Over the weekend I installed the latest version of Ubuntu Linux. The new incarnation, version 12.04 , is also called Precise Pangolin. This installation was performed on my main work computer. It took a good few hours to download the upgrade files, around 4 hours if I remember correctly. You may want to start upgrading before you quite for the evening. The final part of the upgrade was a little strange, getting the screen drivers enabled was difficult. However after a few reboots everything settled down.
Before I mention the HUD feature, I just want to say something about the Unity Interface. There is now a way to change the look of the Unity panel within system settings. On the ‘Appearance’ panel, you can change the size of the icons. It’s great you can make them much smaller if you have a small screen. On the ‘behaviour’ tab, you can change the way it appears. This small update makes Unity just that bit nicer, I really did not think to much of it when it first appeared.
On to the HUD or ‘Head Up Display’…
The new HUD gives you a fast alternative to the traditional, menu-based way of telling your computer what to do. Instead of clicking on menu items to give it instructions, you just press one key to bring up the HUD and start typing what you want to do. You’ll then get a list of functions, without ever needing to know in which menu they live.
(Details of the HUD and other new features can be found on the Ubuntu website.)
The idea of the HUD is like going back to the early days, a command line (press ‘ALT’ to activate). However, this time it is ‘program aware’ so the commands you type are relative to the application you are running. I haven’t used it yet and I’m really not sure that I will. Will it really speed things up or just make things more complicated?
So far, everything is working just fine. Switching between programs is fast, despite having 20 or so tabs open in Chrome and Groveshark playing in one of them, Evolution email running, Liferea RSS reader running and a few other apps such as Skype and Dropbox. That might not seem a lot but Chrome and Firefox, in my own experience, can eat up memory while they are running. Ubuntu 12.04 seems to be keeping things under control but I shall see how it goes in the next 7 days.
I am also very happy to see Skype behaving better too. No messing around to get the icon to appear. On screen animations for windows as supplied by Compiz etc also runs fast. It does help I have a decent computer I guess!
You should always use the best tool for the job and use the operating system that supports that job. In my case, blogging, surfing, writing and some basic graphic editing, works perfectly under Ubuntu. The latest version is swift, responsive and still free. I’m sure that I couldn’t go back to Windows…