Ubuntu 12.04 Review: This is the Distro you’re looking for.

There is a lot riding on Ubuntu 12.04 (aka “Precise Pangolin”) — this is a make or break moment for Ubuntu as a desktop platform.

Over the last few releases, Ubuntu has included a new desktop environment (Unity) as the default user experience (replacing the tried-and-true Gnome desktop of past releases).  And not everyone has loved it (to put it mildly).  But that was okay… most people understood that Unity was in development and were willing to cut it a little slack.

But with this new release, things are different.  Version 12.04 is a LTS (Long Term Support) release.  Meaning: this is the version of Ubuntu that many institutions will be running for years to come.  So it better be rock solid and people better like it.

The final version of 12.04 is due for release in 4 days and is, at this point, pretty much “wrapped and ready to ship”.  That being the case, now seems like a good time to kick the tires and do a full review so people know what to expect.

The short version: Ubuntu 12.04 is the best release they’ve ever had and absolutely blows the upcoming releases of Windows and MacOS X out of the water in just about every way that matters.

The User Experience

Let’s talk Unity for a moment.  Elephant in the room, and whatnot.

When Unity became the default user experience in Ubuntu last year… I was not thrilled.  I’ll be perfectly blunt: It was slow, buggy and a bit of a mess.

That’s not to say it didn’t show potential, but it was far from being ready for prime-time.  But that’s the past.  Let’s focus on what the basic user experience is for Ubuntu and Unity in 12.04 right now, today.

In short: It’s fast.  Stable.  And generally a pleasure to use.

Working with Ubuntu 12.04 is quite simple and elegant… until you want to sit down and see what applications are available on your system.  What you see to your right is the display of your installed apps.

Getting to this point is rather quick and easy — click the “Ubuntu” button in the top left, then click the little white icon on the bottom center that is, I assume, representative of “a comb, a pencil and a building with pacman on it”.   Then you expand the “Installed” section by clicking on the left/center of the screen.  Then you click on “Filter Results” in the top right.

Remember when I said “quick and easy”?  I lied.  What I meant to say was “takes several clicks on parts of the screen that are nowhere near each other and are not immediately obvious the first time you see them”.

Once here, you you can filter your installed software using a nice, simple looking interface.  Honestly I like the way this works quite a lot.  And, really, the process of searching through your installed apps isn’t something you’re likely to do all that often.  Once you become familiar with your system, you’ll either have your commonly used apps in the dock area on the left, or you’ll know the names and can bring them up quickly by just typing in the search box at the top.

In fact, this is my only big gripe with the Unity interface.  And it’s not a big one.  I’m nit-picking here.

Tablets and More

Earlier this week I realized that, when I was using Ubuntu 12.04, I was smiling a lot.  It made me happy in a nostalgic sort of way.  Then it hit me:

Notice anything similar?  App Launcher dock on the left.  All system menu’s up top, left aligned.  System indicators and applets in the top, right aligned.  Applications run full screen (or at least can) in the main area.  Nothing on the bottom or right sides.

That’s a screenshot of Maemo (a Linux distro for mobile devices, such as internet tablets) from circa 2008.  A, well designed, system I love and (still) use to today.  And, by golly, Ubuntu’s Unity fits right in with the same basic design ideals.

That’s when it really struck me just how well suited Ubuntu 12.04 is for tablets and hand-held devices.  The general user interface design being used here is tried and true.

Even the on-screen keyboard (Onboard) is a fantastic.

I found it to be highly configurable (which always wins brownie points with me) and a joy to use.  Multiple themes, definable macros (so you can have a single key type out your email signature, for example), options for when to auto-show/hide the keyboard, transparency, resizing, layout options and a bunch of other stuff.

Onboard is pure awesome in this release of Ubuntu.  I used it for the better part of the week on my Lenovo S10-3t tablet and it was astoundingly easy to use for even lengthy compositions.   When I first started using it I was annoyed with it… but once I realized how customizable it was, and spent a few minutes getting it set up “just right”… I was in touch-screen heaven.

Stability and Performance

I’m going to keep this part brief:

Ubuntu 12.04 is fast – Very fast.  Is it possible for you to build a finely-tuned Linux Distro, that uses a lightweight desktop environment, and have a system that is even faster?  You bet.  But I found Ubuntu 12.04 to be generally “peppier feeling” than current revisions of a few other popular disro’s using KDE and Gnome Shell.  And a leaps and bounds faster than MacOS X or Windows.

Ubuntu 12.04 is stable – Not one single lock up or crash during this review on multiple machines.

Some Awesome Settings

Ubuntu 12.04 includes a nice, easy to use System Settings application.  But I want to talk about two specific sections in the System Settings that I think are incredibly cool.

First up are the “Privacy Settings”.

This provides settings for deleting the history of file activity, options to never record file activity for specific file types (or files in specific folders) as well as not logging activity from set applications.

