Ubuntu 12.10 ‘Quantal Quetzal’: Our Final Thoughts

Ubuntu 12.10 ‘Quantal Quetzal’: Our Final Thoughts

There’s another new, fresh and exciting Ubuntu release out in the wild. As you read this, we can all now accept the great pleasure of what Ubuntu 12.10 ‘Quantal Quetzal’ has to offer.

The Ubuntu kernel

I guess we should probably get the annoyances out of the way first off. In my previous articles, I have been outspoken about my dissatisfaction with Ubuntu Developers renaming the kernel and version to Ubuntu kernel <version number>. Deciphering Ubuntu’s actual kernel is getting more complicated due to the renaming scheme to differentiate from the upstream vanilla Linux kernel. In fact, I had to revert to the technical overview data to find out exactly what kernel version Ubuntu 12.10 is using. Well, developers have persisted with their decision to rename the kernel included in Ubuntu, so it’s time I learning to accept the decision. The kernel included in Ubuntu 12.10 is the Ubuntu kernel 3.5.0-15.23, which is based on the vanilla Linux kernel 3.5.4.

The 800MB ISO

This has been a strange decision and one that has been floating around for many months. It was always thought that Ubuntu 12.04 would be the first Ubuntu release that received the slightly inflated ISO size of 700MB+. In fact, 12.04 was again brought back down to a ~700MB ISO, which is suitable to write to regular CD-R media. But then the issue reared its ugly head again and the decision was made to finally accept that the 12.10 release would receive a final ISO size of ~800MB. Therefore, requiring DVD+/-R or USB media for installation. Interestly, the server version has maintained a ~700MB ISO, whilst the KDE spin-off, Kubuntu sits at a slightly more inflated ~1GB ISO size.

Unity and X.Org

Unity has been updated to version 6.6. With the latest revision of Unity, all launcher icons are now movable and icons have been added to the Filesystem Lens, for example USB sticks to enable drag and drop functionality.

While the decision to drop Unity 2D for the Ubuntu 12.10 release has been known for some time, the decision finally becomes reality with the release of 12.10. Unity 3D now provides the full Unity desktop environment for both new and old hardware. And this is assisted with the new X.Org stack which has been implemented. In the past, Canonical was touting a Wayland core as the way forward in future releases of Ubuntu. But X.Org development seems to be pressing ahead and Ubuntu seems happy to support it at this stage. And to date, all Wayland implementations have been seen as purely development experiments and previews and certainly nothing worthy of replacing X.Org at this stage.

Software Updates

LibreOffice version has also received a little bit of deserving attention and has been bumped to 3.6.1. Now included, is built-in menu bar and HUD support without the requirement for a separate plugin to be installed.

For the GNOME users, most packages have been updated to 3.5.92. Some of the most recent sit at version 3.6.0. But Canonical have made an interesting decision with Nautilus. They’ve decided to stick with Nautilus version 3.4.2 and not the latest 3.6 version which is readily available. Canonical claims they are unhappy with the removal of some important (and useful) features in Nautilus. And it also raises the question of what future Nautilus has as the default graphical file manager in Ubuntu. We’ll keep a close eye on this space in future updated to Ubuntu.

One of the key changes for Ubuntu 12.10 has been the continued and gradual migration of Python 2 based packages to the Python 3 set. Although, as of 12.10 not all packages could not be completely migrated over, it will be an ongoing initiative for the foreseeable future. With the eventual outcome being the complete removal of all Python 2 related features and packages for a default Ubuntu system. Of course, all the Python 2 packages and libraries will all still be available in the repositories for anyone wishing to install them post-installation.

Update Manager is no more. Actually, it’s still there in the form of a fresh updated and renamed package called Software Updater. Underneath all the shine and new name, there’s really nothing new and groundbreaking to brag.

The Desktop

While there are plenty of software updates to mention, there are also some desktop updates and tweaks I thought were also deserving of some attention.

GRUB has been tweaked a little with old kernel versions installed being hidden behind a sub-menu called “Advanced Options”.

Apparently, the default theme for Ubuntu has been tweaked. Although it is hard to tell unless you pay attention to the minute details of your desktop theme, which I don’t. In all honesty, unless I read about the theme changes on the internet I would never have been able to tell that any tweaks had in fact been applied. Initial appearance and aesthetics looks very similar to previous Ubuntu releases. With the exception of the obvious wallpaper change which gets changed at every new release.

