What to Expect From Ubuntu 13.10 Final Beta

It’s the time of the year again where Canonical is going to launch a new version of its popular Ubuntu distro. For those who are using Ubuntu Raring 13.04, or the LTS Ubuntu Precise 12.04, you may be wondering if the upcoming release, Saucy Salamander 13.10, is a worthy upgrade, or one that you can skip altogether. With the release of 13.10 Final beta, let us check out what’s new and if it is worth upgrading.

If you are keen to try out Ubuntu 13.10 Final Beta, you can download the ISO file here.

1. Mir and XMir

The biggest changes in Ubuntu 13.10 is the implementation of Mir, the new display server to replace the old X window system. As an effort to unify both the desktop and mobile experience, Canonical created their own display server – Mir to replace the old and outdated X system. As a fallback, there is also the XMir – a X11 implementation of Mir – which will allow the system to fallback to the X system if the graphics card does not support Mir.

At the moment, Mir will be the default for Ubuntu Touch (Ubuntu OS for phone). While it was planned to be the default display server for Ubuntu 13.10 desktop, the plan was later scrapped as there are still compatibility issues with XMir that won’t be fixed in time for the Oct 17 launch. We will most likely be seeing it for Ubuntu 14.04.

2. Smart Scope

Smart Scope is a new feature that allows you to search (almost) anything from the Dash. If you are connected to Google and Facebook, it can also search your Facebook message or Google documents. Other than that, it is also connected to services like Wikipedia, Yelp, Amazon, Foursquare so you can search a multitude of services directly from the Dash.

ubuntu-smart-scope

3. Unity 7

The Unity desktop has been bumped up to version 7. There are many more fine-tuning with Compiz that makes it run faster and smoother.

4. Keyboard Applet

The most obvious change in the desktop is the inclusion of a new Keyboard applet. This allows you to easily switch between various language and keyboard layout.

ubuntu-keyboard-applet

5. Applications

There hasn’t been much changes to the Applications. Firefox still remains the default browser, together with Thunderbird, Rhythmbox, LibreOffice

6. Visual Update

Some of the applications, such as Files (Nautilus) and System Settings, received a small visual change.

ubuntu-files-visual-changes

Most of the work in Ubuntu 13.10 are on the backend to create a unified interface for both mobile and desktop. Few changes are made to the visual and applications. Smart scope may be a new inclusion in 13.10, but it has been around since 13.04, so it is not exactly a new feature. In my opinion, this is not a compelling and a “must-upgrade” release. You won’t miss out much by remaining in Ubuntu 13.04.

Ubuntu 13.10 will be released on Oct 17, 2013.