What to Expect from the Ubuntu 17.10 Release


One of the hottest events this month for Linux/Ubuntu users is the release of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark). For those who are not fans of Ubuntu and Linux in general, this might be just one more release to miss, but this is a release you should take note of. The major news here is that this is the first release since Canonical decided to move away from Unity. But there is more!

1. Finally No More Unity!

Without a doubt, the most important feature of Ubuntu 17.10 is that Unity is finally gone! While it certainly isn’t the worst user interface in history, it was a real pain to use on a desktop machine. Quite a lot of Ubuntu fans, it seemed, ditched it for other distros solely because of Unity.


Now, when Ubuntu ships with GNOME 3.26 by default, it will be interesting to see if all former users will be back. GNOME might not be perfect, but compared to Unity it’s light years ahead.

2. New Display Functionality

Another visible change in Ubuntu 17.10 is that now, for the first time since 2010, window control buttons are back on the right.


Other changes to the display functionality include Wayland, which is now the default display server. If you miss Ubuntu on Xorg as the old display server, sigh with relief because it is still available – you just need to choose it from the cog on the login screen.

There is also a new default display manager – GDM instead of LightDM. LightDM is lighter and more customizable, but it had to go with Unity because it doesn’t work with GNOME. Still, maybe in future releases LightDM will be updated to work with GNOME, and users will have a choice which display manager to use.

3. New and Updated Apps and Settings

Ubuntu 17.10 comes with changes and updates to major apps, too. The following are some of the major ones, as stated in the release notes:

  • The Amazon app now loads in the default web browser
  • The default on-screen keyboard is GNOME’s Caribou instead of Onboard
  • Calendar now supports recurring events
  • LibreOffice has been updated to 5.4
  • Python 2 is no longer installed by default, and Python 3 has been updated to 3.6
  • Rhythmbox music player now uses the alternate user interface created by Ubuntu Budgie developer David Mohamed
  • The Settings app has been redesigned


There are also changes to driverless printing, a printer configuration, as well as system logs.

4. Updates of the Official Flavors

In addition to the main desktop edition, all of the official flavors of Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Budgie, Kylin, MATE, Studio, and Xubuntu) have been updated, too. The updates vary from relatively minor in Kubuntu to more significant in Kylin, MATE, and Budgie. If you use an official Ubuntu flavor, check the notes for your particular flavor to see what’s applicable in your case.


5. Numerous Updates to the Packages in the Server Version

Similarly to the desktop version and the official flavors, the Server version of Ubuntu 17.10 uses Linux kernel 4.13. Additionally, there are updates to some of the packages. Qemu, libvirt, LXD, DPDK, Open vSwitch, bind9, cloud-init, curtin, and Samba have been updated to their most recent stable versions available at present.


With the changes in Ubuntu 17.10, most notably the riddance of Unity, in my opinion Ubuntu is on the right track. I know there are users who will regret the end of Unity, but I believe most of us won’t. It’s so good to see the good old Gnome back on our desktops!

What do you think of the new Ubuntu 17.10 release? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ada Ivanova Ada Ivanova

I am a fulltime freelancer who loves technology. Linux and Web technologies are my main interests and two of the topics I most frequently write about.


  1. Thanks for review
    never liked Unity, my favourite w. manager cinnamon and xfce.
    And now Mint would updated soon of course to 18.3.
    Also Manjaro and Altergos looks good and run smoothly.

  2. I am personally a KDE user who had a couple main issues with Unity. Mainly the limited amount of customisation that you could do with the desktop but also I found that the dash could be too slow for my tastes at times.

    Still though Unity was unique among Linux desktops in it’s overall feel and while it wasn’t many people’s favourite (mine included) it is a little bittersweet to me to see less variety in the Linux ecosystem because I value Linux’s ability to be what the user wants it to be.

  3. Better support for wifi drivers. Finally first distro which supports from default my Xerox 3040.

  4. I was using Ubuntu with Gnome 2 when Unity and Gnome 3 first arrived. Didn;t like either of those then because they were so limited, so I went to Xubuntu and XFCE
    Then I experimented with rolling release distros (SparkyLinux and Debian Testing) but found the defaults were so bloated and loaded up with stuff that I’d a) never use and b) couldn’t figure out what a lot of stuff did.

    About 5 years ago I tried Arch Linux on an old laptop – installed it from scratch which was a really convoluted and bizarre experience, but I did manage to get it working.
    I found an Arch installation distro that was developed to be more like the familiar ones we’re used to, and installed Arch on my main desktop.

    I’ve been running Arch for almost 5 years with a heavily modded XFCE desktop and haven’t looked back. I installed only the stuff that I was actually going to use, so the distro has been comparatively small and really fast.

    I’ve had no major software issues and it has run consistently well for me.

  5. I see there are many happy users, now when Unity is history. Michael is right, Unity was unique, though, but still – good riddance.

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