The Ubiquity Installer has been given the ability for full-disk encryption and support for LVM. Both, features which have been available in Red Hat’s Anaconda installer for many years. Personally, I’m a little shocked that Ubuntu Developers have only just decided to include this in the desktop version of Ubuntu as the inclusion should have been made a long time ago.

The LightDM login has received the Remote Login feature. A small addition but very welcome by some users I would assume.

Ubuntu’s own file sync and sharing tool Ubuntu One, has received some nice tweaks. Ubuntu One now includes a file sharing function which replicates that of other file syncing and sharing services. For example, Dropbox. And Ubuntu One has also been given a dedicated music service. Ubuntu One music search results are now also included in to the Ubuntu Dash search results. Admittedly, I don’t really know much else about the Ubuntu One music service addition as I simply have not had enough time to test it out as of the time of 12.10 release. So feel free to add in the comments below your thoughts about it, or any other Ubuntu features you like or dislike.

And I don’t want to dwell on the Amazon shopping results issue again, but it’s fair to say that Ubuntu Developers have included a switch for disabling the service if you do not wish for those results to appear in Unity Dash search results.

Desktop Usage and Conclusion

There’s a lot of technical mumbo jumbo above and available on the internet about Ubuntu 12.10. But it all means nothing if the desktop usage itself is not up to speed. Fortunately, in the case of 12.10 everything works great. Everything is very polished and sleek and usage performance is second to none, even on moderate hardware such as my own older Intel Celeron D single core CPU ad 2GB DDR2 RAM.

With most Linux desktop releases updating their distributions every 6 months, there’s sometimes not much to differentiate between releases. In some respects, Ubuntu 12.10 is not much different to previous releases. But in other ways it’s much better. And fortunately, there’s technically speaking not  much to complain about with this release, if anything. So rather than me sit here typing up how good Ubuntu 12.10 really is, do yourself and your hard drive a favor and head to the downloads page and get it now.

And don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on the new release in our comments section below.

  • Brandon Hope

    With 12.10 I have mixed feelings, the Amazon stuff is outrageous and should be removed NOW, installing drivers was a pain I had to find the kernel heads and install those before the drivers, the default experience is ugly as usual and finally webapps are half baked and don’t work correctly (they keep asking me to reinstall them). On the bright side once I had every thing configured its crazy fast, fastest OS I have used, Unity is simply great low system foot print, Multi monitor works like a charm and software center finally works.

    On a side not 12.10 crashed the most out of any release I have ever used until recently when they patched some of the bugs.

  • shadowguy14

    Still prefer Debian

  • Abhishek

    did not the get the driver for the catalyst AMD 4650 HD graphic card for my laptop…. is there any solution to it…..

  • styan

    I’ve updated to 12.10 from 12.04, xorg 1.13 broke my fglrx driver… There ins’t any proper solution for the HD2,3,4xxx cards until yet. I use archlinux with my R61i thinkpad… i’II move from ubuntu to arch with my desktop computer too…

    good bye ubi.

  • 2eurocents

    “we can all now accept the great pleasure of…”

    And you speak on behalf of whom? I mean the “all” bit puzzles me.

  • diannagara

    i think you need to use legacy catalyst instead the latest one, because AMD only support HD 5xxx, 6xxx and 7xxx for the newer catalyst. chers.

  • Chrisjones

    All=Ubuntu users anticipating this release.

  • Keksys

    Yeah, cool. You need only 2GB of memory for Ubuntu 12.10 to run. I bet all people in Africa have this amount of RAM to spare.

    Please use officially stated system requirements posted on ubuntu.com and call later.

    Ubuntu Desktop Edition

    700 MHz processor (about Intel Celeron or better)
    512 MiB RAM (system memory)
    5 GB of hard-drive space (or USB stick, memory card or external drive but see LiveCD for an alternative approach)
    VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
    Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media

    I bet you cant run Ubuntu with any AGP slot card.

    I can run 4 Windows XP’s simultaneously on 2GB of RAM. I can even use old pci S3 cards to run this.

  • Chrisjones

    I’m not sure what your problem is with my view, but understand that I never mentioned that Ubuntu 12.10 requires 2GB RAM to run. I simply said it’s what I tested it on and what I would think fairly represents modern hardware specifications among today’s users.

