Ubuntu Unity get bumped to version 5.8 bringing with it many bug fixes improving its polish and perfection. Most of the bug fixes are barely major but improves the overall Unity interface. Lets go through them one by one.
The Unity Dash has received a dark background texture with improved clarity of the icons shown in the Dash. The icons are also spaced more uniformly to present more professionally.
The notifications now behave similar to the dash, launcher and the Alt+Tab by being chameleonic. This further increases the consistency among default Ubuntu elements.
Improved Dash Search
This was briefly touched upon during the Ubuntu Beta 1 review. Dash Search is now intelligent enough to show application based on common search terms rather than just when searching for application by their names.
For instance, the vlc player now shows up if you use the search term Video or Audio or Player. This simplifies the search since the user does not need to remember the application's name anymore.
Another example is when searching for the System Monitor. Since the System Monitor deals with Process, Memory, CPU, Systems Info you can use these as the search strings to find it easily.
Music Lens Support
The music lens receives support for Rhythmbox. Previously it only supported Banshee by default. You can also install more scopes like Grooveshark, Spotify etc. to get the music lens to search other sources as well. This will be covered in detail in an upcoming post about Lenses and Scopes. So stay tuned until then.
The HUD now respects your launcher settings. If the launcher is set to autohide, invoking the HUD does not display the launcher anymore. On the other hand, if the launcher is visible at all times, then the HUD is combined with the launcher similar to the dash.
Many of the updates available for Unity 3D also apply to Unity 2D. The Dash search improvement is one such update that applies to both Unity 3D and Unity 2D. Also the Unity 2D Dash now sports chameleonic behavior similar to its Unity 3D counterpart. Efforts are being made to ensure feature parity between Unity 2D and Unity 3D.
If the dash returns an empty search, it now displays a message letting the user know.
As part of the ongoing effort to improve the performance of Ubuntu as a whole (better battery lifetime) the new version of Unity 5.8 brings an compiz performance update. Compiz and Unity now reduce the system wakeup call when system idle which can be translated to better battery life. This comes in addition to all the improvements done in the Linux Kernel 3.2. You can assured of a better battery life for Ubuntu 12.04.