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Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

April 25, 2013
By

Ubuntu 13.04 has been released, so it’s time to do another review of Canonical’s popular distro. This time around Ubuntu’s code name is “Raring Ringtail.” It appears to be a reference to the ring-tailed cat. I had no idea what a ring-tail cat is, so of course I googled.

Here’s some background on the a ring-tailed cat:

The ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) is a mammal of the raccoon family (thus not actually a cat), native to arid regions of North America. It is also known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat, miner’s cat or “marv cat”, and is also sometimes mistakenly called a “civet cat” (after similar, though unrelated, cat-like omnivores of Asia and Africa). The ringtail is sometimes called a cacomistle, though this term seems to be more often used to refer to Bassariscus sumichrasti.

Ring-tailed Cat

Aaah, now that we all know about ring-tailed cats, let’s get on with the review.

What’s New in Ubuntu 13.04

Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux kernel 3.8.8
Unity 7
Upstart 1.8
LibreOffice 4.0
CUPS 1.6.2
Python 3.3
Simplified Details Panel in Software Updater
Upstart User Sessions
Friends (replaces Gwibber)

Linux kernel 3.8.8

Ubuntu 13.04 includes the 3.8.0-19.29 Ubuntu Linux kernel which was based on the v3.8.8 upstream Linux kernel.

Unity 7

Unity 7 brings a lot of performance improvements, reduced memory consumption and a great number of small UI fixes to bring a better overall shell experience. Those are like being typo-tolerant in the dash when searching for an application, using the mouse scroll wheel on a launcher icon to switch between applications or better available third party devices handling. You will notice as well some new icons themes to continue on lead of bringing design as the central Ubuntu experience.

You will notice that only one workspace is available by default on any new installation. If you want to bring back workspaces, you can find an option in the Appearance panel of System Settings under the Behavior tab. You can as well enable “Show desktop” button on the Launcher.

Upstart 1.8

This release provides a new bridge, the upstart-file-bridge(8) that allows jobs to react to filesystem changes. For example, to have a job start when a particular file is created:

start on file FILE=/var/log/foo.log EVENT=create

Or to start a job when a file matching a glob pattern is deleted:

start on file FILE=/var/app/*.foo EVENT=delete

See upstart-file-bridge(8) and file-event(7) for further details.

Additionally, a new upstart-monitor(8) tool is available that allows event flows to be observed in real-time. This tool can run as a graphical or console application.

LibreOffice 4.0

for all details, see: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/4.0

CORE

  • New Widget layout technique for dialog windows introduced
  • Support for Firefox Personas in LibreOffice
  • Document Management Systems Integration for Alfresco, Nuxeo, SharePoint via libcmis
  • Less Java dependencies: e.g. more Wizards available even in the default install
  • moved completely from Python 2.6 to Python 3.3 internally
  • PDF Import, the Presenter Console, and the Python Scripting Provider are core features now
  • dropping legacy binfilter and a lot of obsolete UNO-API interfaces

WRITER

  • The “Apply Style” combo box in the toolbar now features previews of the styles to choose.
  • Import ink annotations from DOCX and RTF documents
  • Import / export support for native RTF math expressions

CALC

  • Various performance improvements of ODS document import
  • Increased size limit on (uncompressed) ODF documents from 2Gb to 4Gb
  • XML Source dialog to quickly import arbitrary XML content

IMPRESS/DRAW

  • Impress Remote control for controling presentations via Bluetooth/Wifi from a Smartphone
  • Import for MS Publisher files
  • Import for _all_ Visio file formats, even MS Office 2013
  • various PPX import fixes
  • hyperlinks/fields wrapping
  • RTL support for the Presenter Console

BASE

  • Native support (mork driver) for accessing Thunderbird address books

CUPS 1.6.2 and cups-filters 1.0.34

We had already switched to CUPS 1.6.x in Quantal (12.10) but had to apply a huge, awkward Ubuntu-specific patch to avoid regressions. Now we are up to all new standards without needing to do anything Ubuntu-specific.

Most important change here is the way how network printing works. Formerly, a CUPS-specific mechanism was used. The server broadcasted information about the printers it shares and the clients listen to these broadcasts making the printers available on the client side, looking like local print queues for the applications.

