Mark Shuttleworth Weighs In On Ubuntu 12.04

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 12, 2012

Last week, we covered the release of the first beta version of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS--a major new upgrade to the operating system. Since then, OStatic readers working with the new beta have weighed in with mostly positive comments. "I have been Alpha testing Precise and just updated to 1st Beta and I can tell the significant power management improvement and HUD and Unity sidebar are highly responsive," wrote one commenter. There is a lot under the hood of this new release, as you can read about here, and Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth has weighed in with a blog post about the features that he sees as most significant.

The first beta of version 12.04 includes the 3.2.0-17.27 Ubuntu kernel which is based on the v3.2.6 upstream stable kernel. This is an update to the version of the kernel that was present in the Alpha version. Among other things, the new kernel handles power management much more flexibly and more efficiently than ever before.

One other feature that testers are welcoming is the ability to work fluidly with multiple monitors. Shuttleworth writes:

"In 12.04 LTS, multi-monitor use cases got a first round of treatment, we will continue to refine and improve that every six months now that the core is stable and effective. But the general commentary from professionals, and software developers in particular, is 'wow'. In this last round we have focused testing on more advanced users and use cases, with user journeys that include many terminal windows, and there is a measurable step up in the effectiveness of Unity in those cases."

Shuttleworth also covers the new HUD (Head's Up Display) interface in Ubuntu 12.04, a controversial addition that we covered before:

"For the adventurous, who really want to be on the cutting edge, the (totally optional) HUD is our first step to a totally new kind of UI for complex apps. We’re deconstructing the traditional UI, expressing goodness from the inside out. It’s going to be a rich vein of innovation and exploration, and the main beneficiaries will be those who use computers to create amazing things, whether it’s the kernel, or movies. Yes, we are moving beyond the desktop, but we are also innovating to make the desktop itself, better."

HUD represents a break from standard menu-driven interfaces and is genertating a lot of discussion. We previously noted this, regarding HUD, from Shuttleworth:

"As a means of invoking commands, menus have some advantages. They are always in the same place (top of the window or screen)...They also have some disadvantages: when they get nested, navigating the tree can become fragile. They require you to read a lot when you probably already know what you want. They are more difficult to use from the keyboard than they should be, since they generally require you to remember something special (hotkeys) or use a very limited subset of the keyboard (arrow navigation). They force developers to make often arbitrary choices about the menu tree ('should Preferences be in Edit or in Tools or in Options?'), and then they force users to make equally arbitrary effort to memorise and navigate that tree."

Many of you are probably working with the other additions in this new version of Ubuntu. The default music player in Ubuntu has been changed to Rhythmbox, which includes the UbuntuOne music store. There are also many new features aimed at software developers.

What do you think of version 12.04?