While the physical security profile of Ubuntu has been enhanced with the implementation of FDE in Ubiquity, the default network security posture has not changed in any significant way. AppArmor is still enabled out of the box, which is good, and the firewall is not active, which is not good. The only difference in AppArmor’s default configuration, between this release and previous ones, is that this one has more profiles (21) in enforce mode. The number of processes (3) in enforce mode did not change.
An nmap scan of a new installation of Ubuntu 12.10 shows that just one port is open. That port is the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) port, which has the port number of 631. Because the service is not accessible over the network, it does not pose a known security risk, even with the firewall inactive. But that does not negate the need for an active firewall. It is especially important if you are going to enable any service that will be listening on the network. To be on the safe side, activating the firewall should be the very first thing you do after installing Ubuntu 12.10. (see Why your computer needs a firewall enabled.)
To sum, I consider Ubuntu a very good distribution, even though I hate the Launcher. The most important thing is that the good features far outweigh the not-so-good ones. The one feature that I’m looking forward to in the next release, is the complete feature-rollout of FDE and LVM in the installer.
Resources: You may download installation images of Ubuntu 12.10 Desktop for your platform from here. And read the Release Notes here. Keep in mind that Ubuntu 12.10 is not a long-term support release. It will only be supported for two years. If that bothers you (it really shouldn’t), you should download the 12.04 version, which, as a long-term support release, will be supported for five years.
Screen Shots : View more screen shots from my test installations of Ubuntu 12.10 Desktop.
The Software Center showing some available games and the Games subcategories.
Applications list view of the Software Center.