Recently, the Printer Working Group (PWG), an association of printer and software industry for developing standards related to digital printing, has created a standard for broadcasting information about shared printers. This standard is broadcasting the information via Bonjour, a protocol also used for many other network services, like shared files systems, screens, music/video servers, …

CUPS has adopted this standard in 1.6.x, but only broadcasts and does not listen to broadcasts of CUPS daemons (or generally print servers using Bonjour) on other machines, letting remote printers not automatically get available locally. CUPS also dropped the old broadcasting protocol without transition period.

To overcome the problems and keeping network printing as easy as before (this is why 10 years ago the distros switched to CUPS) the cups-filters project ofOpenPrinting introduced cups-browsed, an extra daemon which by default listens to Bonjour broadcasts of remote CUPS daemons (of IPP printers coming soon) and automatically creates local print queues pointing to the shared printers making pure CUPS 1.6.x networks working out-of-the-box.

If your network still contains machines running CUPS 1.5.x and older, cups-browsed also has legacy support for the old CUPS broadcasting, browsing (listening), and BrowsePoll. Please see the comments in /etc/cups/cups-browsed.conf, edit the file appropriately, and restart cups-browsed (“sudo restart cups-browsed”) or reboot. When upgrading to Raring, BrowsePoll directives are overtaken from CUPS to cups-browsed automatically.

For everyone developing embedded or mobile systems based on Ubuntu, the CUPS package is split up into more binary packages to get a minimum client-only printing stack, of the packages cups-daemon, libcups2, and cups-browsed, occupying only ~1 MB. This only listens for Bonjour broadcasts (legacy CUPS broadcasts and BrowsePoll optional) of remote CUPS servers and makes the printers available locally. No drivers and filters for locally connected printers are available then.

Another thing to mention which was available before but never told about in release notes: When sharing local printers they are automatically available also for Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch).

Python 3.3

We eventually intend to ship only Python 3 with the Ubuntu desktop image, not Python 2. The Ubuntu 13.04 image continues this process, although we will not be able to convert everything to Python 3 for Ubuntu 13.04 final image.

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.

Automatic Apport crash reporting has been enabled by default again to catch problems early on. It now checks for duplicates on the client side, which will avoid uploading debug data and creating Launchpad bug reports unnecessarily in many cases now.

Software Updater

Software Updater in 13.04 has a simplified details panel that most prominently shows applications and manually-installed packages. Libraries and packages that belong to the base system are collected under a single item.

Upstart User Sessions (technology preview)

This Ubuntu release includes a “tech preview” of Upstart User Sessions, which allow Upstart to supervise a user’s desktop session. This feature is disabled by default for Ubuntu 13.04, but can be manually enabled for testing.

To enable Upstart User Sessions for all users:

  1. Uncomment “ubuntu” in file /etc/upstart-xsessions.
  2. Logout of any desktop sessions.
  3. Login to the default Unity session.

To disable, simply comment out “ubuntu“, logout and log back in again.

Friends

Social networking for 13.04 is now handled by the Friends service, which replaces the backend Gwibber provided in previous Ubuntu releases. There is no transition required, if you have social networking accounts setup in Ubuntu Online Accounts, the Friends service will just work. The Gwibber lens in Unity has been replaced with a Friends lens and works in much the same way. The Gwibber client application is no longer included by default, for similar functionality friends-app can be installed from Software Center.

System Requirements for Ubuntu 13.04

Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

A Pentium 4, 1GHz system is the minimum recommended for a desktop system.

Install Type RAM (minimal) RAM (recommended) Hard Drive
No desktop 64 megabytes 256 megabytes 1 gigabyte
With Desktop 64 megabytes 512 megabytes 5 gigabytes

Ubuntu 13.04 Download

You can download the desktop version of Ubuntu 13.04 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 785 MB.

You can download the various other spins of Ubuntu from these links:

http://cloud-images.ubuntu.com/releases/13.04/release/ (Ubuntu Cloud Server)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/netboot/13.04/ (Ubuntu Netboot)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-core/releases/13.04/release/ (Ubuntu Core)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/edubuntu/releases/13.04/release/ (Edubuntu DVD)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/13.04/release/ (Kubuntu)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/13.04/release/ (Lubuntu)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntustudio/releases/13.04/release/ (Ubuntu Studio)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-gnome/releases/13.04/release/ (Ubuntu-GNOME)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntukylin/releases/13.04/release/ (UbuntuKylin)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/13.04/release/ (Xubuntu)

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

You can get Ubuntu 13.04 in 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

Ubuntu 13.04 Installation

If you’re running Ubuntu 12.10, you might want to check out the upgrade instructions to upgrade to 13.04.

