After a few months of alpha testing, Canonical has released the first beta version of Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. The full version of the operating system is due in April.

Head-Up Display

The biggest difference between Alpha 2 and Beta 1 is the additionof the new Head-Up Display, or HUD system. This is Canonical’s attempt to re-invent computer menus by replacing the old fashioned “File, Edit, View,” and other menus from the toolbar and replacing them with a search box that pops up when you need it and lets you find exactly what you’re looking for by typing a few letters.

It’s an ambitious project that may or may not pan out — in some cases, I can imagine it taking longer to complete tasks using HUD than the old-fashioned menu. But Canonical wants to make HUD smart enough to guess what you’re looking for even if you don’t enter exactly the right command.

Ubuntu 12.04 beta also adds support for multi-monitor setups to the Unity desktop environment.

You can find more changes (and screenshots) at webupd8 or just download the beta for yourself from Ubuntu.com.

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4 replies on “Ubuntu 12.04 hits beta”

  1. This HUD feature is great as it will have the Menu options & also HUD. 

    Presently Ubuntu very cleverly shares space between the title of the window & offers the menu options when you reach out for it on a need basis. This not only optimizes space but also organizes your screen like a pretty efficient friend. HUD will supplement this by adding functionality & letting the user choose what he prefer for each task. Best of both worlds!

  2. I am telling folks to avoid Ubuntu and Kubuntu (due to unfinished nature of both) and instead install Lubuntu (much easier, quicker, to use).   If you just need to run your apps and don’t want a desktop GUI to get in the way, then Lubuntu is your answer.

    Or – Ubuntu family still has problems with getting LibreOffice to work correctlys per this comment string- see:
    https://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=20120303083810704&title=What%20can%20go%20wrong%3F%20Hitting%20the%3A%20%93update-manager%20-d%94%20to%20PrecisePangolin%20&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=957621#c957675

  3. While Ubuntu 12.04 will be a LTS release—supported until 2017—RedHat/CentOS have extended the support lifecycle for their products: RedHat/CentOS 5 is now supported until 2017 and RH/CentOS 6 is supported until late 2020.

  4. “Canonical wants to make HUD smart enough to guess what you’re looking for even if you don’t enter exactly the right command.”
    gosh that’s the blague of the millenium … letting me laugh or another 1000 it-years

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