While these settings alone won’t make everything on your system 100% history-free, it’s a great start if this is necessary for you (or if you are a wee bit paranoid).

Next is the “Backup” settings.

Just about every platform has options for some form of backup system.  But the ease of configuration, combined with massive flexibility, really takes the cake here.

You can set which folders to back up (including which folders to ignore), when to back them up, how long to keep them and, here’s my favorite part… where to back those files up to.

The options are awesome.  You can send those files to another local folder (such as a backup drive), a network share, a WebDAV server, an Ubuntu One account (of course)… or even back the files up over FTP or SSH.

The Software Center

In the interests of full disclosure: I sell one of my applications in the Ubuntu Software Center (in fact, I think I was the 7th piece of software to be made available for sale through it).  So I have a vested interest in seeing the Software Center succeed.

On the flip-side of that coin: That also makes me incredibly critical whenever there is any problem with the Software Center.  If people don’t love using the Ubuntu Software Center, then people aren’t going to buy my software through there.

So here are my thoughts.

  1. It’s a bit sluggish at times.  Not bad.  You won’t be spending the better part of your afternoon looking at spinning beach balls like some other software stores I could mention… but it’s also not as lightning fast as it’s predecessor (Synaptic).
  2. In the paid software section there are no categories.  Making it a bit cumbersome to find new apps to buy.  This isn’t a problem in the non-paid areas.
  3. In all other ways… it is awesome.

Finding software is easy.  Installing software is easy.  Rating and reviewing works great.  There are more and more, high quality paid applications available (which I think is awesome for the greater Linux ecosystem).

Final Conclusions

I love Ubuntu 12.04.  Good looking, easy to use, stable, fast.

For a tablet PC, I’d say this is the best system out there right now — and that includes the upcoming Windows 8, Android and iOS.  It’s not 100% perfect in that regard (there are some UI elements that can be a pain to touch with a big, fat, manly finger), but it’s close.  And the flexibility of the on-screen keyboard is absolutely killer.

If you are running a previous version of Ubuntu, it’s time to upgrade.  If you tried Unity out in 11.04 and didn’t like it, it’s time to try it again (keep an open mind and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised).

If you are running Windows: The choice is clear.  Make the jump to Ubuntu 12.04 and run any Windows-specific software you need via Wine.  Windows 8 is coming… and Ubuntu 12.04 just crushes it in every way that matters (other than having large squares… Windows 8 definitely has more large squares).

If you are running MacOS X: You don’t have the luxury of running your existing Mac apps under Linux like you can with Windows apps using Wine.  So the move is going to be a bit more problematic for you.  But, if you can find Linux or Windows versions of the software you need, I seriously recommend making the jump.  Perhaps start with a trial installation in VirtualBox to see how it works for you.

Now, as for me, I have a big soft spot in my heart for two other amazing Linux Desktop’s : openSUSE and Arch.

Does Ubuntu 12.04 make me want to give up running them and go 100% Ubuntu?

No.  But with how spectacularly good this release is, there is no way that I won’t have at least one machine running Ubuntu 12.04 on my desk.

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64 Responses to “Ubuntu 12.04 Review: This is the Distro you’re looking for.”

  1. Abe says:

    I’ve always advocated on the forums that they should let us move the lens around (to make the ‘app lense’ default) and give us an option to ‘expand by default’.

    Maybe next release, or next Ubuntu Tweak.

  2. jpng81 says:

    Now that we are starting to have a real operating sytem to run on tablets…. now we really need the tablets wich are NONE, that run well linux.

  3. Phil says:

    The question for me is does it allow you to change the font rendering options – that’s one of the reasons I went off Ubuntu.

  4. smilepiper says:

    I think people like the software center. Its the most easily accessible. If you are looking expand your sales, I would recommend putting your game on an affiliate site, like BMT Micro or Avangate.com. Sites like dotdeb.com are offering them for sale through sites like this.

  5. James says:

    Nice Blog on 12.04, still stuck in 10.10 because my OLD machine will not run Unity or Gnome3, running LXDE as desktop and works very well, but really looking to upgrade to 12.04 LTS, looks like a new OS and machine in the post at last, although touch screen might not be for me. Thanks again for test on 12.04, appreciated.

  6. atl says:

    The real question is: what do your goats think of Ubuntu 12.04?

  7. anonymous says:

    I think I’ll wait for ubuntu 12.10 before I install 12.04 because ubuntu 12.04 is still really buggy, looks cool but buggy. It also seems massively slower in my VB on my supercomputer as compared to ubuntu 11.10. Seems I will have to wait for at least 6 months after a release before it becomes stable enough for any kind of reliable mainstream use. For serious use, except for people who enjoy enduring and fixing problems throughout each day.

    Seems they have tuned a lot of things past the blueprint stage. Still some aesthetic problems. LibreOffice menu is still one bar bellow the place where it is supposed to be. ubuntu was too slow for me to play around with too much, it kept freezing for me. Maybe I’ll have better luck with it when I install it on real hardware.

