Canonical finally announced the release of Ubuntu 17.10, the latest and most modern Ubuntu release so far. However, unlike many other releases, the Artful Aardvark can fairly be considered to be one of the most exciting Ubuntu releases ever.
Following Canonical’s announcement few months ago about dropping Unity, Mir, Ubuntu Touch and focusing more on collaboration with the free software community and upstream developers, Ubuntu gained a lot of “extreme” changes since then.
Ubuntu 17.10 now doesn’t ship with Unity, but instead, ships with GNOME Shell which is powered by Wayland. A GNOME Shell session powered by Xorg still exists, but is not the default.
The new distribution also comes with the latest GNOME 3.26 release. Ubuntu 17.10 is considered to be one of the first major distributions to get the new desktop environment. Which brings a lot of new updates and features by itself. However, the Ubuntu team tried to keep the Unity look & feel, combining the best of the two desktops.
For the first time in years, the GTK+ & GNOME packages (beside other packages) are coming pure from upstream; no more special Ubuntu patches are added (unless extremely necessary). This will allow Ubuntu users to get a pure solid GNOME experience just like any other Linux distribution.
Ubuntu comes with a GNOME Shell extension called “Ubuntu Dock”. It’s a fork of the known “Dash to Dock” extension. However, Ubuntu team also added some options to configure in the GNOME Center:
The LightDM display manager was replaced by GDM, which is the default display manager for GNOME. Windows controls are now on the right instead of being on the left for the first time since 7 years:
A set of new nice wallpapers are available, as usual in any Ubuntu release:
The Ambiance theme has been updated a little bit:
The software center now has an integrated Snaps support. You can search for or install Snaps from there:
As for the other software, Ubuntu 17.10 ships with Linux Kernel 4.13, systemd 234, Firefox 56.0, Thunderbird 52.4, and LibreOffice 5.4. ifupdown was replaced by netplan. Onboard was replaced by Caribou. Python 3.6 is the default Python version.
Ubuntu also dropped the 32-bit ISO images. Now you can only download Ubuntu images for 64-bit architecture. However, the 32-bit server images still exist.
For full changelog, you may check the release notes.
You can go ahead and try the new version. From our experience, it’s stable and bug-free. You can also try any Ubuntu derivative you may like (Like Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu..).
After installation, you may additionally read our “Things to do after installing Ubuntu” post.