The first beta of Ubuntu 12.04 is officially released. Ubuntu 12.04's goals were to achieve precision, stability and polish. With the beta release, it is time to see if it achieves just that. It is also time for the Ubuntu community to come forward and test the new beta release and submit bug reports to polish it further. We are almost in the final stages. No major features are to land anymore with focus solely on fixing bugs.
So what's new with this beta release? Well, you can see that for yourself in the video screencast below.
Here a short summary of what's new
1. The Login screen has received some visual changes and the polish it requires for a LTS system.
2. The Unity Launcher and Dash received some visual changes as well like the new tooltips, new dash home screen and the chameleonic buttons.
3. Ubuntu 12.04 now has a default Video lens which shows videos stored locally and other online sources like YouTube Education, BBC Player, Vimeo and Bing Videos.
4. Keyboard Shortcut Overlay to provide reference to all Unity keyboard shortcuts when you hold the SUPER key.
5. The heads up display (HUD) is now included by default in Ubuntu 12.04. The HUD is intended to be a replacement to the traditional menu system and complemented with voice support in the future. However, at the moment it has made its first appearance and hence is only there for testing purposes.
6. Mono has being removed from the default install. Hence applications like Banshee, Tomboy have also been removed. They can be installed from the Ubuntu Software Center easily. Also Rhythmbox is now the default music player for Ubuntu 12.04.
7. The Ubuntu Software Center has received its fair share of Updates. The startup has been reduced from around 8-10 seconds in Ubuntu 11.10 to around 2-3 seconds. The Software Center also now shows recommendations based on the applications that you use.
8. Nautilus has finally introduced support for Undo function after being submitted as wishlist almost 5-10 years ago.
9. Firefox, Thunderbird have been updated to the latest versions which are currently version 11.0. It is however expected to be updated to version 12 or 13 before the final release.
10. The Gnome Control Center has received lots of visual tweaks and changes. Online Accounts has been hidden when using the Unity environment since it is not supported by any default application at the moment. A setting for Privacy has been added to address the privacy issues raised by the users.
11. Few Unity Launcher customization options have also landed in the gnome-control-center. Options like changing the launcher icon size and the launcher hide behavior. Dodge window behavior of the launcher has been removed. The default behavior of the launcher is to be visible at all times.
12. The nautilus and the dash launcher icons have received dynamic quicklists. Hence the nautilus quicklist will display the bookmarks while the dash icon will display the lenses in the quicklist.
13.The developers have focused a lot on improving the power consumption and hence the battery life for laptops. You can clearly see the benefits of their work in this release.
14. Ubuntu One control panel gets a face lift with its new QT interface. You can see the new QT interface below.
Well that's about all the summary until now. You can download the Beta 1 from here. The 2nd and final beta will be released on the 29th of March which is in another 4 weeks. Until then, its just bug fixing until it is pixel perfect!