    Unity never worked properly on old hardware that was 4x, 8x, or even 20x the minimum requirements. You need a processor with a current architecture, one that is supported. Newer nVidia graphics for OpenGL or CL.

    I think ubuntu needs to spend some extreme time on a fizzing project and add a massive patch for ubuntu 12.04.1 update to take care of the performance problems because ubuntu is supposedly installed on more older hardware than new so Canonical has to think about us too.

  8. DylanC says:

    Nice review Bryan! I think that it will be a great release and im really looking forward to it. The LTS releases are always the best!

    I imagine the Software Center will still be sluggish but I guess thats what they get for programming it in Python! :)

    This time I will try my best to stick to the LTS releases as I never can manage such a thing usually. Its hard when they come out with exciting new features each release and I always find myself doing constant upgrading. :D

    I will admit to being a version whore… I always need the latest and greatest software on my PC. Its bad to be this way at times!

  9. sulfide says:

    I’m sorry but this interface looks like an elephant took a shit on my screen…I thought the idea unity and even gnome3 was to be some sort of elegant interface. Looks like both failed miserably

  10. Bruno Girin says:

    @anonymous: I’ve been using 12.04 since alpha, both on an old laptop and a new one. The installer defaulted to Unity 2D automatically on the old one as it worked out that it wasn’t hardware accelerated. Both machines are extremely stable and run very fast.

    Similarly, when I installed a VM in Virtual Box, it defaulted to Unity 2D too and as a result, I have no issue running in a VM either.

    I’m not sure what your problems are but they may be hardware specific so if you do have issues, file bugs in Launchpad.

    Finally, one point that is not mentioned in the article: 12.04 brings improved multi-arch support so you can install the amd64 version on new hardware and have it transparently handle applications that only come as x86 binaries.

  11. Melvin says:

    This Unity version is not optimized for tablets. Unity for tablets will be familiar but not exactly the same as the desktop.

    If you see Ubuntu TV in videos or screenshots, you will notice that UTV’s Unity is optimized for TVs. Unity on phones will be optimized for that form factor as well.

    Ubuntu will need smooth scrolling (a la Android) in order to give users a nice experience when it goes mobile. Also the top panel is absolutely not good for a touch ux. I think it will behave more like Android’s status bar.

  12. Bob says:

    “For a tablet PC, I’d say this is the best system out there right now — and that includes the upcoming Windows 8, Android and iOS.”

    Are you on crack bro? Let’s see how many Ubuntu tablets are sold. More iPads sold in the time it took me to write this post than Ubuntu will ever sell. Come back to earth.

  13. Sysadmin Sunday 76 « Server Density Blog says:

    [...] Ubuntu 12.04 Review: This is the Distro you’re looking for [...]

  14. nxuul says:

    @Bob: Just because it’s not popular, doesn’t mean it’s not the best interface. I’m would definitely prefer Unity over Windows 8, iOS and Android. Go be a hater somewhere else.

  15. Anthony Venable says:

    First of all, let me say that I really liked this post! I have had my reservations about the Unity interface, and in one of my blog posts I mentioned that I felt as though it would take some time to mature.

    With that said, I will give 12.04 a fair chance. One question have is: Will I be able to do the “wobbly windows” effect like I did in Gnome 2 or is that feature gone? It may sound crazy but I love it very much so I want to be able to keep using it. LOL!!!

  16. tryade says:

    i like your revision, but the interface, for a desktop pc or a laptop (a good, big, powerfoul, able to handle 12 vm, not a small notebook), it feels buggy. i mean… uh.. it’s not the best experience on the world to have to [.. takes several clicks on parts of the screen that are nowhere near each other and are not immediately obvious the first time you see them ..]

    i liked the way ubuntu 10.04 managed app menus, and i like the way win 7 handles the star menu, and i think i’ll hate both win 8 and ubuntu 12 until they get rid of the damn tablet look.

    so hard is to compile a different SO just for tablets?

  17. ashish singh says:

    i m using the final beta and its awesome… hats off to the canonical they have dome a great job this time wish them good luck and hope they keep shipping!!!!

  18. Scottwears says:

    I’m trying so hard to switch to Linux but My graphics card is being a pain …. Im ok if i start my computer in the linux version of safe mode

  19. TheDaftRick says:

    The new Google + also looks a bit like Maemo and Unity.

  20. good guy greg says:

    lunduke…loves ubuntu 12.04 says its better than the upcoming release of windows and mac, runs ubuntu in an emulator inside of os x…

  21. Bryan says:

    good guy greg: Yessir! Depending on the day, I run just about every platform there is. From Windows and MacOS X… to every Linux distro I can… to Haiku, MorphOS and more. I make cross platform software and games. It’s my business to be comfortable working with, and developing for, all of them.

    For my primary machines, I tend towards openSUSE, Arch and Ubuntu. But I also have a Mac right in front of me filled with a pile of vbox images.

