This week I decided to upgrade to the latest release of Ubuntu, 12.10. I had thought about using 12.04 LTS until the next LTS came out, but I was getting a little tired of random Compiz crashing, and I was just generally curious. Here is my review of some of the differences, experiences, and new things I found in 12.10 that mattered to me.
I started the install on my HP G42-415DX with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 Graphics and 8GB of RAM.
After backing up my home folder, I decided not to upgrade, but to just install fresh by electing to erase my hard drive and start fresh. The install was rather quick over a USB live install of 12.10. Once the install was over it booted, rather quickly I might add, into the login shell. I noticed that I could no longer select 2D when logging in (which I expected).
No restricted drivers, everything worked out of the box hardware wise. I will say that this install was the best ever using Ubuntu.
The default video drivers performed perfect and I haven’t touched them. I did find Unity much slower than 12.04, but it seems to help to remove some of the lenses, but it’s still slower than 12.04. Other than that everything has performed pretty much the same. I did find the video to be much snappier and responsive, less static and flashes too. Dual displays worked great!
Tabs were re-done to appear much nicer and buttons are smaller. The notification area has been made simpler, if there is only one user the user-switcher does not show up. The launcher works crisper and animations seem to be a lot better. In 12.04 I was always frustrated with it’s usability and notifications. In 12.10, when a notification is thrown, it properly pops out the icon so you notice.
Otherwise it’s pretty much the same. Unity has square highlights vs rounded highlights too.
Empathy got a good work-over and I feel it looks a lot better. Online accounts (which Empathy uses) is in the Settings panel. Gwibber does not work at all. The notification applet also always shows you as offline.
The best part is that ALT-TAB does not fold tabs in Chrome. This was really annoying in 12.04 as I had to ALT-TAB through each tab in Chrome.
If you are wondering if 12.10 is worth it, I would suggest it is. The removal of restricted drivers and more “just working” makes it a great release. But, as always, your hardware setup will always change things. I’m glad I upgraded.