I have been testing Ubuntu raring daily build over the past couple of days. I suppose for a testing build it is not too bad, although it has a couple of bugs that are serious as far as I am concerned.
Firstly I instructed the installer to install grub to the partition boot record. It installed it to the master boot record instead, thus overwriting my heavily customised grub2 menu (customised to the point of rewriting parts the grub code to rid me of some of it many annoyances). It also completely ignored my Uefi system partition (although it is Uefi capable) and I had to manually create the ESP entry to get it to boot (this is so normal for my system that I hardly think anything of it nowadays
The next problem is that there is a kernel bug in the 3.8 kernel (I know this because Manjaro has had the 3.8 kernel for some time) that prevents me from shutting down if my external hard drive is plugged in! More precisely it depends where it is plugged in! If it is plugged in to any ordinary USB port then the machine will start up but the disk will not be detected, and the machine will reboot when you try to shut down, but if it is plugged in to one of the USB ports in my Express card expansion slot it behaves perfectly normally - Manjaro was exactly the same with this kernel. Even stranger than this, it depends on the make of external hard drive that you use, mine is Western Digital, my wife has a Hitachi drive attached to her machine and it works perfectly when attached to raring on my computer.
The next thing is that once you have Raring you have to ask yourself the question "What is it doing that quantal isn't?" It is a hard question to answer. As far as I can tell it has only one new feature that is of any interest to me and that is in the Launcher quicklists. This allows you to select between different open windows of the same program without using the 'spread' function. So for example if you have two instances of Firefox running, right clicking on the Firefox launcher icon will display the two window titles in the quicklist and allow you to select the one you want to view - a good improvement.
Now for the bad news. Canonical have decided that all program writers have had sufficient time to rewrite their applications to cater for their desktop panel implementation and therefore have removed the 'systray-whitelist' function from dconf editor. This now means that each and every gmail notifier that I have tried (3 so far) no longer works with raring. When I say 'no longer works' I should explain that they all work - you just can't see them or interact with them in any way. It is quite spooky when checkgmail pops up a new mail notification on the desktop out of nowhere, but sadly you have no way at all of interacting with it. Previously adding 'checkgmail' to the systray-whitelist feature (or 'all' would do the same thing) allowed you to see and interact with checkgmail, but no longer. As the alternatives to checkgmail are either sub-standard or non functional (like the gmail web app) this effectively means to me
that raring is a distribution that doesn't 'do' email
. If it wasn't so funny it would be serious. (and yes I know I could use Tbird or Evolution, but I don't want to run those programs all day long).
I do not apologise for the fact that I am a huge fan of Unity, I think it is the best thing that has happened to the Linux desktop since I first saw KDE in 1999, but seemingly, like all desktop developers (KDE a few years ago,Gnome recently), Unity devs have started off with a seriously good product and then attempted to slowly kill off all its functionality. First the launcher 'dodge windows' function went for no good reason at all and now gmail notifiers are being dispatched. I know they would argue that the likes of checkgmail will have to be rewritten, but why, when the 'systray-whitelist' functioned perfectly well?
There is a chance that the gmail notifiers problem will be fixed before final release in which case the extra quicklist functions may be a reason to upgrade from precise or quantal, but if it isn't fixed there are really no reasons to do so. I am glad that I continue to use Mint as well, because Cinnamon is one of those rare beasts, a desktop environment that actually seems to improve with time instead of moving backwards like many others.