What is a Pangolin?
The beta of Ubuntu 12.04 was made available today. The 12.04 release, which has the somewhat strange codenamed Precise Pangolin, is the next major version of the Linux distribution.
A pangolin is a scaly anteater and yes, we had to look it up. It will launch in April and is a long-term support release, which means that it will receive updates and support for five years. Pangolin will bring in improvements to Unity, Ubuntu's user interface shell. This includes the HUD which is a new keyboard-driven user interface for accessing menu items. Version 12.04 will also bring better hardware support, such as improved power management for certain hardware configurations, and updated software.
Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said that HUD was his first step to a new kind of UI for complex apps. He claimed to be deconstructing the traditional UI. The HUD allows users to activate menu items by typing part of the name. It uses a fuzzy search algorithm that will highlight partial matches. It can match menu items that are multiple layers deep in an application's menu hierarchy. The feature, which replaces traditional menu accelerators, is activated by pressing the alt key.