A full 18 months have passed since Ubuntu Linux's controversial Unity interface made its debut, but for many business users, the new Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin” will be their first experience with it. That's because this new version is a Long Term Support (LTS) release--the fourth in Ubuntu's history so far--with support for a full five years on both desktop and server.
Named for the scaly mammal found in tropical regions of Asia and Africa, Precise Pangolin has been anticipated with particularly widespread excitement in part because of that longer life, but also as a result of the myriad improvements and new features it promises to bring. Besides a new kernel, beefed-up security, and a raft of other updates, Ubuntu 12.04 features a newly refined and mature version of the Unity interface it first introduced all those many months ago.
Of course, for those who enjoy checking out the cutting edge, Ubuntu 12.04 brings something brand-new to the table as well in the form of the new Head-Up Display interface, which aims to give users a way to interact with the desktop without having to navigate the menu system. All in all, Precise Pangolin promises solid stability seasoned with a glimpse at the future, representing what Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has said is the first time the free and open source operating system has beaten Windows and MacOS to the proverbial punch.
Want to see more before Thursday's official release? Read on, then, for a taste of what's to come.