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.