  22. georgezilla says:

    Tried Unity. Again.
    Don’t like it. Again.
    Nor do I like Metro, and not happy with G3.

    Having to learn a complete new UI, just so someone (Mark S.) can stroke his ego, is not enough reason to go thru the hassle. Read a book, to change settings? Surf the web to find out how to add a program? Why on earth would I do that? I have work to do. And being the coolest of the cool (not just using Linux, but using Ubuntu/Unity)? No thank you. Not freaking interested.

    To have a single os across all devices? Isn’t that like having only one car to chose from? I need a truck to haul stuff. A van for the wife, kids and road trips with the family. And a Corvette to go fast when I get the urge. So why would I buy a Smart Car. The great mileage is not enough reason to.

    And I really, really, REALLY don’t want my desktop to look like a freaking smartphone. Nor my laptop. Or my tablet. If I wanted a big smartphone that I can’t make calls on, I’d buy a damned iPad. And that is not going to happen in this lifetime. Maybe not even the next one.

    Brian makes a living writing code. And writing cross platform is something that he has to do. So having as many OSs as possible is logical. When I was writing HTML I ran every browser that I could find. So that my code looked as good as it could on as many browsers as it could. So I understand.

    But Unity? Naw. I think I’ll pass on it. As well as I will pass on Metro and G3. I need to get to the programs I need, when I need them. And using a search like function is not my ideal of opening them when I need them. Pushing big shiny buttons is not it either.

    Oh and, “Oooooo PRETTY!” is not a way to design a UI. Well maybe for 4 year olds. But then again, it was a very, very long time ago that I was 4 years old. And nor do I want to be again. So why would I use an OS with a UI that treats me like one? Why would I use an OS that insults my intelligence? Like this one does. But that’s just my opinion.

    You may like it. And good on you.

    Me I’ll pass on it.

  23. Your friendly ER doctor says:

    By far and away I need to have better power management for my laptop machine. I wiped Windows 7 off this very machine a few months ago and went from nearly 4 hours of battery life to barely over 1 hour. This issue is the only source of regret for not partitioning and going all in. I’ve seen some discussion concerning this issue, but not nearly enough. Give my my battery life back!

  24. Mark says:

    I have used 12.4 beta for a couple of weeks now extensively. It’s responsive, Unity grows on you, and it turns out the HUD is really useful… who knew?!

    This is now by go-to distribution. I think Canonical are a class act – this LTS is superb, the best Ubuntu yet.

    Can’t believe what some people whinge about! Just get over it, and either try this or go back to your own favoured distribution (or OSX, or Windows).

  25. Ayon says:

    Ubuntu 11.10 made my brand new HP Probook 4430s laptop so hot , It could run at most 1.5 hours in battery while I get 4 hrs on average in windows or ubuntu 10.10 , pinguy os and even hackintosh lion. My friends using Dell inspiron 14Z have worse experience than me , their laptop got shutdown frequently due to overheat. I am using Pinguy OS currently , built on ubuntu 11.04 and I am happy with it. I’ll definitely switch to ubuntu 12.04 LTS if this overheat issue is resolved and I get good backup on bettery and obviously good hardware support.

    Seems to be good seeing your review…. :) Thank you

  26. Bob K. says:

    Bryan as good as the operating system is. And Ubuntu 12.04 looks very good. At the end of the day, it’s the applications that are supported that matter. As someone who loves photography, Linux as a whole is still far inferior to Windows or OSX. Because of that, I’m still using Windows 7 as my primary operating system. Because the tools I like are not, nor ever will be supported by Ubuntu or Linux as a whole. Take Picasa for the latest example. Google could have very well created a native port of Picasa for Linux. But pulled it , probably because of lack of a worthwhile market for Linux in the photography world. And Picasa has way more functionality vs Shotwell for the amateur photgrapher. Sad very sad, but that’s reality. A great operating system, like Ubuntu 12.04. But still lacking much needed commercial application support. And for now Adobe is not interested in Linux one bit. Or does Corel plan on porting Painshop Pro to Linux. Both those companies have way better supported software and have way more learning tools and resources. Ubuntu or OpenSuse need to go beyong marketing to computer enthusiast applications. Or “good enough” applications. They need to target photography enthusiasts, video enthusiaists, etcc. And unfortunately they are not. They need a Ballmer jumping up and down calling for “Developers, Developers , Developers , etcc. We all may laugh at Windows 8, but more likely than not, it will have way more application support than Ubuntu or any Linux distro ever will. With OSX coming in second. And were talking top level applications. But instead of putting Ubuntu 12.04 on 20, 000 PC’s in 2012. He needs to put it on a half a million PC’s in 2012 to get allot of commercial attention. And I highly doubt that will happen. Ubuntu will be successful for computer enthusiast markets. But that will be about it. As for me I still like tinkering with Linux, and will always have it as a backup operating system.

