It’s been six months since Ubuntu 12.04 was released, and it’s yet again time for a new version of the distro that markets itself as “Linux for human beings.” The latest version of Ubuntu – 12.10 Quantal Quetzal is finally here. We have shown you a review of the beta version, let’s check out which features have made it to the final version, and whether you should upgrade or not.
For better or for worse, Web sites have transformed from simple, static documents to fully-fledged applications. Most computer operating systems, however, have failed to keep pace, segregating popular Web apps to the browser. Ubuntu 12.10, however, has made them first class citizens. If you’re browsing certain sites in Firefox, such as Facebook or Twitter, a pop-up box will ask you if you want to add the site as an application. If you do, you can now launch it from the Dash as if it was a regular app. You can also pin it to the dock for easy access if it’s a site you frequently visit.
If you live in the browser, on the other hand, it might not seem like an essential feature. But having your favorite websites handy is still very convenient. If nothing else, you can save time on typing the URL.
This is one of the most talked-about and one of the most controversial features of Ubuntu 12.10. One of the new lenses in the Dash is a shopping lens, which will allow you to search Amazon from the Dash instead of having to fire up the browser. This feature has attracted a fair amount of controversy and criticism because of privacy concerns. Some people also like to say that Canonical’s selling out by allowing Amazon search results the way some people claim their favorite band now sucks because they signed to a major label. On the other hand, Canonical has been a commercial business from the outset, and has to pay for the development costs somehow.
Social Media Lens
In addition to searching for Amazon products, you can also search your posts on social media services like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. You can access them by simply putting your account information for the various services you’re subscribed to in the “Online Accounts” section of the System Information menu.
Another change to the Dash that Canonical has made in 12.10 is the ability to preview media you’ve downloaded without having to launch the application associated with it first. For example, if you’ve purchased an album in Ubuntu’s music store, after searching for it in the Dash, you can listen to it immediately. If you’re looking to buy or download music, apps or games, you can also do so in the Dash.
Should You Upgrade?
As cool as these new features are, do they make it worth the upgrade? The new additions don’t allow you to do anything you couldn’t already do in the browser and other applications. On the other hand, having them integrated in the Dash might be attractive to people who want to minimize switching between different tasks. Of course, there are always people who just love to hate on Unity anyway. A more practical concern is compatibility. A number of people have reported various problems getting the latest version to run on their hardware. You might want to wait a bit until the Ubuntu team can release some more updates. If reliability is very important to you, you’re better off with one of the LTS releases.
If these new features do look cool to you, then why not take the plunge?
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