Ubuntu 13.04: What’s New In Raring Ringtail? [Linux]

Danny Stieben 11-05-2013

raring ringtail new featuresOn April 25th, the newest version of one of the most popular Linux distributions was released — Ubuntu 13.04, codenamed “Raring Ringtail”. Every new release of Ubuntu warrants the question of what’s new and whether people should try it out or upgrade from an older release.


Unlike previous releases of Ubuntu, 13.04 doesn’t bring extraordinary new visual features which may make some people even more skeptical about this release than others. So what exactly is new, and should you really upgrade?

Under-the-Hood Improvements

While Canonical wanted to include a major feature called Smart Scopes in Ubuntu 13.04, which would have enhanced the Unity Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux It's here. The newest version of Ubuntu sports an entirely new user interface: Unity. It also includes a much-improved Software Center, alongside the usual updates for the thousands of free programs Ubuntu offers. Canonical decided... Read More Dash’s search capabilities to include more online sources aside from Amazon, it was delayed for 13.10. With this and other features being delayed for the next release, development on 13.04 quickly turned into a push for quality and polish. As such, plenty of software has been updated to help improve the overall quality of the release.

Although new versions of software is included in every Ubuntu release, this release especially adds some polish, with filesystem and graphics enhancements in the kernel, a faster LibreOffice LibreOffice - A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac Read More , and others. Most importantly, the Unity desktop environment received plenty of love from Canonical developers, making it more stable and pleasing to use by reducing the amount of “papercut” bugs.


Because of the focus on polish in this release, the new release along with its updated software appears to run noticeably faster on a number of my systems. Startup and shutdown times have also improved quite a bit. This is pretty refreshing to see as Ubuntu’s speed has regressed over the last few releases after their strong emphasis on speed with 10.04.

Visual Improvements

raring ringtail new features
There has also been a lot of tiny visual improvements here and there. Window snap animations (when you drag a window to an edge on your screen to either maximize it or make it fill half your screen) are different; the popups along the Unity dock now fade in and out; there are new Unity dash preview animations; and a new, friendly, and translucent shutdown dialog. The icons for “Files”, Ubuntu Software Center, and Software Updater have been changed, and Nautilus has been updated and slightly renovated.


If you have, as an example, multiple Chrome windows open, you can now hover your mouse over the Chrome button in the Unity dock and scroll to switch between windows. You can also now control which installed applications can use which of your online accounts, and the Bluetooth dropdown menu has been updated to include on/off toggles.

Ubuntu 13.04: What's New In Raring Ringtail? [Linux] ubuntu raring sync menu
Ubuntu One Ubuntu One: An Unknown But Worthy Contender In Cloud Storage Just a little over a week ago, a lot of news was made in the world of personal cloud storage, where Dropbox added more sharing features, SkyDrive introduced their new synchronization application for desktops, and... Read More has also received a new Sync menu where you can turn the service on or off, as well as access other Ubuntu One functions. If the menu weren’t packed with Ubuntu One features, it would almost appear as if Dropbox could be integrated into the Sync menu as well, provided the Dropbox application receives an update to be able to do so. The workspaces feature is now disabled, but can be re-enabled in the system settings.

New Lenses

raring ringtail new features
Unity has also received two new lenses with 13.04 — the Photos lens and the Social lens. The Photos lens can pick up and search through images located on your online accounts or imported via Shotwell. Because Gwibber has been removed from this release (and possibly only this release), the Social lens is there to help people connect to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn directly from the dash.

Canonical’s Roadmap

While this release may seem a bit lackluster when it comes to features, Raring Ringtail is still a great release that doesn’t throw Canonical’s roadmap off track. Now that they’ve accomplished a lot of polish work, including speed improvements, they will have an easier time getting Ubuntu ready for their releases on smartphones, tablets, and TVs. Before, some core components such as Unity would have run far too slowly to be usable on a mobile device.


Should You Upgrade?

So, now that we know what’s new, should you try Ubuntu if you haven’t yet done so before? Absolutely! Ubuntu comes packed with plenty of great software, and it is now speedy enough for any user to enjoy on any system. For those already running Ubuntu, is it worth upgrading? Not necessarily. As Ubuntu 13.04 doesn’t come with a lot of new features, you may not get much out of an upgrade without having to do a lot of work and running the risk that something goes wrong during the upgrade process.

However, if you value polish and speed improvements, then I recommend that you upgrade. As there aren’t any major features, most packages will simply update to newer versions, making this upgrade relatively painless compared to previous upgrades. I went ahead and upgraded my computers without any issues, and I am definitely loving the polish and speed.

What’s your favorite feature in Ubuntu? What would you like to see Canonical do with Ubuntu 13.10? Let us know in the comments!

Related topics: Linux Distro, Ubuntu.

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  1. Mick
    July 6, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Personally, I prefer HP & Asus laptops over Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Sony, or any other. They work well with Linux and they seem more stable, more reliable, and more durable than others. I also like using Xubuntu over Ubuntu for the higher performance while retaining mainstream distro status. Also, there are ways to get refunds for not using the Microsoft software preinstalled on a new laptop.

