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.
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
Simplified Details Panel in Software Updater
Upstart User Sessions
Friends (replaces Gwibber)
Linux kernel 3.8.8
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.
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.
for all details, see: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/4.0
- 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
- 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
- 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 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
- 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).
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 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:
- Uncomment “ubuntu” in file /etc/upstart-xsessions.
- Logout of any desktop sessions.
- Login to the default Unity session.
To disable, simply comment out “ubuntu“, logout and log back in again.
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: