indexing in the semantic desktop; new version of the Muon Suite for application install and upgrades; version 2 of our Reconq web browser adds a bunch of new features, such as inline spell check, new incognito mode, pinning tabs, improved error page and simplified Rekonq pages; Homerun - a full screen alternative to the Kickoff application menu; a new screen management tool...." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots. Download: kubuntu-13.04-desktop-amd64.iso (928MB, SHA256, torrent).
Other changes changes / performance:
The work to "make Ubuntu fit on mobile" had advantages for the desktop too and with Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail, the memory usage has been 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.
For me, Ubuntu 13.04 has been very stable and I've been using it since ~ January: both its development and the final release. Also, I didn't run any benchmarks or anything like that but compared to previous Ubuntu releases that have used Unity by default, Unity in Ubuntu 13.04 feels the most stable and most responsive / fastest of all releases. And I'm not the only one who thinks this - for instance, Chris from the Linux Action Show has mentioned that for him, Ubuntu 13.04 is the best Ubuntu release so far.
However, I'm using Ubuntu 13.04 with an Intel graphics card (well, Optimus actually but the desktop runs on the Intel graphics card) so I can't comment on how things work with Nvidia / AMD and their proprietary / open source drivers.
There are some minor issues which will probably be fixed in an update, like the top panel shadow showing up on top of full-screen videos in Totem (doesn't occur with GNOME Mplayer for instance).
Other changes include:
- MTP support by default so you shouldn't have any issues accessing Android 4.0 devices that don't support USB Mass Storage via Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail (thanks to Gvfs which now comes with a MTP backend);
- Intel SNA (2D acceleration for the Intel Linux graphics driver that improves the X.Org performance) has been turned on by default in Ubuntu 13.04. This should provide improved X.Org driver performance and thus, a faster, more responsive desktop;
- LibreOffice has Ubuntu AppMenu and HUD support by default, without using any extensions (this feature is a bit buggy though and if HUD doesn't work properly for you, firstly open the menu, then try to use the HUD and it should work). LibreOffice 4.0 comes with many other enhancements, see THIS article for more info;
- with Ubuntu 13.04, the process of switching from Python 2 to Python 3 continues, although not everything has been converted to Python 3 for the final Ubuntu 13.04 release;
- simplified Software Updater;
- a "tech preview" of Upstart User Sessions has been included by default in Ubuntu 13.04, which allows Upstart to supervise a user's desktop session. This feature is disabled by default for Ubuntu 13.04, but can be manually enabled for testing;
- many others which you'll discover for yourself.
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 Ubuntu 13.04 but all future non-LTS releases.
Default applicationsGwibber, the social / microblogging client that used to be available by default in Ubuntu has been removed by default and from the repositories (but, like I was saying above, the Gwibber Lens functionality is still available by default thanks to the new Friends lens). The application has been rewritten in QML and it can be installed via Ubuntu Software Center (and it's now called "Friends").
Ubuntu 13.04 continues to use GNOME 3.6 for the most part (even though GNOME 3.8 has been released recently - more on why they choose to stay with 3.6, HERE), like Ubuntu 12.10, however, some GNOME applications that weren't upgraded to version 3.6 in Ubuntu 12.10 are now available by default: Nautilus 3.6 and Totem 3.6.