  27. closerToZero says:

    “I am angry, young and lack life experiences. Please let me attack you personally because your view of a piece of software is different than my view of a piece of software.” [Synopsis by Bryan]

  28. Leslie Satenstein says:

    The UBUNTU 12.04 is a very very nice desktop implementation. I also tried Fedora 17 beta, which is rock solid too, and here is who is the winner.

    There is no winner.

    Both distributions are excellent, both have great features, both will be well supported. Fedora 17 does offer a xfce or kde disktop as well as some others. Ubuntu puts the windows buttons on the top left, Fedora has them on the top right.

    I have been using Fedora for a few years before Ubuntu came on the scene. Therefore I have a slight preference for Fedora. Nevertheless, today there is no winner if one has to chose a desktop Linux between Ubuntu, or Fedora.

    All I want for my needs is good support when I do some coding with the QT application. Programmers use the desktop differently from Email / Web / Gamers etc. The xfce graphical interface or compiz interface is better for developers than is Unity or Gnome 3.x

    There are other distributions that are also of the superb class, and worthy of note: Linux Mint and Scientific Linux 6.2 are ones that I have installed for at least two weeks each. Each is rock solid and each has their own following.

    Gee Linux is beginning to look like the American Car industry. Not everyone drives the same model.

  29. mpt says:

    “In the paid software section there are no categories. Making it a bit cumbersome to find new apps to buy. This isn’t a problem in the non-paid areas.”

    That is not correct. There are no “non-paid areas” — paid applications are shown in the same categories as free ones. (For example, the “Games” category shows several paid applications in the “Top Rated” area and in the “Puzzles” subcategory.)

  30. 1roxtar says:

    I am glad that 12.04 is just around the corner. I believe that this really is the best release yet. And with the 5 year LTS support, I can now kick my home-based computer shop into high gear. I am an avid supporter in my area and have installed Ubuntu on many customer’s computers. To this day, I have never had anyone ask me to switch them back to Windows. Canonical has added all the little tweaks I have wanted with Unity since 11.04 and I am happy.

  31. codepunk says:

    Continously locks up and/or crashes on my Samsung Slate 700T1A tablet. I think it’s generally due to the touch screen, but I’ve seen it lock up and/or crash while using a wireless mouse. May be ready for tablets, but not mine.

  32. Dean S says:

    It’s the drivers, stupid!!

    Linux won’t be an acceptable desktop OS until there are good, stable drivers available for modern hardware.

    I tried to run a 64-bit Linux distro as my host OS on my Dell M4400 (NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M) laptop. I had to install the 64-bit driver that NVIDIA provides in order to use an external monitor, which is essential. The NVIDIA driver kept hanging the system, and after yet another uninstall / reinstall my system wouldn’t boot.

    I had no choice but to go back to Windows 7 pro 64-bit and use Linux as my guest OS in VirtualBox. Linux works just fine as a guest OS.

    No matter merits Unity might have it is worthless without good 64-bit drivers.

  33. Rum says:

    Unity sucks. You evaluate it as a desktop but talk about how great a desktop it is. Its not a good desktop. As a tablet UI, its fine.

  34. Jes Christian Børlum says:

    Been raiding the Mint train for the last two year or so, I have a real big soft spot for Ubuntu and I’m migrating back “home” :-)

  35. madhi19 says:

    I love the lens idea but the execution is a bit weak. The best way for the lens concept to take off is if they are in the software center. As of now if you want more lenses you got to add new ppa for each or write one yourself.

  36. anonymous says:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    georgezilla,
    …You sound Australian. Are you Australian?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Mark says:
    I have used 12.4 beta for a couple of weeks now extensively. It’s responsive, Unity grows on you, and it turns out the HUD is really useful… who knew?!
    This is now by go-to distribution. I think Canonical are a class act – this LTS is superb, the best Ubuntu yet.
    Can’t believe what some people whinge about! Just get over it, and either try this or go back to your own favoured distribution (or OSX, or Windows).”

    I disagree, these performance problems are surfacing all over the place and only a few computers are working superb. Even on my Intel Quad Core Supercomputer, clicking on these big buttons takes x4+ more time to open than even Windows 7 and I hate Windows. When I first tried ubuntu, I hated the slowness but I loved the Unity bar on the left side of the screen that’s why my Windows 7 Superbar has been on the left side for over two years now. That shows how much I like the idea.
    Please give me the model numbers of your computer that is working so great with Linux, I will probably just buy the same computer as yours to avoid all those problems.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “1roxtar
    Canonical has added all the little tweaks I have wanted with Unity since 11.04 and I am happy.”

    Please give a few examples.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Bruno Girin says:
    @anonymous: I’ve been using 12.04 since alpha, both on an old laptop and a new one. The installer defaulted to Unity 2D automatically on the old one as it worked out that it wasn’t hardware accelerated. Both machines are extremely stable and run very fast.
    Similarly, when I installed a VM in Virtual Box, it defaulted to Unity 2D too and as a result, I have no issue running in a VM either.
    I’m not sure what your problems are but they may be hardware specific so if you do have issues, file bugs in Launchpad.

