Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pass on upgrade to Quantal Quetzal 12.10

I've been following the development of Quantal Quetzal in passive mode. I need the development release to maintain the Wubi move and resize scripts, so I don't have much choice in the matter, but I haven't been as involved this time around.

The most striking difference between development on Quantal and that on Precise Pangolin 12.04 has been the quality drop-off. Precise was remarkably stable throughout the development cycle, whereas 12.10 has had some rough patches, making it barely usable at times. Most recently I've found the zombie application window problem - which is when I've closed some applications but they still appear to be active - almost like an overlay on the desktop. In fact, moving to separate workspaces shows these zombie windows and even the launcher has the active window indicator. Now normally this isn't too big a deal - in development we expect some weird stuff - but it's very close to release, and what's more, this is a recent 'development' (as it were). So that doesn't bode well.

So what's really new with Quantal? What new benefits are there?
I'm having a bit of a problem figuring this one out.

  • During development they renamed "Shut down..." to "Switch off..." on the system menu (but not the Shut down dialog pop up). Then they renamed it back to "Shut down..." a few weeks ago. 
  • They've added the "Restart..." option back to the System menu that was removed in 12.04.
  • They've combined the User and System menu into one
  • The i386 non-PAE kernel has been removed so the PAE kernel becomes default on 32-bit installs
  • They've added Amazon online search results to the main Unity search lens that ironically seems to return adult-themed toys for innocent search strings dynamically as you type. Because as everyone knows, sometimes you just randomly decide to buy things online when you're searching for documents on your computer.
  • They changed some icons on the mail envelope a lot and then removed them
  • There's no more live CD since the ISO is too big to fit on a CD. So you'll need a DVD or USB.
  • There's no more alternate CD because support and testing two images takes too much time and they figure that the text installer is not needed anymore - and for those that do they can use the netboot ISO.
  • There's a new version of Grub that supports UEFI secure boot (I believe this is on 12.04 as well)
  • For Wubi, you won't be able to install Xubuntu anymore, but they have finally fixed the links for Kubuntu so that will be available and working.
Okay that was a list of nothing. What are the benefits?

Well, I really like the new blue sky wallpaper. And there are obviously lots of other little changes that may be important to users, like updates to more recent versions of some applications.

Upgrade Recommendation
I'd say pass on the upgrade unless there's something specific that you need. But bear in mind that if you decide to upgrade to 13.04 later, you'll still need to upgrade to 12.10 along the way.
Remember that there will be some new bugs introduced with the mainly cosmetic changes, added to the unfixed bugs from 12.04.
If you do decide to upgrade please make sure you have at least 3 GB free space - see here for more upgrade tips.

Wubi default
For new Wubi users, you'll be installing 12.10 by default from here. Get the wubi.exe for 12.04 from here instead if you prefer.

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