- Aug 30, 2012
Canonical today released the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu, its widely used Linux distro. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, also known as Bionic Beaver, arrives to solidify some major changes made with the release of Ubuntu 17.10, including the use of the GNOME desktop environment instead of the defunct Unity desktop used until the previous LTS version of the OS, Ubuntu 16.04.
With the release of Ubuntu 17.10 in October 2017, Canonical opted to ditch its home-baked Unity desktop environment, a GNOME-based shell first imagined to power netbooks, in favor of GNOME itself. The move was explained by Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical founder, as a necessary step as the company prepares to go public. This transition is now complete with the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, which ships with the latest version of GNOME, 3.28.
Two other very important changes are the ditching of the 32-bit installer images for the desktop version of Ubuntu, which in fact first happened with the release of Ubuntu 17.10, and that Canonical will now be collecting system usage data, starting with Ubuntu 18.04. This includes the version of Ubuntu installed, the manufacturer of the device, CPU model, which desktop environment you installed, the system time zone, and which packages are installed.
In terms of what's new since version 17.10:
For those upgrading from version 16.04 LTS, here are some highlights of what else has changed:
- X is the default display server. Wayland is provided as a Technical Preview and is expected to be the default display server in 20.04 LTS. To try it out, just choose Ubuntu on Wayland from the cog on the log in screen.
- The installer offers a minimal install option for a basic desktop environment with a web browser and core system utilities. Many official 18.04 desktop flavors are using this new feature too!
- Apps provided by GNOME have been updated to 3.28. For more details about GNOME 3.28, see their Release Notes.
- LibreOffice has been updated to 6.0.
- Emoji now show in color in most apps. Keyboard shortcuts for the emoji input chooser are Ctrl+. or Ctrl+;
- Calendar now supports weather forecasts.
- Some utilities have been switched to the snap format for new installs (Calculator, Characters, Logs, and System Monitor). Snap apps provide better isolation which allows them to be upgraded to new stable releases during the LTS lifecycle.
- The Characters app replaces the older Character Map by default.
- The Ubuntu Software app allows easy switching between different channels for Snap apps.
- The To Do app has been added to the default normal install.
- spice-vdagent is pre-installed for better performance for Spice clients such as the GNOME Boxes app.
- The right-click method for touchpads without physical buttons has changed to a two-finger click instead of clicking in the bottom right of the touchpad. You can use the GNOME Tweaks app (not installed by default) to change this setting.
- Although libinput is the default driver for mice and touchpads, it is now possible to use the synaptics driver with the Settings app. Support for the synaptics driver will be dropped in a future Ubuntu release.
- Computers will automatically suspend after 20 minutes of inactivity while on battery power.
- GNOME Shell now supports Thunderbolt 3.
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS optimised for security, multi-cloud, containers & AI
- 32-bit installer images are no longer provided for Ubuntu Desktop.
- The Ubuntu Desktop now uses GNOME instead of Unity.
- GDM has replaced LightDM as the default display manager. The login screen now uses virtual terminal 1 instead of virtual terminal 7.
- Window control buttons are back on the right.
- Driverless printing support is now available.
- GNOME's built-in screen keyboard is used instead of Onboard.
- Calendar has a Week View and supports recurring events.
- These apps have received major user interface redesigns: Disk Usage Analyzer, Files (nautilus), Remmina, Settings, and Ubuntu Software.
- System Log has been replaced by Logs, an app to view logs from the systemd journal.
- Many GNOME apps now have a Keyboard Shortcuts popup available in the app menu.
- gconf is no longer installed by default since it has long been superseded by gsettings. Note that statistics and preferences for the Aisleriot card games will be reset when upgrading from 16.04 LTS or 16.10. gconf will be removed from the Ubuntu package archives in a future Ubuntu release.
- The Ubuntu GNOME flavor has been discontinued. If you are using Ubuntu GNOME, you will be upgraded to Ubuntu. Choose the Ubuntu session from the cog on the login screen if you would like the default Ubuntu experience.
- Install gnome-session then restart your computer and choose GNOME (or GNOME on Wayland) from the cog on the login screen if you would like to try a more upstream version of GNOME. If you'd like to also install more core apps, install the vanilla-gnome-desktop metapackage.