UBUNTU GEAR UP

There’s a new Ubuntu LTS in town, with a whole new desk­top to en­tice and amaze you. Jonni Bidwell rolls out the or­ange car­pet…

Linux Format - - CONTENTS -

The next LTS re­lease of Ubuntu is here! In­stall, up­grade, tweak and en­joy the new fea­tures… or just tear your hair out

Quiet your busy mind for just a mo­ment, dear reader, and tell us what you hear. The sound of swal­lows, swifts and wheatears re­turn­ing to their north­ern breed­ing grounds? No, lis­ten more closely. There’s a vaguely me­chan­i­cal gnaw­ing sound from the trees over yon­der.

That’s the sound of a bionic beaver, and pos­si­bly some gnomes too, and it can mean only one thing: the lat­est Ubuntu LTS re­lease is here. As is tra­di­tion, our cover has been em­bla­zoned or­ange, our disc edi­tor has been kept up for days test­ing the daily builds, and Jonni won’t stop wit­ter­ing on about Walpur­gis­nacht. But things have changed since the last LTS two years ago.

Back then, there was ex­cite­ment about Canon­i­cal’s bold desk­top projects: Unity 8, Mir and con­ver­gence. Those have all been be­queathed to the com­mu­nity now and Ubuntu, af­ter seven years go­ing its own way, has re­turned to the Gnome desk­top. A con­tro­ver­sial move, but a prag­matic one too. Canon­i­cal is head­ing to­wards an IPO, and am­bi­tious desk­top projects that gen­er­ate no rev­enue don’t at­tract in­vestors.

Fur­ther­more, Gnome 3 has ma­tured and ripened and is no longer the scary desk­top beast that it used to be, and Canon­i­cal has done a great job of cus­tomis­ing it to be as friendly as pos­si­bly to Unity ex-pats. Gnome is also lead­ing the charge to­wards Way­land, the suc­ces­sor to the ag­ing X.org dis­play server, so Ubuntu 18.04 is a great dis­tro for brave souls and early adopters to ex­per­i­ment with the fu­ture dis­play stack (don’t worry it’s not the de­fault yet).

Of course, if Gnome’s still not your thing there’s no short­age of other desk­top flavours to try. We’ll cover the most in­ter­est­ing ones, and of course all the ex­cit­ing changes un­der the hood, too – the new ker­nel, snap pack­ages, not to men­tion Ubuntu’s server, cloud and IoT of­fer­ings. Plus, we haven’t for­got­ten about the crazy die-hards still run­ning 32-bit hard­ware. There may be no 32-bit in­stall medium, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the ben­e­fits of the new Ubuntu!

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