    First, slowness is not always recognized as a bug. Next, out of the last 18 bug reports I’ve filed almost all of them came back to me as a duplicate bug report. The rest have been pending for months and some a year now. My VB did not default to 2D. I am going to try 2D with ubuntu 12.04 right now since my Asrock x58 Supercomputer is considered old hardware with an i7 920 Quad core CPU O/C 4.214GHz, 24GB of RAM O/C 2,000MHz, on a 256GB Intel SSD with an nVidia 275 GPU.

    Results:
    …Wow, surprisingly it is faster, but still unacceptably slow. What a shock.

    Give me your model numbers, you must have a freak machine where all the drivers are intensely or accidentally super tweaked and fine-tuned.

  37. Colin says:

    I’ll install 12.04, then the very first thing I’ll do: sudo apt-get install gnome-panel….. log out, log back in to gnome calssic. Done. sanity

  38. ola johansson says:

    @colin , this review is a showcase of unity , what are you doing here ?

  39. ola johansson says:

    @the rest of you who complain over and over about unity :what are you doing here then ? there is just one distro from hundreds to choose from that use unity , and linux is about freedom and u a complaining about a free gui that some people spend hours and hours to develop , its always a mather of choice ;)

  40. Jo-Erlend Schinstad says:

    Ubuntu 12.04 is far and away the best operating system I’ve ever used. The efficiency is unmatched. There’s nothing even close. I really love the way multi-screen has worked out, too. There’s more to do, but it’s very comfortable as it is. Sure, there’s still a large number of people who are completely dependent on some program that isn’t available. But people said that about Apple too.

    But the things people don’t see is probably what I’m most enthusiastic about. The architecture of Unity is quite simply beautiful. Zeitgeist. Then there is the total and absolute awesomeness of GObject Introspection. Then there’s BtrFS, which just can’t be described in a comment. That list could go on for a while.

    Though these are things people don’t see, because they don’t have a reason to, they’re really important. There’s no doubt we’ll see an explosion of new and high quality software and as the new infrastructure becomes better utilized, we’ll see something entirely different. And as a developer, there can be no doubt which is the most comfortable environment.

    When 12.04 is released, that’s not the end of its development. That’s the beginning. This version really feels like a platform. I actually think it has the potential to redefine how people see the web and the internet in conjunction with desktops and native apps.

    I wish I’d counted all the “wow”s I’ve heard while presenting it to people – normal non-linux-user people.

  41. Telchar16y says:

    I am not sure what all the performance gripes are about. I haven’t had any trouble running Precise on any of my hardware. This includes two net books, one outdated with half a gig of ram and a 1 ghz processor. The only thing that annoys the crap out of me is that the HUD takes a solid second to appear after pressing the alt key. Fortunately the dash comes up right away. Lots of fit and polish in this release. I still want overlay scroll bars on Chromium and Firefox though.

  42. Biju says:

    This is no match for windows 8 though… that thing boots in 5 seconds on my computer.

  43. Aerospike says:

    I guess boot time is pretty important if your job is booting computers, Biju.

    Anyhow, I recently installed an earlier version of Ubuntu. First experiences with Unity were a little frustrating, but eventually got it and it’s not bad at all. My only complaint is that I still like my launchpad or dock or whatever on the bottom of the screen. But I can live with it, and after a few weeks it’ll be just fine. Otherwise all is well, I use Amateur radio apps as well as the usual Office programs.

    I’m installing 12.04 as I write this, looking forward to the experience. Just hoping the software center is improved, In my previous version, it was a PITA, and I went back to Synaptic.

  44. Daniel says:

    Sorry, but I will stay with my beloved 10.10 … Just tryied 12.04, and the visual capabilities aren’t near 10.10… Just try to move windows between workspaces (unity and fallback) and you will see… Try to use CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-cursor to move windows… and you will see… I guess that is a compiz issue, but if you use some else software as foundation for yours… be sure that that software works ok no? (Bugs already created). The only problem with my 10.10 (slow wireless – Inter 3945ABG) stays the same with 12.04… Really disapointed.

  45. Stephen Hardy says:

    xubuntu with docky = XP+OSX, thank you very much! I loved kde until version 3, then gnome until you guessed it, version 3 and now ubuntu unity is DOA on a laptop or desktop IMO. Sure its nice on a netbook, or better yet a touchpad but they arent real work computers, just media toys… The OS only needs to be ok for these, just look at Andriod 3/4, its nothing special but it works – why do i need UNITY?

  46. Zactu says:

    Liking Ubuntu12.04 very much, a bit slow though on my bottom-of-the-line-6yr-Dell, but entirely usable. Unity? Like it too, and like where it’s going. Remember it’s still a work in progress, they don’t have tens of thousands of coders like Microsoft do.
    A very good release indeed!

