Ubuntu 12.10 BETA 1 has just been released, as the first BETA stage in the Quantal development cycle, bringing, along with numerous fixes and optimizations, new exciting features, that are to define Quantal as definitely an innovative and creative Ubuntu version.
What is new in Quantal Quetzal BETA 1?
Unity 6.4 has landed in Ubuntu, introducing Unity Previews, basically, a fancy manner of previewing items (music tracks, video clips, images, PDF files, etc) in a dedicated preview area; mainly, right-clicking on an item, pushes the clicked item into a preview mode, displaying, directly into the Dash, the previewed item's big-sized image and various details (such as title, size, format, etc), as well as allowing the user to directly access relevant functionalities (like for instance, while previewing an image, clicking
Open, opens the previewed image via its default file handler, etc).
Apps Available for Download and Ubuntu One Music Store's music albums are rendered/exposed in the new Unity 6.4 via the fancy Flow ("coverflow) view, consequently, browsing through the mentioned items can be performed by clicking&holding&dragging items.
Across the Quantal development cycle, Nautilus was updated in a normal manner, meaning, the developers landed in Ubuntu the at-that-moment latest Nautilus version, culminating with the refreshed 3.5.90 version.
Nautilus 3.5.90 presents the user a new fancy look, featuring full-state toolbar, monochrome icons, extra buttons added to its toolbar, etc, yet removing "old" but appreciated (by various users across the internets) features.
Quantal BETA 1 adds the "old" Nautilus 3.4, removing the new 3.5.90 release, mainly due to a "faulty" communication between the GNOME developers and the Ubuntu developers, faulty in the sense of not suitable/optimal for the Ubuntu developers to properly align Nautilus 3.5.90's functionalities with Unity/desktop across the Ubuntu 12.10 development cycle.
Nevertheless, the mentioned shift is linked to the present, the developers stated: "revert to 3.4 for Quantal. We'll go back in R once we have time to deal with upstream changes" ("R" being the Ubuntu version after Ubuntu 12.10).
Ubuntu's light themes, Ambiance and Radiance, gained various visual refinements, bringing a refreshed approach, implemented into numerous parts.
Search areas and buttons received a more rounded look with an interesting "surrounding" line, check-buttons and radio-buttons have been subtly visually changed, spin buttons received monochrome symbolic icons, etc, are changes landed as Ubuntu 12.10's new theming approach.
Right-click menus have been reverted to the "old" look, in the sense of being rendered with a black-ish color for Ambiance (similar to Ubuntu 11.10's), removing the white menus used in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
Unity ships by default useful lenses, yet, numerous users install third-party lenses, thus adding extra functionality to Unity via powerful lenses, such as Unity Help lens, Unity Wikipedia lens, Unity Torrents lens, etc.
BETA 1's Ubuntu Software Center gathers, manages and displays available lenses in one global place, Dash Search Plugins.
Basically, by navigating to
Ubuntu Software Center-->Themes & Tweaks-->Dash Search Plugins, the user opens a dedicated place filled with lenses, both default and third-party lenses, meaning, adding a PPA (containing lenses), automatically pushes its lenses into Dash Search Plugins, latter place definitely bearing an intuitive user-friendly approach, suitable for fast accurate maneuvering.
Ubuntu Web Apps are a new exciting technology created as a powerful solid bridge between the desktop and the web, by integrating numerous web services into the desktop.
Consequently, using the Web Apps and navigating (via the web-browser) to a supported online service, automatically summons a dialog, clicking on it, adds the online service to the desktop via a dedicated icon (available via the Dash), with support (work-in-progress) for desktop notification, Messaging Menu, etc.
Ubuntu Web Apps use Online Accounts, handy addition landed (by default) in Quantal BETA 1.
Online Accounts allows the user to add, manage and enable various online user accounts via System Settings, where services like Twitter, Google, Yahoo, etc, are to be located, furthermore, the user can easily 1-click away enable/disable specific accounts (including Google, thus enabling the newly added Google Docs scope, enabling it, automatically exposes into the Dash one's Google Docs documents).
Ubuntu 12.10 BETA 1 addresses numerous Compiz bugs and performance issues, delivering a more robust optimized 0.9.8 version.
UnMinimize is a newly added animation, usable for unminimizing actions, meaning, minimizing a window to the Unity launcher is rendered via the Minimize effect, clicking on the previously-minimized window's Unity launcher icon, restores the window on the desktop via the UnMinimize effect.
Consequently, the user is now able to set a specific animation for the Minimize effect and a specific (on-demand different) animation for the UnMinimize effect.
Quantal BETA 1 ships with Magic Lamp as the default UnMinimize Animation.
compiz-plugins (available via Ubuntu Software Center), adds two newly landed plugins, Trip (entertaining effect useful to visually distort the desktop) and Stack Window Switcher (an interesting manner of switching between opened windows).
Share links represents a solid step further for Ubuntu One Control Panel, handy addition that gathers and displays published files directly into Ubuntu One Control Panel.
Ubuntu One-->Share links allows the user to 1-click away copy weblinks of published files and paste them via Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.
The files are exposed with full name and related weblink, furthermore, Share links presents
Open, button that, when clicked, opens the clicked file via its default file handler.
Searching through published items can be easily performed by typing words in the
Search files area, action that (if the searched word is matched by available items) summons a handy drop-down containing appropriate items.
BETA 1 sees an enhanced polished Unity greeter, that, along with features, adds minor yet interesting refinements.
The login box's increased width, two-pieces design (with a dedicated back area), long OK button, come to encompass a worked-on-details login experience.
The Network Indicator has been added to the login screen, thus the user can perform various network-related actions directly at login, furthermore, successful network connections are now directly exposed at login via desktop notifications.
System Settings has been slightly modified, being presented as a no-scrollbar window, in the sense of increasing its size (thus fully containing the exposed icons), consequently, removing the need for a scrolling action.
Along with the more compact one-piece look&feel, System Settings adds a long-awaited fix, allowing the user to hassle-free set default file handlers, like for instance, navigating to
System Settings-->Details-->Default Applications and selecting VLC media player under
Video, properly sets VLC as the default handler for video files (basically, strengthening the "old" behavior, strengthening in the sense of being properly applied).
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS ships by default Unity and Unity-2D, latter Unity flavor aimed at low-spec computers, unable to handle the 3D-based Unity.
Ubuntu 12.10 BETA 1 removed the Unity-2D session, thus the user are to use only the 3D Unity.
The mentioned removal has been properly "designed", the developers have introduced a new technology suitable to support and handle Unity 3D when the required graphical "power" is not found, consequently, in Ubuntu 12.10, low-spec computers can utilize Unity 3D via llvmpipe.
Messaging Menu received "personal" names for exposed items,
Broadcast has been renamed to
Thunderbird Mail and
Empathy, approach aimed at shifting the displayed "labels" from a generic to a specific "zone".
Ubuntu uses, as the default wallpaper stack, wallpapers generated by a community Flickr-based contest, where creative users submit images that, after being voted, are officially landed in Ubuntu.
The default wallpaper stack is ready and available for Quantal BETA 1, adding, along with pleasant-to-the-eye wallpapers, an abstract quetzal, "A Little Quetzal" by the widely known artist Vladstudio.
Ubuntu 12.10 BETA 1 is available for download on http://releases.ubuntu.com/quantal/