As always, the Ubuntu 13.04 is very easy and fast. You can watch a slideshow while your install completes.

Please note that you have the option to download updates and third party software during the install. I opted to do this as it saved from me from having to do it after my install completed. I recommend that you do the same, it’ll save you time later on.

Ubuntu 13.04 is also a live distro, so you can just click the Try Ubuntu button after booting off the CD or DVD. You can also just take a web based tour of Ubuntu 13.04.

Ubuntu 13.04 Try or Install

Ubuntu 13.04 Try or Install

Ubuntu 13.04 Install Type

Ubuntu 13.04 Install Type

Ubuntu 13.04 Prepare Install

Ubuntu 13.04 Prepare Install

Ubuntu 13.04 Install Slideshow

Ubuntu 13.04 Install Slideshow

Ubuntu 13.04 Login Screen

Ubuntu 13.04 Login Screen

The Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop

This release comes with Unity 7.  Unity 7 contains a number of useful changes and additions including:

Faster Icon Reveal
Dash Error Finding
Scroll Switching
Filesystem Fill
Tooltip Fade
Non-Pixelated Pips
Radio Dot

Please note that in the desktop screenshot below I have changed the default wallpaper to something a little more eye catching. The default wallpaper is a bit more subdued, so don’t freak if you hate the wallpaper I have in the screenshot.

Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop

Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop

Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop Wallpapers

Ubuntu 13.04 Desktop Wallpapers

Ubuntu 13.04 Folders

Ubuntu 13.04 Folders

Ubuntu 13.04 Application Categories

Ubuntu 13.04 Application Categories

Ubuntu 13.04 Search Applications

Ubuntu 13.04 Search Applications

Ubuntu 13.04 Search Videos

Ubuntu 13.04 Search Videos

Ubuntu 13.04 System Settings

Ubuntu 13.04 System Settings

Linux Software Included in Ubuntu 13.04

Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

Games
AisleRiot Solitaire
Mahjongg
Mines
Sudoku

Graphics
Document Viewer
Image Viewer
LibreOffice Draw
Shotwell Photo Manager
Simple Scan

Internet
Desktop Sharing
Empathy IM
Firefox
Remmina Remote Desktop Client
Thunderbird Mail
Transmission BitTorrent Client

Multimedia
Brasero Disc Burner
Rhythmbox Music Player
Videos

Office
LibreOffice (Calc, Draw, Impress and Writer)

Linux Software Management Tools in Ubuntu 13.04

The Ubuntu Software Center remains one of the best software managers around. There are more than 44,000 apps available for you to use on your system. Apps are broken down into categories. You can also see screenshots, user reviews and star ratings.

It’s also very easy to add or remove software. Just find the app you want to install or remove, and click the button.

Be sure to check out the Top Rated apps, it has a terrific list of apps that most desktop users will find useful.

Ubuntu 13.04 Software Center

Ubuntu 13.04 Software Center

Ubuntu 13.04 Star Apps

Ubuntu 13.04 Star Apps

Ubuntu 13.04 Install GIMP

Ubuntu 13.04 Install GIMP

Problems & Headaches Found in Ubuntu 13.04

Ubuntu 13.04 seemed quite polished to me. I didn’t see any noticeable speed or stability problems in this release. Canonical has made tweaks to improve Ubuntu’s speed, and that seems to be noticeable in this release.

You should know that Wubi, the Windows installer, has been removed in Ubuntu 13.04:

Due to various bugs in Wubi that have not been addressed in time for the final release, the Ubuntu team will not be releasing the Wubi installer with 13.04. You can read more about this decision here. Users who wish to try out Ubuntu without repartitioning a Windows system are encouraged to use a live system instead, booted from either a DVD or a USB disk.

I haven’t run Windows in years, so this is a total non-issue for me. But there may be some folks out there who are affected by it.

You should also be aware that the support time for this release has been reduced from 18 months to 9 months.

If you’ve seen any problems with Ubuntu 13.04, please share your experiences in the comments section. It’s always helpful for readers to get a heads up on any potential headaches, before installing a distro.

Where To Get Help for Ubuntu 13.04

If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out the Ubuntu support page, which has links to documentation, an answer system, free community support, and professional support services .

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Ubuntu 13.04

I found Ubuntu 13.04 to be a slightly disappointing upgrade. While there are definitely some enhancements in this release, there’s also nothing very special about it. When I sat down to do this review, I was looking forward to some great stuff from Canonical that might make me want to actually use Ubuntu again.

