Saturday, 28 January 2012

Review: Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Alpha 1

Alpha 1 is the first release in the 12.04, Precise Pangolin development cycle and includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. The Alpha is still quite an image of 12.04, "so you should expect some bugs." No kidding.

The headline is... okay thus far.

I don't usually get involved with releases until Alpha 2 or a Beta, but since Popey and some other folks have given good account of it, I jumped in...

The Alpha is an awkward 705mb ISO disk image. Expect 750Mb for the final release as per Mark Spaceshuttle's arbitrary upper limit.

What's new in ubuntu 12.04 Alpha 1

  • Version 3.2.0-2.5 Ubuntu kernel, based on the recent 3.2-rc3 Linux kernel
  • Banshee is removed as the default media player andin favour of old favourite Rhythmbox
  • Vala rewritten Zeitgeist 0.9 alpha 1 has replaced the “old” Zeitgeist
  • Banshee, Tomboy and Gbrainy have been removed, eliminating the Mono (free implementation of Silverlight)
  • Nautilus has received tags that can be applied to any file or folder
  • Ubuntu Software Center now supports multiple screenshots in the applications details view, as well as the ability to filter comments by “Most helpful first” and “Newest first”
  • updated default applications: Firefox 9 BETA, Thunderbird 9 BETA, Ubuntu Software Center 5.1.2, Gedit 3.2.3, Gwibber 3.3.1, Onboard 0.96
  • There is no UbuntuOne Music Store yet, this still needs to be ported to GTK 3
  • Nautilus has improved in stability and allows you to add tags to your files which helps in improving search.
View from the Bridge
The Software centre came with a stutter - installing programs, with much flashing of a debconf window, but not updating it's main window on completion - I was getting a blank screen or a hang at the end of most installs, but that appears to be resolved with today's round of updates.

Likewise Update manager got in a tangle locking with Apt while performing a dist-upgrade on the same day of install. A socking 397Mb of updates came down the wire the first time around, 207Mb today. This is how volatile the release is.

Cosmetically, there's not a huge difference from 11.10; small points of finessing, but otherwise this is a standard Unity desktop.
Pre-releases of Precise Pangolin are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into intermittent, possibly frequent breakage. Recommended for Ubuntu developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing bugs this is a vital step in the Open Source process of getting a Long-Term Support (LTS) release ready. We eagerly awit the Alpha 2 release on Feb. 13th. RC

You can download the ISO images for 12.04: Ubuntu Desktop, Server, ARM

Additional images are also available at: