Canonical launched Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" on Thursday, the latest version of its popular Linux-based operating system for the desktop. It's a prelude to Ubuntu's release on a wide range of mobile form factors, the company said, bringing to the plate a number of performance and quality improvements.
According to the company, Ubuntu 13.04 is the fastest and visually most polished release to date thanks to a focus on performance for lightweight systems. That means significantly faster response times in casual use, and a reduced memory footprint that benefits all users.
"This release also illustrates Ubuntu’s ongoing commitment to quality and dependability," said Canonical CEO Jane Silber. "Our kaizen approach to development as well as community engagement result in a high quality alternative for people worldwide. This release, our 17th on a regular cadence, meets the needs of enterprises, organizations, governments and communities looking for a secure and intuitive computing experience."
ZDNet's review reports that 13.04 has a more finely tuned and polished Unity shell, and incremental improvements in the Linux kernel and the major preinstalled apps. However there are no new features, and a few have actually been removed including the ability to install the GNOME classic shell, and the Windows-based Ubuntu Installer (WUBI).
The Register points out that a number of promised features for this release has been pushed back to 13.10 including Smart Scopes and the "fine-grained" improvements to Ubuntu's privacy settings. The Ubuntu One Music Store has also been removed from Rhythmbox in favor of a web-based store that is linked to a shortcut on the sidebar.
Also included in Thursday's launch is Canonical's next generation display server, MIR, for developer testing and contribution. It will enable the seamless convergence of Ubuntu across phone, tablet and PCs in the next set of releases. The Developer Preview SDK will also be provided so that developers can get started on building native apps for Ubuntu-based devices.
"Using this SDK, developers can make a single application for all Ubuntu form factors and publish it in the Ubuntu Software Centre with a single upload," the company said. "Developers have already started to create applications for Ubuntu across different devices."