Alas, there’s nothing in Ubuntu 13.04 that makes me want to consider it for use as my daily distro. Don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing overtly wrong with Ubuntu 13.04 either. It installed and performed very well for me. Unity 7 also has some helpful and attractive updates that Ubuntu users will enjoy, and there are other things in this release that help improve the overall Ubuntu experience.

Frankly, however, Ubuntu has become a rather boring distro to review. Perhaps I’m just jaded though? Or perhaps it has just evolved enough not to require any massive changes or loads of new features? I’m not sure, but I do know that I haven’t looked forward to an update to Ubuntu in a while, unlike Linux Mint and some other distros.

I suspect it is simply because Ubuntu has settled into a comfortable middle age, it works and it works very well for what it does. So there’s not a lot of need for cool, whiz-bang features for reviewers like me to drool over.

My distro jadedness aside, if you’re a current Ubuntu user, then you’ll want to consider upgrading. There’s enough here to increase your enjoyment of Ubuntu on your computer. But if you’re already using another distro, I doubt there’s anything here that will get you to switch to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 13.04 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced users.

What’s your take on Ubuntu 13.04? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux commentary; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Ubuntu 13.04
Web Site:  http://www.ubuntu.com/
Price: Free
Pros: Unity 7; updated software; Linux kernel 3.8.8; LibreOffice 4.0.
Cons: Lacks whiz-bang, new desktop features that might cause users of other distros to switch to Ubuntu.
Rating: 4/5

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26 Responses to Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

  1. TonyVanDam on May 3, 2013 at 9:33 am

    “You should also be aware that the support time for this release has been reduced from 18 months to 9 months.”

    Only 9 months of support?!? No thanks Canonical. I would rather take my chances with Debian Sid-based distros like Siduction or Semplice. At least then I wouldn’t have to wait long at all for new updates. Of course, I can play it safe with Debian Testing-based distros like AntiX or Linux Mint Debian Editon and get updates within weeks.

    In fairness, if I was already a committed Ubuntu user, I would try to hold out for the next LTS release. At least 2 years of support for LTS is a lot better than only 9 months for non-LTS. My professional opinion of course. : )

    • BartWillemsen on October 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Ubuntu users can be put in two camps: Those who want to have the very latest features and versions of software and those who want to have a stable system and long support (companies mostly). Those who fall in the first category probably update as soon as possible anyway, so long support periods aren’t really necessary anyway. :P

      It’s also just simply a way for Canonical to save some money on support.. as you might know, Ubuntu still isn’t quiet profitable yet and Shuttleworth’s big bag of gold isn’t bottomless either..

  2. Lou G on April 30, 2013 at 3:04 am

    I’m using Ubuntu-Gnome 13.04. I like it so far, except Chromium/Chrome doesn’t work well at all.

  3. Afrodiseum on April 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

    So far, I am enjoying Ubuntu 13.04, but I don’t know if removing the multiple desktops was planned, but that’s what happened on both machines I’ve updated. Also, on one machine, I had some specifically configured wallpaper settings. There seems to be an issue for updaters where the wallpaper doesn’t appear, or it cannot be changed in the Appearance module. In my case, the wallpaper I have assigned to LightDM login is carried over to my desktop, along with the grid and the gray Ubuntu logo in the bottom left corner. The regular wallpaper I usually have assigned will not appear and changing the wallpaper in Appearance doesn’t work. Hopefully, this is something that will be resolved soon. I have a rather nifty LCARS setup that I’d like to get back.

  4. maknesiumblog on April 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Hello,

    I wrote a little step-by-step guide with screenshots to illustrate the upgrade process from Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal to 13.04 Raring Ringtail very precisely.
    I hope this screenshot-guide is of use for those looking to upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu. Check the link below:

    http://www.maknesium.de/upgrade-to-ubuntu-13-04-raring-ringtail-in-less-than-20-minutes-without-problems

    I am looking forward to your feedback!

  5. jason on April 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

    you seem alway give ubuntu 4/5 why is that do you just like other disro better so not looking at apple to apple sake the is not Perfect disro but so dame good ones some should be getting 5/5.

  6. simon on April 27, 2013 at 3:41 am

    so where is the fkn review? Am I blind???

