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07 November 2011, 12:49

Ubuntu 12.04 to outgrow CD-ROMs

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Ubuntu logo The Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) is where decisions on what features will and will not make it into the next release of Ubuntu, in this case, version 12.04, code-named "Precise Pangolin". Although many things were discussed, some issues are left open for further research.

One decision that was confirmed is that 12.04 will now target a 750 MB ISO image, a change that will mean Ubuntu will no longer fit on a CD, and either DVD media or USB drives will need to be used to install it. The decision will reduce the pressure on the developers when it comes to packaging Ubuntu, but only slightly; it is an increase of only 50 MB.

Another decision that was made is the switch to 64-bit images. The arrival of multiarch support means that 64-bit Ubuntu can run with 32-bit applications and libraries; the lack of this ability had kept the 64-bit version from being default. With 12.04, when a user goes to download Ubuntu, they will first be offered the 64-bit version – the 32-bit version can still be downloaded if needed.

The situation for the default applications in less clear. The recently added Banshee media player is penciled in for removal to be replaced by Rhythmbox, the application it previously replaced. The issue for Banshee is that is uses GTK2 and the port to GTK3 is blocked due to missing features. The decision is not yet final though as the impact on Unity integration has not been established. Banshee's removal would leave only Tomboy and Gbrainy as Mono-based applications and the removal of them, and Mono, was discussed but a final decision was not made. GNOME 3.4 is being released just a month before the release of Ubuntu 12.04, so the decision has been made to stick with GNOME 3.2 for the release but use GTK3.4 and some GNOME 3.4 components such as gedit and the GNOME Games.

A target was set for improvements in the Ubuntu Software Centre, to reduce it's startup time from 11 seconds to below 2 seconds, and to add a checkbox to automatically add new applications to the Unity launcher. As expected though, no major changes were announced for Ubuntu 12.04 as it will be a Long Term Support (LTS) release, and the focus is on polishing and stabilising as much of the system as possible. Information about the discussions on the desktop can be found in the Desktop track schedule.

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