Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Update

Since December I have been running the development cycle of the next Ubuntu release, 12.04 Precise Pangolin. And for the most part it has been trouble free, the only real issues I have with it are on a purely superficial level, such as the choice of Rhythmbox over Banshee and the not including of Tomboy as standard. Other then that, and the usual bumps along the testing road, everything seems to be going as expected.

The HUD & Other Menu's

There has been some news of late about a few new features that may get included in the final release, the first being the new HUD. This is my personal favourite and have found it intuitive to use. The idea behind it is to make it easier to find the options you want instead of having to dig through menu's, instead you press the 'Alt' key, the HUD appears and you start typing what you would like to do/find. It should then spit out what it thinks you are looking for. Below is a screenshot of me using the HUD with Google Chrome, and below that is a video showing the HUD in action.

A relatively recent announcement is considering another change to the menu's, this time removing the Global Menu along the top with a single button...so another menu to list the menu's. For a screenshot and some more info have a look here. Right now neither of these are implemented as standard in the development cycle, but the HUD can be installed via a PPA.

And In Other News

As for the rest of the features, the rest is rather mundane with the focus on improving the user experience as much as possible.

As you can see in the screenshot of the desktop not much has changed visually since 11.10

One useful new addition is the inclusion of quicklists for the home folder as standard, a quick right-click brings up a list of your bookmarked folders.

Normally pressing and holding the super/windows key and pressing the relevant number will open the corresponding application in the Unity dash. But now it also shows the various keyboard shortcuts at the same time.

For those concerned about the increasing effectiveness of the Zeitgeist in Ubuntu, a new set of privacy options have been included as standard. These will allow you to blacklist various files, folders and applications as shown in the screenshots below.

Stay Tuned

Of course there are minor quality issues here and there, the login screen has been going through a series of updates the last few days so each time I log in there seems to be something slightly different. What will happen with the HUD and new menu's remains to be seen, though I really hope the HUD makes the cut. There has also been some fuss over Ubuntu One dropping support for notes on the Ubuntu One website. This has no affect on your notetaking applications like Tomboy that sync to Ubuntu One, just the web interface will be gone. Also plenty of bugs to be squashed too, and you never know what the next update will bring as this is still only at Alpha stage of development. But Beta is around the corner and the final release still on track for the end of April.

Roll on the Precise Pangolin!

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