1. Distributions

Ubuntu 18.04 Review: An Interesting LTS Release

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
  • Available software
  • Creativity & Inventing
  • Daily Use Purposes
  • Stability & Bugs
  • Customizability
4.3

Summary

This LTS came out just as expected. It is the first Ubuntu release to ship GNOME Shell as default instead of Unity. Yet, the distribution is solid and smooth, and offers better installation options and some interesting new features.

So finally, after a long waiting and suspicious claims about postponing the release date, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS codenamed “Bionec Beaver” was officially released yesterday by Canonical.

The new release suffered mainly from two bugs which could’ve postponed the release date if not fixed on time:

  • The GNOME Shell memory leak bug, which is an upstream bug that existed for years causing GNOME Shell’s memory usage to increase dramatically over time when performing some actions on the interface.
  • A Ubiquity (Ubuntu installer) bug that prevented users from accessing the live session (The “try Ubuntu” option) when booting from the live image.

Both bugs were fixed just hours earlier of the final release.

We have been testing Ubuntu 18.04 for a number of weeks since the beta release, this is our review for it so far.

Ubuntu 18.04 Review

Default Ubuntu 18.04 desktop

There’s a number of noticeable changes in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The most notable one is switching to use GNOME’s Xorg session instead of Wayland (as it was in Ubuntu 17.10).

This is due to many bugs and problems in the Wayland session that faced ordinary users from time to time, such as being unable to open GUI applications as root, do screen sharing, weird crashes and many compatibility issues with various programs. A wise decision for an LTS.

Installation & Package Changes

During installation, users will now be able to choose between a standard and a minimal installation:

Minimal installation option

The minimal installation removes the following packages from your system, which saves you around 500 MB of disk space after installation.

However, it’s worth to mention that the ISO image size for Ubuntu 18.04 is around 1921MB. Which is really huge comparing to what the standard Ubuntu installation offers by default: GNOME, Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and few small tools only.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with Firefox 59, Linux kernel 4.15, GNOME 3.28 and LibreOffice 6.0.3. A complete list of the installed packages can be found here. Almost 1500 packages are installed by default, and around 61000 packages available to install from the official repository, an increase of 5% since Ubuntu 17.10 which had 58000 packages.

After installation, a welcome wizard will start to guide the user in the desktop. This wasn’t available in previous Ubuntu versions:

Ubuntu Welcome Screen

You can also setup a “Livepatch” service from that screen:

Configuring a Livepatch account

Livepatch is a kernel feature which enables your machine to receive security updates for your kernel and install them without rebooting. This is needed in cases of high-availability applications or in where a reboot is really costly. If you are a normal user, you can get your token for free and receive the Livepatch service directly from Canonical:

Livepatch service from Canonical

The second page will give you the installation instructions:

Livepatch installation instructions

Ubuntu installer will also ask you if you would like to enable anonymous data collection. Such data will help the developers understand how Ubuntu is used:

Sending a data report to Canonical

An example report is the following set of data:

{ "Version": "18.04", "OEM": { "Vendor": "LENOVO", "Product": "20F5S48X00" }, "BIOS": { "Vendor": "LENOVO", "Version": "R02ET46W (1.15 )" }, "CPU": [ { "Vendor": "GenuineIntel", "Family": "5", "Model": "75", "Stepping": "2" } ], "Arch": "amd64", "GPU": [ { "Vendor": "8086", "Model": "1913" } ], "RAM": 3.5, "Partitions": [ 11.9 ], "Screens": [ { "Resolution": "1920x1080", "Frequency": "59.97" } ], "Autologin": false, "LivePatch": false, "Session": { "DE": "ubuntu:GNOME", "Name": "ubuntu", "Type": "x11" }, "Timezone": "Europe/Istanbul", "Install": { "Media": "Ubuntu 18.04 LTS \"Bionic Beaver\" - Release amd64 (20180426)", "Type": "GTK", "PartitionMethod": "manual", "DownloadUpdates": true, "Language": "en", "Minimal": false, "RestrictedAddons": false, "Stages": { "0": "language", "6": "console_setup", "11": "wireless", "14": "prepare", "21": "partman", "22": "partman", "23": "partman", "36": "partman", "46": "partman", "49": "start_install", "50": "timezone", "54": "usersetup", "61": "user_done", "300": "done" } } }

