Ubuntu 12.10 Desktop New Features

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There is no longer a traditional CD-sized image, DVD or alternate image, but rather a single 800MB Ubuntu image that can be used from USB or DVD. Users who previously installed using LVM or full-disk encryption via the alternate CD will find that these installation targets are supported by the consolidated image in 12.10.

With the Ubuntu 12.10, ARM desktop images are now standard Ubuntu live images as known from other architectures. To install these images you should have a USB disk as target device.

Desktop Interface

  • Update Manager has been streamlined and renamed Software Updater. It also now checks for updates when launched. Additionally, the release upgrader portion of Update Manager has become its own package -- ubuntu-release-upgrader.
  • A new Xorg stack has been introduced which includes xserver 1.13 candidate versions, mesa 9.0, and updated X libs and drivers. The new xserver provides improved multiseat support, better smooth scrolling, and a large variety of bug fixes. There is a new version of the ATI driver, and the proprietary -nvidia driver now supports the RANDR standard for monitor configuration.
  • Unity and Compiz now works on hardware supporting only GLES instructions, releasing unity to a wide range of armel machines.
  • Unity was updated to version 6.8 including support for:
    • Addition of ‘More Suggestions' category which delivers commercial content to the Dash via the ‘Unity Shopping Lens'
    • Numerous fixes and refinements to the dash
    • Option to prevent any network connection from the dash in the privacy gnome control center panel.
    • Support addition of webapps in the launcher by default (including Amazon & Ubuntu One Music stores)
    • An updated indicator-messages including a new libmessaging-menu api (deprecating the old libindicate library)
    • All launcher icons (except the BFB and Trash) should now be movable
    • Added the ability to unlock removable-storage icons from the launcher to de-clutter it
    • When in spread mode (Super+W) it's possible to close windows by clicking the close button revealed when hovering over them
    • Gwibber lens now features preview support in the dash
    • Webapps can now trigger package downloads where required by compliant websites visited by the user
    • Additional icons have been added to the filesystem lens to enable dragging and dropping filesystems (such as USB sticks) into the launcher
    • Previews in the video lens now show details for remote Amazon videos
    • Unity and unity-panel have been ported to atk-bridge for accessibility
  • Accessibility is turned on by default.
  • Ubuntu Medium font has been included.
  • The extra "launchpad integration" menu items which used to be added to the help menus have been dropped as they were not useful to most users and creating confusion.
  • The login greeter was updated:
    • Support for logging into remote desktops via RDP has been added, making it easier to use Ubuntu as a thin client
    • Network status is now displayed in the top panel
    • General visual refresh, with more space for long names and a better looking session chooser


Desktop Applications

  • LibreOffice has been updated to 3.6.2. It no longer needs a separate plugin to provide built-in menubar & HUD support.
  • GNOME has been updated to the new 3.6 version for most of its components.  A few highlights include:
    • Empathy: the contact list in GNOME's messaging and chat application received a cleaner design with groups disabled by default and the contacts you talk to the most often ranked at the top of the list.
    • Disks: improvements have been added including extra power management functions and the return of the benchmark feature.
  • Firefox and Thunderbird got updated to the current "16" version.
  • Jockey has been deprecated in favor of a "Drivers" component in software-properties.

Software Center

The new Software Center version improvements include:

  • Faster loading and installing
  • 3D Secure Support
  • Banners can now open URLs
  • Recommendation Feedback
  • Integration with the Unity Search Plugin Previews

Ubuntu One

New features and improvements include:

  • The Ubuntu One Music Store and Music Streaming Web App is accessible from the Launcher and provides integration with the sound menu and notifications in Ubuntu
  • The Ubuntu One Control Panel now includes a Shared links tab which provides a list and way to search all shared links


It enables Ubuntu users to run online applications like Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, Ebay and GMail direct from the desktop. Making web applications behave like their desktop counterparts improves the user experience dramatically; it’s faster and it reduces the proliferation of browser tabs and windows that can quickly make a desktop unmanageable.

The apps can even take advantage of Ubuntu’s new HUD system, making it even easier to navigate. So Web properties leap to the forefront of modern UI design, making for amazingly productive, fast and fluid applications on the desktop.

Common Infrastructure

Secure Boot

Ubuntu 12.10 is the first Ubuntu release to support UEFI Secure Boot, a standard for controlling what software can be run on a computer in an effort to curtail malware that takes over the system at boot time. Supporting Secure Boot, a part of the Windows 8 certification requirements for client systems, ensures that Ubuntu will continue to provide an "it just works" experience on new hardware.

Due to time pressures, only some flavors released with 12.10 will install and boot on Secure Boot hardware:

  • Ubuntu desktop
  • Ubuntu server
  • Edubuntu

We expect to enable all other flavors in 13.04.

Migration-support deprecated

The tool responsible for migrating user accounts from other operating systems to Ubuntu (migration-assistant) has been removed from the installer.

Linux kernel 3.5.5

The Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal release includes the 3.5.0-17.28 Ubuntu Linux kernel which was based on the v3.5.5 upstream Linux kernel. This is an update from the 3.2.0-23.36 Ubuntu Linux kernel which shipped in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin and was based on the v3.2 upstream Linux kernel. Other notable changes with the Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal kernel include:

  • Transitioning of the i386 generic-pae flavor to become the generic flavor offering
  • Collapsing of the virtual flavor back into the generic flavor
  • Homogenizing the entire linux-meta package
  • Arrival of a new highbank arm server kernel flavor
  • Changing of the default scheduler from cfq to deadline
  • Packaging updates for signed kernels

Python 3.2

The Ubuntu desktop has begun migrating from Python 2 to Python 3. Most Python applications included in the desktop and their dependent libraries have been ported to Python 3. In most cases, Python 3 versions of libraries are available alongside their Python 2 counterparts. Ported applications will only run with Python 3. Work will continue in Ubuntu 13.04.

If you have your own programs based on Python 2, fear not! Python 2 will continue to be available (as the python package) for the foreseeable future. However, to best support future versions of Ubuntu you should consider porting your code to Python 3. Python/3 has some advice and resources on this.

GNU Toolchain

Ubuntu 12.10 is distributed with an updated default toolchain that includes: GCC 4.7.2 (was GCC 4.6 in 12.04 LTS), a binutils snapshot from the 2.23 branch (was 2.22 in 12.04 LTS), eglibc 2.15, and gdb 7.5.

Further information can be found upstream (GCC-4.7, gdb).

Java Toolchain

Ubuntu 12.10 ships OpenJDK7 as the default Java implementation. This brings improved performance, new features and better compatibility with other Java 7 implementations.

Use of the OpenJDK6 is now deprecated and the openjdk-6-* packages in universe for Ubuntu 12.10 will not be provided in future releases of Ubuntu.

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