Ubuntu 13.04 arrives with mobile-friendly features

Ubuntu 13.04 will be made available for download tomorrow, with few major tweaks as developer Canonical gears up to shift to its new mobile system.

Click here to read our review of Ubuntu 13.04

Canonical is shifting Ubuntu from a desktop OS to one that will work across smartphones and tablets. The idea is that the same version of Ubuntu will work across all devices, but display in a way that works best for the hardware.

Ubuntu 13.04 is the last standard desktop version; the next will integrate what Canonical currently refers to in-house as Ubuntu Touch, which is the mobile side of the OS.

Canonical CEO Jane Silber told PC Pro that “a lot of the new features come from the strategic drive to have a converged client”.

Ubuntu 13.04 also promises faster response times and a reduced memory footprint, designed to help the system transition to mobile devices.

Silber promised “vast improvements” in memory consumption, power management and boot speed – “all of which are driven primarily from the work in our phone and tablet push, but clearly benefit desktop users as well”.

Tweaks have been made to the menu systems, making it easier to set airplane modes, manage Wi-Fi and shut down, while the Dash navigation system now has fuzzy search for apps.

Shut down in Ubuntu 13.04

The UI changes are subtle, Silber admimtted, but said “collectively they create a substantial change”. She said the aim was to give Ubuntu an “increased polish” and “refinement”, with the “rough edges smoothed out”.

Canonical will also make its MIR display server available to developers, to help them start to work across phones, tablets and laptops. “That’s something that won’t be default in 13.04, but it’s part of the revamp as we move to the converged stack, and we do expect it to be the default in 13.10, in October,” she added.

We’ll have a full review of Ubuntu 13.04 tomorrow

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