Thursday, February 14, 2013

A peek at Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail

If we were still on the old Ubuntu development cycle, Ubuntu 13.04 Beta 1 would be just a month away. We'd currently have a Alpha 2 ISO to play with. The release schedule still does list these milestones.

The difference this time is there's not official milestone releases for testers. Want to test out Ubuntu's development release? Just download the latest daily image. Most testers already do that anyway.

Keeping the ISO up-to-date isn't hard either. No need to download a full ISO image everyday. Using zsync, you can simply download what you need.

Installing zsync is simple:

~$ sudo apt-get install zsync

Downloading the latest ISO image is just as simple:

~$ zsync http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/raring-desktop-i386.iso.zsync
~$ zsync http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/raring-desktop-amd64.iso.zsync

There's no necessity to download both 32-bit and 64-bit images. Just get the one most suitable to your needs. To update the ISO image, simply run the same command again. Delete the file marked "old" to save space.

If you want to test Ubuntu in a virtual environment, then TestDrive is a good alternative. You can download and manage Ubuntu disc images from inside the app itself.

The Ubuntu 13.04 desktop

The Ubuntu desktop remains more or less the same. Unity is still the default desktop shell. Some icons got a refresh but nothing obvious has changed. Even the installer artwork hasn't been updated yet as you can see below.

Ubiquity still welcoming you to Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal
Firefox on Ubuntu 13.04 is currently version 19, a step ahead of Ubuntu 12.10 which is still on Firefox 18.

LibreOffice 4.0 didn't make it into Raring Ringtail
LibreOffice remains 3.6.2.2 although LibreOffice 4.0 is now available. Since it's near the end of the development cycle, I expect we won't be getting an update this round.

With kernel freeze coming up kernel 3.8 will most likely be the kernel for Ubuntu 13.04. It's pretty rare to see Ubuntu using a development kernel these days.

With a rolling release under consideration, this will hopefully be one of those things that can be overcome in the near future. With Debian import freeze in effect, software packages should be more or less fixed to whatever versions they're at right now.