    BTW, I also love the Ubuntu font, very clear and readable now default on my web pages too. :)

  47. Kanhiya says:

    I am having big problem with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, i was expecting a stable release and things should always work if they are working in previous releases.

    My wifi was working well in earlier versions but in this version, it takes ages to connect and slow.

    I am having issues with bluetooth since 11.04 and it has not been resolved.

    My USB Modem, MMX 352G was working well in 11.04 and in 10.04 LTS with Sakis 3g , Script. In this version , even script in not working.

    After updates, i got some weird errors , while adding repos.

    Not able to add some software without repo.

    Skype is not availble, in software centre, by default.

    After every restart, i got a message that system problem detected.

    SO, for me , on my intel hardware, Broadcom 4313 wifi, things are not working in right direction.

    I also need to use some Windows program, i was planning to switch entirely but instead of wasting time here on 12.04 LTS, i will try Windows 8.

    Now, I found Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, useless for me.

    May be after 1 or 2 year, i will come back and see what updates have been provided, whether ubuntu got some thing or just looks.

    I believe that things that is working well, should not be altered. Updates should be done in terms of security and reliablilty.

    Kanhiya Deswal

  48. mcheema says:

    Really like this distro and like unity but i guess i am in the minority. Have replaced all but one of my Windows 7 computers with Ubuntu.
    MC

  49. JL says:

    Ubuntu 12.04 is the only OS on all my computers.

  50. DittoHead says:

    Having been an Ubuntu user since version 6.06 I had great expectations of 12.04 and I am not disappointed. I will say however that Unity will NEVER be used as my UI of choice. I am using Gnome Shell with Cairo Dock and all is well in my world. That my friends is freedom…..just take a look at the Windows 8 UI and be proud that you have (and will continue to have) choices.

  51. Steven says:

    If there were two ubuntu releases, one release for people who use their computer for… useful things, and one for stupid people… ubuntu 12.04 would be the one for the stupid people. Every single tool I needed to get my computer up and running was absent from this release. Not to mention the obviously un-customizable approach to the UI… blasphemy to what I though ubuntu was all about….

  52. Bill says:

    Steven and Stephen Hardy have said it all. This is a toy. I have an iPad. I use it when I have to because the OS is a PITA! I don’t want my desktop computer to work like an iPad. I want my desktop to work like a real computer. Unfortunately, there is very little choice anymore. Windows 8, OS X Lion, Gnome 3, Unity are all turning computers into toys. I’m sure they’re great for updating your Facebook status. For doing real work, this is a joke!

  53. frank says:

    Unfortunately I cannot confirm the statements. For an LTS-revision it’s surprisingly buggy and unfinished. On my Samsung Ultra5-Series I struggle with the following issues:

    – battery indicator doesn’t recognize plugging in or removing the cabel
    – lid close = suspend doesn’t work
    – bluetooth is switched on after suspend
    – upper panel crashes whenever I update/create an appointement in evolution
    – flash fullscreen mode doesn’t work with special compiz settings
    – and generally it appears slower and slower after a while (it runs on a SSD)
    – the shipped gnome-shell seems to have even more buggy and therefore I can’t use

    I really think of giving Fedora a try.

  54. ElectricPrism says:

    I was overall disappointed with the driver support in 12.04 for my 3 monitor setup.

    Linux is a love hate relationship – love features like Copying being separate tasks, Tabbed File Managers, Software Center – hate having to drop to TTY1 to install new NVidia drivers because the current version is buggy and broken.

    I wrote an extensive review also located here if anyone’s interested:
    http://community.xianlabs.com/topic/9825-ubuntu-1204-lts-review/

    I really agree with what you say in your Linux World 2012 video about Linux needing to honestly evaluate itself.

  55. Mike S.. says:

    I’ve been using Ubuntu since 2007 but went off with with version 11.04. Messed about with it again at 11.10 but soon dropped it again.

    Then went to Linux Mint 11 & 12 while all the time having a Windows 7 machine.

    I then decided to give it one last go with 12.04 and I’ve been very impressed. Easy to install alongside Win7, fast to install and get running on it. The performance is lightening fast and I’m running the OSX Lion theme + additional fonts and with Conky; looks amazing!

    Then a few days later I upgraded one of my laptops and did a fresh install of Windows 7. What a pain. What a pain.

    I didn’t realize how damned useful the software center is compared to Windows. With Windows you have to hunt around for free tweaks and tools, but with Ubuntu, they’re all there in Software center and/or Synaptic package manager.

    I’m now hooked back on Ubuntu.

  56. telchar says:

    Great review. Been using Ubuntu and Debian for 5 years and this is my favorite release since 10.10. I have installed it on many computers with no problems. Runs beautifully even on netbooks.

  57. EC Belikov says:

    I’m just starting to get into Linux with Ubuntu 12.04. Installed it on my Laptop alongside Win7. I really like the style but I’m having problems with it.

    It’s running sluggishly and I can’t get it to update Flash, nor can I get Scrivener installed (tried deb and tar.gz).

    I’m sure I’m just doing something wrong with the installs (what I don’t know, I’ve followed several different guides), but can’t figure out why it would run so much slower than Win7…

  58. Mike says:

    Great review! I got a new laptop 2 days ago and I’m downloading Ubuntu today!

  59. Ray U.K. says:

    I am very disappointed with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    I have tried it on two Desktops, both Pentium D 3.0ghz,
    one 2GB Ram, other 1.5GB Ram.

    In both cases 12.04 LTS was Slow, Unresponsive, and Totally Unable to Multi task. Simple tasks like Moving a File from a USB Pen take 100% of resources. More than three tabs in Chromium Browser = Desktop Seizure.

    I have also tried Ubuntu 11.10 on two lower spec laptops, one a Pentium 4, the other Core 2 duo, both 1GB Ram,had similar experiences to above.

    Ubuntu is not for me or friends that have tried it, we have found Ubuntu to be fairly User friendly, but always painfully slow compared to XP or even Vista.

    I am going to uninstall and go back to XP on laptops and Vista Premium on Desktops, even Vista is faster and can Multi Task.

    What a shame Ubuntu, you have spoilt my Linux experiment, Its Windows 7 for me soon.

  60. David says:

    I have tried several Linux distros. Ubuntu 12.04, Mint 13, Fedora 14, Zorin OS 6, and so far I have been fairly impressed for a number of reasons.
    For all who want to know. I am running an Acer 7551g. Everything works out of the box. Wireless, Ethernet, Touchpad, everything. The only thing that I had to install was the ATI drivers. That was easy in Additional Drivers.
    Ubuntu 12.04 was a little sluggish in boot, but I blame that on what it is. My Hard drive is 5400rpm. Its going to be slow.
    But where I am impressed is.
    1) It booted faster than Win 7.
    2) It used less ram than Win 7. ( I am a multi tasker. I make my PC’s cry. My win 7 will go up to using 3.5gb out of 4gb of ram. Ubuntu got up to 1.5 at its highest.
    3) I use both Windows and Linux. I use Windows for gaming. I use Linux to fix other computers. (Conveniently from a External)

    I am the guy most people call when things go wrong with their windows XP machines. I have done this for a short time (6 years or so) I love both Windows and Linux, BUT I use the tools for what they excel at. If your not an idiot, you use a hammer for pounding and pulling nails and a screw driver for screwing screws.

    Find what makes you comfortable. Unity, its ok. I am indifferent, it has its use for people that use it. I like what ever allows me to get my work done.

  61. realbezo says:

    Hi, i even don’t want to talk about Unity, it is a disrespectful desktop environment, it is not customizable, not useful etc.
    That’s why i have chosen xfce as a desktop environment and installed official Xubuntu 12.04 LTS but after 5 months, after so many updates, it is still instable. By the way it is supposed to be a lightweight DE but it is not. The chromium browser uses 1.3 GB ram with 10 tabs open and it crashes occasionaly.
    Sometimes xubuntu behaves like Windows, it freezes and i cannot even determine what causes this freeze because i have to reboot my computer with force shutdown…
    Summary is, the last (x)ubuntu 12 lts release is totally dissatisfying, i think i have to choose another distro for stability and usefulness…

  62. Tim says:

    Thanks for the positive spin. Makes me feel somewhat better about installing 12.04. So far, I wish I had stuck with 10: much faster.

  63. Alyx says:

    Ubuntu lost me when it lost Gnome, but I tried 12.04 anyways and I am still not impressed. Little to customize in the Unity shell and feels restrictive, has a use it one way and that way only feeling to it.

  64. jParnell8839 says:

    ok… Ubuntu 12.04/12.10 is awesome. its the first distro that has made me SERIOUSLY dropping my windows partition and just running a VM for the very few apps that I need that wine cries about.

    I’ll give it this: it is much faster than the other distros. but on my HP Omni All In One desktop, certain applications lock up ever so often (with the tell tale sign being the entire app window darkens and stops responding). I have noticed, however, that with increased use, this happens less frequently. dont know why, it makes no sense, but like i said, primarily a windows user and am considering moving over completely.

    Now, something about your review I absolutely 100% disagree with. Tablet use. Windows 8 did it perfect for x64 based tablets. Touch interface is refined, smooth, and extremely responsive. and the Win 8 touch keyboard is incredible. Ubuntu leaves much to be desired, including cursor interaction with touch (I still dont know how to right click), responsiveness/smoothness, and the horrible OnBoard. if you try to resize the keyboard with your finger on a touch device, it will get stuck in resize mode and there’s nothing you can do to get it unstuck without plugging in a mouse and exiting OnBoard.

    long story short, as a desktop machine Ubuntu 12 is incredible. I’m still amazed that some windows native apps run better in Ubuntu with Wine than in Windows. as a mobile tablet-centric rigg… well… lets just hope Android-x86 can make it right

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