  2. Polyprogrammer
    June 14, 2013 at 3:16 am

    This new version is so close to Apple in its appearance that it is difficult to distinguish the two apart. The "Idiot-Cons" are huge for prople how have ten thumbs, very annoying. I am going to switch back to 12.10 if they don't fix the Desktop for those of us who are so much more intelligent then Apple and Windows users. For those of you who like huge "Idiot-Cons" don't use Linux, use Apple or Windows, they can only do one thing and you can only do it their way Ubuntu 13.04 is now just another knock off!

  3. Matthew P
    May 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I used wubi to install 12.04 to dual boot with Windows 8 but when I boot, it boots windows and then gives me the option to boot ubuntum which if i select restarts my computer. Is there away to fix this when I update to 13.04?

    • Danny Stieben
      May 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      No because 13.04 no longer includes the Wubi installer. It's best to install Ubuntu to it's own partition. Check out my recent article on dual booting Ubuntu and Windows.

  4. null
    May 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I Love this OS...

  5. Wrik Sen
    May 15, 2013 at 4:39 am

    I would like to see Ubuntu re-invent the look, and make the shortcuts which work on Windows, to work on it's newest edition.. Also loading new themes or softwares ought to be made more easier, instead of adding codes to the terminal and criss crossing fingers that the thing gets loaded.. In Windows, it is about a few clicks and adjustments and one is completely set to experience what they wanted. LAstly, it would also be essential to see softwares like GIMP getting the 'Adobe Photoshop' polish.. GIMP is very useful indeed, but the shortcuts, like some other Linux softwares, are still lagging behind..

  6. David Commini
    May 14, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    I'll have to upgrade and check this out. Last time I upgraded I was in Kuwait and the connection was so slow! This time I have roaring fast internet so I hope to able to comment back here in a few days!

  7. Keith S
    May 13, 2013 at 4:54 am

    As usual, Danny, FIRST CLASS ARTICLE! Thanks.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks Keith!

  8. Vickie Damron
    May 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I and TESTING RINGTAIL. I have been using the previous version of Ubuntu since it came out and I intend to keep it installed on my laptop. Even though the Ringtail can make the same documents as the older Ubuntu, it does not display them the same as the older version.

    I may be able to use it at a back up but I CANNOT use it on a daily basis. I need to be able to access files at a glance and the Windows features will don do at all. The List option for file management is a glorified mini version of mini icons in a list format. I NEED A TREE!

    Would it have been so difficult to give people that option without having to consult a HELP file, which has been no help to me at all.?

    When Ubuntu first came out, it offered a default so we did not have to deal with jumping through hoops. I like a clean and efficient, uncluttered operating system and I am keeping my Ubuntu on my laptop.

    I am hoping some upgrades come out soon.

    • SumDood
      May 15, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      There is a tree, Vicky. In Nautilus (the file manager), go to View -> Sidebar -> Tree. This has been available in *buntu for quite some time, actually

  9. Goodny33
    May 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Very good article, thanks!

  10. Rama moorthy
    May 12, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Sticking with 10.04 .

    • Paul
      May 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

      10.04 support for the desktop version ended recently, so unless you're fine with outdated/insecure software or you're using the server version you ought to move to something newer.

      • Ramamoorthy_ed
        May 13, 2013 at 10:28 am

        ya I know . But my hardware is too low . so that sticking with 10.04 .!

        • Danny Stieben
          May 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm

          You can also try Xubuntu or Lubuntu so that you stay up to date.

  11. Zhong J
    May 12, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Just wondering, when you write a review of Debian Wheezy? It's a long awaited once 3 years kind of release and I'm surprised that nobody have written about it.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      I might give it a go. :)

  12. David Moreira
    May 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Better keep Lubuntu for now. Ubuntu always seems pretty resource-heavy to me.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Ubuntu has sped up quite a bit with this release. I like Lubuntu's speed but not its graphics.

  13. null
    May 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    > What would you like to see Canonical do with Ubuntu 13.10?

    Make it possible to walk into my local PC chain-store and buy a laptop with it on!! (or at very least to buy 'bare metal' so I can avoid paying for a M$ license that I will not use).

    13.04 is great 7 I love it (on desktop & netbook), but my 7year old laptopp with 2D graphics can't cope.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Someday that may happen! Until then, check out some online Linux laptop suppliers like System76 or ZaReason.

  14. Jimmy Rogers
    May 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I'm getting some broken image links in the first few images.

  15. Darren Shipp
    May 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I have been running it for months now with no problems at all.Dual booting windows 8 and Ubuntu 13.04.
    I have put it on 5 other computers with no problems either and just love it.

      August 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      May I Ask, How Did You Dual Boot Win 8 And Ubuntu?

  16. Meena Bassem
    May 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    well, it still have some bugs and missing features. wubi, the windows installer is now removed from this version.and i had some problems with my dell inspiron with changing the backlight. i just couldn't change it until i applied a fix i found online, the bug was there even when i was still running it live from the usb before installing.and , there's one thing that i don't really know where the problem is. it's about battery . it lasts for max 2 hours when fully charged and i can feel the heat coming out of the fan. but that was for previous versions of ubuntu as well, i don't have that problem with windows, and the battery lasts for at least 3 or 4 hours
    besides these, i love the new version ;)

    • Draper
      May 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      The linux flavor usually doesn't matter since the power consumption issue is caused by the kernel. As for a work around, check out TLP or some other power management program.

    • Danny Stieben
      May 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      While most hardware issues are on a per-device basis, I'm surprised that it seems to be running hot. The upgrade has actually cooled down my laptop a bit.