Ubuntu 12.10 review
An interim update that brings a small, hit-and-miss selection of new features
Review Date: 18 Oct 2012
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: Free
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Ubuntu’s biannual release schedule tends to mean only small, evolutionary improvements between versions, and Ubuntu 12.10 - the “Quantal Quetzal”, to give it its friendly codename - looks and behaves similarly to April’s 12.04 release.
Yet there are some interesting new features dotted about the place. If you perform a clean installation, the first change you’ll notice is a new option to encrypt the entire installation disk using a passphrase - a welcome security measure if you’re worried about a laptop being lost or stolen. LVM volumes are now supported, too, so you can install Ubuntu on a logical volume and easily resize or reconfigure it later.
Read moreIs Ubuntu still the best alternative to Windows? Find out in our in-depth Labs, in the latest issue of PC Pro
Once you’re in, you’ll see that the updated Dash features a scrollable preview mode, activated by right-clicking on any search result. From here you can browse images, documents and other local content, preview and buy online music, and uninstall or launch applications.
The Dash also delivers a wider range of online results than before. Search for an application you don’t already have and you’ll see a link to install it via the Software Center; search for a physical item and you’ll see a link to order it from Amazon.
This latter feature is powered by the new “web apps” concept - small bits of connecting code that plumb cloud content and services into the local operating system. As well as adding online results into the search interface, extensions can put webmail and social networking notifications into Ubuntu’s mail menu; place controls for online music services such as last.fm in the audio menu (as local players already do); and make web services accessible from the Launcher as if they were regular applications. Web apps are currently offered for around 40 sites, and can be installed by simply visiting a supported site in Firefox and accepting the automatic installation request.
As they stand, these new features don’t add a lot. Preview mode is quite limited - it fills the whole screen, offering no control beyond scrolling left and right through your search results - and while receiving email notifications in the menu bar is nice, it isn’t exactly life-changing. When it comes to search results, mixing physical goods in with programs and files simply doesn’t make sense.
Yet web apps have real potential for the future. At present you’ll look in vain for connections to major services such as SkyDrive, Google Music or the Amazon Kindle Store, but the prospect of accessing them all from a single local search interface is undeniably appealing. We hope Canonical can secure and maintain support from such services - or at least ensure it’s provided by the community via the open web apps API.
Ubuntu 12.10 update very buggy
I have just "updated" to 12.10 and have found some immediate problems.
The auto-hide taskbar does not work and the "System update" tag in "Tools" is missing.
So far I don't see the big deal in the upgrade and wish I had not done it.
By HershelKristofsk on 20 Oct 2012
Upgrading Ubuntu has always been a hit and miss affair, just reinstall from scratch and then restore your backed-up files. You did backup before you did the upgrade didn't you? :)
By pinero50 on 3 Nov 2012
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Apple patent reveals iPhone car control system
- Windows 10 release date, features and how to get the Technical Preview
- Microsoft updates Windows 10 tech preview
- End of an era: Nokia Lumia to become Microsoft Lumia
- Google boosts secure logins with USB Security Key
- Nominations now open for UK Cloud Awards 2015
- Lenovo rumoured to be acquiring BlackBerry
- Apple releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay
- Microsoft offers cloud access to help fight Ebola
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus screen comparison
- Mac OS X Yosemite release date, price and new features
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office