    • Jim Lynch on April 27, 2013 at 3:47 am

      Please try a reload, there was a conflict between two plugins. Sorry about that. It’s fixed now.

  7. serhat on April 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    @Brian Masinick: I’ve checked both torrent and md5sum hashes and I am sure I downloaded correctly. I’ve also installed it and didn’t see any hangings at all after installation, looks like only the live mode was buggy. For the people who didn’t notice: try minimizing anything in live mode.

  8. Brian Masinick on April 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    @serhat: a partially bad download will also exhibit the same kind of buggy state that you describe. Before concluding that it is Ubuntu, run a checkpoint on your media or its source, make sure it matches. Considering trying another download before concluding that Ubuntu won’t work on your system. Maybe it won’t, but there is a 50/50 chance that it will.

    Alex Efrain Sarmiento Muñoz: Yes, we deal with many audiences, and that is precisely, even in the Ubuntu ecosystem, why today there are a couple hundred “spins” and derivatives of Ubuntu, starting with the ones that Canonical themselves at least sanction, then the many Mint derivatives, then the scores of distributions based on either Ubuntu, a Ubuntu derivative, Mint, a Mint (and therefore Ubuntu) derivative, and note that Ubuntu itself is a derivative of Debian Linux. Clearly it is the flexibility and choice that matter here; what appeals to one may not appeal to another; some like simplicity of installation and configuration, others like simplicity of the system and infrastructure, which makes installation and configuration appear cumbersome (Arch and Gentoo are good examples of this).

    • asdf on June 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      50/50 = 100%

  9. Massive Brainwash on April 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Each release of Ubuntu just sucks more and more. I get errors while trying to install Wine, Acroread etc. And didn’t noticed any speed improvements in Unity/

  10. arnold taylor on April 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I Love UNITY. Also the fact that it is boring,it is the best Linux distro out. No Ubuntu = no Mint. Linux has matured, distro hopping is now a waste. Hell ,60% of the distros out are spins of Ubuntu. Ubuntu has stablized the Linux eco-system.

    • Jim Lynch on May 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Glad to hear from a Unity fan. Different strokes for different folks and all that. :)

    • Fatriff on September 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      This is nonsense, if No Ubuntu = No Mint then explain the Mint Debian edition and the Mint KDE edition. Mint only makes use of Ubuntus repos as well as several others the same way Ubuntu does Debians repos. No Debian = No Ubuntu = No Hundreds of other distros.

      • solarbay on September 26, 2013 at 12:40 am

        Flawed logic on your part. Try this: No repo=respin

      • solarbay on September 26, 2013 at 12:41 am

        This thread is old. Move on, get a life . You must be an Arch user.

        • Fatriff on September 26, 2013 at 4:59 am

          I’m a Ubuntu user.. You know, that debian based distro.

  11. whileslap on April 26, 2013 at 9:07 am

    People complain about change. When gets very mature and stable , then people complain about no changes . Coo Coo

    • Jim Lynch on May 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      We always want what we don’t have. Heh. ;)

  12. Sanjay Prasad on April 26, 2013 at 4:49 am

    why you froget ubuntu also launche Ubuntu gnome edition also, which will be a killer deal. I also not a big fan of unity.
    openplus.in

  13. serhat on April 26, 2013 at 2:16 am

    I wonder if it is my machine or a general problem but the live mode of ubuntu 13.04 was awfully buggy. The screen hanged most of the time. This didn’t occur in 12.04 live. The new ubuntu looks very good overall but I think it has serious stability problems.

    • Jim Lynch on May 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks for sharing that. I usually just do the install these days, unless it automatically boots into a live environment.

  14. kenneth on April 26, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Very good ,straightforward review. I tend to agree that the unity desktop experience is what it is. You either hate it or like it.(Never heard of anyone who LOVES it) Ubuntu 13.04 works well, but IMO nothing special.

    • Jim Lynch on May 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks, glad you found the review useful.

  15. Brian Masinick on April 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    I’m like you on this: nothing particularly “wrong” with Ubuntu, other than the variations of GNOME that I’ve never been that interested in. For me, Xubuntu, also boring as it is, serves me better. Kubuntu is much more interesting, though like Ubuntu, it’s a bit heavy for my aging hardware on my 5 year+ laptops. Lubuntu is light enough, but for my own interests, Debian and antiX can come in just as light, if not a bit lighter, and with the systemd that you can get with them now, they boot faster.

    To each his own, to me, those are my preferred systems.



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