Ubuntu 12.04: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade

Ubuntu’s latest release called Precise Pangolin has managed to please its many admirers and silence the naysayers. Unity, the most contentious part of Ubuntu so far has turned out to be a dark horse in Canonical’s race for desktop domination. With new features like the HUD, video lens and more, Ubuntu 12.04 has even had the BBC waxing eloquent about its charm. That said, not everyone is happy with the latest release. There are, as always, some criticisms regarding the lack of a new icon theme and the absence of any major game-changing feature. Of course, the overall outlook towards Ubuntu 12.04 'Precise Pangolin' is positive and there is absolutely no doubt that this is the best release by Canonical so far.

As with every new release, many users are kind of on the fence about upgrading their operating system to the latest version. Fears, doubts, and stability affinity are some roadblocks that a new Linux user faces when he or she hears about the word upgrade. If you too are undecided whether to upgrade or not to, here’s a list of the reasons which will help you pick a side.

Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04

1. You get the latest of all apps: Yes, the latest Firefox, Nautilus, and Thunderbird are enough reasons to make you choose the Pangolin. With the latest kernel, you have faster boot times, better driver support and more. Also, Ubuntu’s Software Center has been upgraded to the latest version making it much faster than its earlier version.

2. Improved Unity: Unity in 11.10 was, to an extent, a half-baked desktop experience. Applications were not integrated properly, nor was the launcher completely done. With Ubuntu 12.04, you’ll find most of the default applications support quick lists, thus making the desktop much more usable.

3. The Video Lens: Whether you want to explore your huge movie collection or want to discover some cool online videos, the Video Lens on the Unity desktop makes every videophile happy. You can easily browse through or search videos from your own videos collection (files from your Videos folder) and open them up using the default media player.

4. Improved Privacy: For many users, the Dash is more of an embarrassing history reminder than an intelligent desktop search engine. For those who worry about their privacy a lot, the settings let you delete your entire track record or history from a limited time frame.

5. HUD: Replacing the traditional menubar comes HUD, an intelligent and adaptive tool that allows you to perform important application-related tasks without clicking the mouse. Simply press the Alt key and key in the command you want.

6. A Great Set of Wallpapers: Admit it, who doesn't love to dress up their computer? If the aforementioned features don’t interest you much, then at least upgrade for the amazing set of community wallpapers that come with Precise. And yeah, change the wallpaper and you’ll see the login screen adapt it as its skin instantly.

7. Improved Multi-Monitor Support: Work with 2 or more monitors like a boss with Ubuntu’s latest offering.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04

1. You hate Unity: If you’re using the pre-Unity Ubuntu, then chances are that the new incarnation of the Canonical marvel doesn't appeal to you much. No matter how hard you tried, you couldn't really manage to like the whole Unity thing. In that case, it’s okay; it’s better to stay with your current version. Gnome 2 isn't that bad after all.

2. Your upgrade experience hasn't been good so far: Admit it, the upgrade experience isn't the smoothest of all. There are some small issues here and there usually; however, there are rare cases when the upgrade messes things up real bad. If your computer has been a victim of such circumstances a lot of times, then it’s better to stay with the earlier version rather than upgrade. Also, if you’re on a computer that demands a lot of uptime then it’s better to stick with the older version.

3. You don’t need awesome features: Okay, no matter how much you hate Unity, Ubuntu 12.04 is something that will make you change your mind. It’s stable, fast, and comes with a lot of amazing features that neither Linux Mint nor any other distro have at this moment. So, if you’re on the fence about upgrading, we’d say by all means go to right now and upgrade!

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.


  1. AnonymousMay 14, 2012

    Unity is fine for the average user and much much faster and polished. I had some minor issues and resolved all of them, so I'm happy

  2. I dd an upgrade from 10.04 to 12.04 and it was not stable at all. I ended up doing a com,eye install after deleting my partitions (and reinstalling grub) and I am much happie r with 12.04.

    Still making my piece with Unity, but I am excited by the HUD and the potential it has for a true voice interface.

    Overall, happy with the change.

  3. AnonymousMay 16, 2012

    There is a MAJOR problem with NVIDIA graphics cards that is causing all sorts of grief. UNITY was broken for me (black screen) the moment I upgraded. New drivers (295.49) have been provided by NVIDIA but these do not solve all the problems (and didn't for me). If you are using NVIDIA I would seriously suggest you check out the situation before your upgrade ends in tears.

  4. Just upgraded my work machine to the latest and the greatest version of ubuntu. So far i like it more than my osx lion I have in my laptop.

  5. I did quit Ubuntu ever since Unity is mandatory. Nevertheless i can enjoy the full stability of Ubuntu 12.04 in Mint 13.
    I moved to the LTS Base to be able to enjoy the latest versions of my apps available on PPA for 2 years without any reinstallation !