    Also, as popular as Windows XP remains among its users, you can’t ignore the fact it is over a decade old. Therefore, it would be unfair to compare an almost 12 year old OS to one that is all but a few weeks just released and expect them to perform exactly the same on the same hardware. That would be both naive and silly to assume.

  • Keksys

    I agree, I underestimated how Windows XP is great. This OS is 12 year old and still is far better then Ubuntu 12.10. Ubuntu had 12 year and it still cant make to cope with how well Windows XP is optimized to work with less resources, with more hardware compatibility and so on.

    I’m not Microsoft fan, I’m using Ubuntu since 6.06 day in – day out and today I’m professionally working day and night as developer and system administrator on Linux platform (Ubuntu, of course).

    Why new OS’s need more resources? Why they don’t need less? Why is normal to assume you need more memory, more processor cycles to just keep machine turned on? I have Master’s degree in computer science, for me progress is to have more with less, not other way around. Now-days no one is working on optimization, they just pile new things down until you reach level of Vista. And yes, Ubuntu is now Vista.

    I simply cant differentiate what is a purpose of OS’s today. Today, my OS is used to buy things from Amazon. Its not a application, its OS. This is simply crazy.

    What benefit you see in trade-off in resource manner from Ubuntu 6.06 till Ubuntu 12.10. I could run computer with 250Mhz, 128MB (or less) RAM with 6.06 and get things done. Today I need 2.5GHz and 2GB of memory. Is today’s OS 10 times better? Objectively, NO.

    Interesting fact: David Braben’s game Elite fitted into 22kB of memory. And people spent years playing this game.

    I love Ubuntu, but I’m disappointed with course Canonical is plotting ahead. Ubuntu once was “Linux for human beings”.

    Can you, today, install new Ubuntu on spare computer in Africa or in any poor country on some other continent?

    This is not progress!

  • ChrisJones

    Your frustrations indicate that Ubuntu is not the distribution for you.

  • Keksys

    I’m not frustrated, I simply have lots of principles I passionately care about.

    And your pompousness indicates lack of principles and general humanism, also indicate presences of general fanboism. You are, obviously, forgetting motto of Ubuntu, “Linux for human beings”. This is way how Ubuntu advertises itself and pledged and lamented about how they never go stray. What is left from this motto in this 8 years. Nothing! Canonical’s unscrupulousness erased everything and they now only worry for money. You have “Linux for human beings”, but only for humans who can buy new computer. Those miserable bastards in Africa are not human beings in the first place, so we don’t care.

    When I hear Ubuntu i hear “generosity, consideration and humane-ness towards others”. I simply cant find connection between this sentence and Amazon shop. Can dose bastards from Africa buy something on Amazon. Of course not, ergo they are not human beings.

    Where is ubuntu in Ubuntu now? Please show.
    (don’t say “its free”, because its not, I need new computer to run it)

  • Chrisjones

    I understand what you are saying, I really do. But Ubuntu has moved on from its original principles. Keep in mind, configured right, Ubuntu can be everything as good as what it used to be. On my Ubuntu laptop I run a customized Fluxbox environment. And you know what? It runs with just over 100MB of RAM usage. My point is if its configured right from the beginning correctly, there’s no problem.

  • Keksys

    Will hungry be fed if we have easier access to Amazon? How will they prosper from this?
    Maybe Mark just forgot to ask himself this questions every day since he moved to London. I want to believe in this, I want to believe they (Brits)
    have put spell on him.
    If this is not a case, and this sadden me if true, this was just marketing trick.

    You say, and I believe its true “Ubuntu has moved on from its original principles.”

    To become something better? Yes? Or, no?

    If “yes”, what is better then to be generous, considered and humane?

  • am.budiman

    The new Ubuntu is good for casual users, just like me. I don’t have credit card to purchase from Amazon. If I don’t like Amazon, I just need to drag the shortcut to the trash can.
    My laptop is 1.7GHz with 2GB RAM, and it runs Ubuntu 12.10 very well. I was a Fedora user since Fedora 8 untill I found Ubuntu 12.10. I simply love it. Most people living on earth don’t have very good skill configuring their PCs, and Canonical has done a good job by making a Linux distro that just works. Just works, just works, just works…..

    If you are very technical, why don’t you build your own Linux system?
    Compile your home made kernel, design your own DE, etc…