Unity has come of age, while the HUD shows how the interface will progress in the future - it's is everything we want from a LTS version
Every 18 months Canonical releases a Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu that will have support for five-years, giving businesses and people that rely on the OS on a daily-basis, the stability and support they rely on. These versions of the OS are primarily designed for speed and stability, but the latest LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 ‘Precise Pangolin’, introduces a raft of new features and interface tweaks.
As with the most recent versions of the OS, Ubuntu 12.04 uses the Unity interface, which has attracted joy and derision in equal quantities. For our part, we’re quite fond of it and every new version sees updates that make it easier to use, ironing out issues that we’ve had in the past.
For Ubuntu 12.04, this is no exception and Unity has had some of the biggest updates and changes since it launched, refining the experience.
A new Dash
The Dash has had a complete overhaul, with the new version cleaner and easier to use than the old one. Opening it (either by clicking the icon in the Launcher or hitting the Windows key on your keyboard) presents you with a list of recently accessed applications, so you can quickly open your favourites. If you’d rather just browse, you can select the icons at the bottom of the Dash window to navigate by Lens, with categories for applications, files and folders, music and videos.
The new Dash is cleaner and easier to navigate than the previous version
Select either the music or videos Lenses and the search mechanism taps into the internet, returning online search results as well as showing you files stored on your local hard disk. The view is neatly split, so you can tell what’s online and what’s stored locally with ease.
We’ve seen the music version before, pulling in results from the Ubuntu One store, but the video section is new. This can search online services to show you clips, movies and TV shows. Click the filter button and you can choose which services you want to search: currently you can select YouTube (Movies, Education and Shows independently), BBC iPlayer, Vimeo and more.
The updated video Lens searches online, as well as local, content