Feeds

Ubuntu 13.04 beta touts search privacy - before it hooks in eBay, IMDb etc

Um Bongo boss Shuttleworth offers 'incognito' mode for your desktop PC

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Review Linux distro Ubuntu 13.04, which hit its first beta today, is already showing promise: there are small but very useful usability tweaks planned for Ubuntu's Unity user interface.

Assuming you've managed to get past last year’s privacy fiasco, either by being comfortable with Canonical sending your search queries to Amazon and others or disabling the feature, this latest beta - code-named Raring Ringtail - is shaping up to be a high-water mark for Unity fans.

Privacy settings panel

The Dash on the privacy naughty step - firmly switched off
(Click for slightly bigger)

There's even some good news on the privacy front. In a bug report about the location of the privacy notice in Unity, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said his company plans to "make a very bold, clear way for you to turn on and off network queries across ALL scopes for any given session in the Dash". Shuttleworth likened the feature to the private browsing mode available in web browsers, and went on to say that users will be able to "configure the Home screen, including choice of scopes, and the behavior of individual scopes".

That's good news, though it could end up making the configuration experience slightly overwhelming: Canonical plans to seriously ratchet-up the number of Unity scopes included by default, promising more than 100 scopes by the time 13.04 launches. The plan is to add popular web search tools - think EBay, Yelp, IMDb and so on - directly to the Dash: when a user searches their system and network, the queries will be passed through Canonical's servers and on to these websites which may have something related to offer.

As of this first beta, though, none of these things are actually part of Unity. The privacy panel still offers the same single option to toggle the Amazon search lens, and the bug Shuttleworth commented on is still marked "incomplete" with no one yet assigned to fix it.

So what is in the beta? A lot of little things that add up to a much better Unity experience.

The mouse/trackpad settings window

This looks so sweet - just like a nice game of Limbo, right?
(Click for slightly bigger)

Take the Mouse and Trackpad settings panel for instance. Canonical has added a few new options, but the best part about it is the new integrated testing tool. Want to make sure your third mouse button is registering as a middle mouse click? Just test it right there in the panel. It's a small thing, but add it to the many others in the 13.04 beta and you have a much nicer, more polished overall experience.

Another small, but useful feature is the new Sync Menu applet, which makes it easy to see what Ubuntu One is doing on your system, offering links to recently changed files and quick links to share. The menu is more or less a clone of what Dropbox has long offered on most OSes (including Linux), but open to third-party apps. While one-off downloads, such as torrents and web files, are explicitly outside the Sync Menu scope as defined by Canonical, other third-party apps such as Dropbox or Box.net could use the new sync menu.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.