Canonical has just released the first beta of Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin," and will follow up with beta 2 next month and the final release possibly within the next eight weeks. Ubuntu 12.04 Beta 1 is a long-term support release (LTS) that introduces a new set of images for the ARMv7 "hard float" ABI, denoted as armhf, among other new features.
"12.04 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution," the Ubuntu team reports in a blog. "The team has been hard at work throughout this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs."
Some of the listed changes in Ubuntu include an updated LibreOffice (3.5 beta 2) and a switch to Rhythmbox as the default music player (which includes the UbuntuOne music store). Users also have access to a new HUD which provides a context-sensitive menu and search interface for Unity applications. Actual Unity settings can now be configured by the System Settings panel, and Nautilus support has been added to the Unity launcher.
The new version of Ubuntu also provides enhanced support for ClickPad devices. Now when a button is pressed on the trackpad surface, a second finger may be used to drag the cursor. Canonical's Ubuntu Core has also been updated to include ARM hard float (armhf) images. Developers can use Ubuntu Core as the basis for their application demonstrations, constrained environment deployments, device support packages, and other goals.
"The technology that allows GPUs to go into a very low power consumption state when the GPU is idle (RC6) is now enabled by default for Sandy Bridge systems, which should result in considerable power savings when this stage is activated," the blog states.