The Ubuntu software center (which is based on GNOME Software 3.28.1) integrates the Snap store directly, and allows you to select which channel you would like to receive updates from (E.g alpha, beta or stable). It is really a nice feature:

Skype Snap Package in Ubuntu 18.04

Look & Feel

There have been some changes on the default Ambiance theme of Ubuntu. One could notice it the most with Nautilus (File manager):

Nautilus in Ubuntu 18.04

As you can see, the sidebar is now colored with brown and dark brown. Personally I don’t like this distinction between the icons and the text, because it implies that there are 2 different menus, but that’s how it is here.

As usual, there’s a number of nice backgrounds in the new version:

One of the sad things about the default Ubuntu installation is that it doesn’t provide a tool out-of-the-box to change the used GTK+ & icons theme. As a user, you’ll have to install GNOME Tweak tool yourself in order to do that.

It was planned for Ubuntu 18.04 to use a community theme by default instead of the Ambiance theme, but because there wasn’t enough time to finish everything before the release, it wasn’t shipped by default. However, the theme in its current status looks really nice:

Communitheme in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

You can install it via Snap store:

snap install communitheme

Performance

The startup time of Ubuntu 18.04 is around 7 seconds on a Thinkpad x260 with an SSD disk, which is 30% faster than the previous Ubuntu 17.10, which used to boot on the same machine at around 10 seconds:

mhsabbagh@mypc:~$ systemd-analyze
Startup finished in 2.324s (kernel) + 4.915s (userspace) = 7.240s

And if you would like to know who to blame:

mhsabbagh@mypc:~$ systemd-analyze blame
3.120s plymouth-quit-wait.service
1.240s plymouth-start.service
771ms alsa-restore.service
759ms plymouth-read-write.service
714ms fwupd.service
680ms systemd-backlight@backlight:intel_backlight.service
675ms dev-sda5.device
431ms dev-loop2.device
427ms dev-loop0.device
405ms dev-loop1.device
390ms dev-loop4.device
384ms dev-loop3.device
377ms dev-loop5.device
285ms systemd-logind.service
194ms NetworkManager.service
183ms udisks2.service
171ms networkd-dispatcher.service
139ms apparmor.service
138ms snapd.service
127ms networking.service
109ms apport.service
108ms systemd-resolved.service
108ms ModemManager.service

The two batteries of the Thinkpad x260 (40 Wh total) are reported to last around 6 hours when on discharging mode. This is equal to battery consumption on other Linux distributions as well, but is less than Windows 10 (10-12 hours no average). One could fix this by installing TLP.

Just as Ubuntu 17.10 and any other distribution which utilizes GNOME Shell, Ubuntu 18.04 uses 1GB of RAM after reaching the graphical desktop, which is relatively high comparing to other desktop environments such as Xfce or MATE.

As a personal experience, Ubuntu 18.04 feels really smooth. No lagging or performance issues encountered us so far. Everything is just as expected from a Linux distribution.

Conclusion

Ubuntu continues to offer a stable and solid experience. The latest LTS, although seems rushed a little bit (because of fixing 2 critical bugs just hours before the release is not something usually done), is fine and working just as expected. No special bugs or issues encountered us during our periods of usage. An ordinary user will definitely enjoy using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

If you are using an older version of Ubuntu on your desktop PC or your server, then you may would like to wait few days or weeks just in case of any new issue comes out. Then, upgrading to the new LTS should be just fine. Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported until 2023, which is really a long time of support.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
  • Available software
  • Creativity & Inventing
  • Daily Use Purposes
  • Stability & Bugs
  • Customizability
4.3

Summary

This LTS came out just as expected. It is the first Ubuntu release to ship GNOME Shell as default instead of Unity. Yet, the distribution is solid and smooth, and offers better installation options and some interesting new features.

.
guest
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ahmed alBAttashi

Nice to see welcome and guide window.

Thanks for information,

Mark Clancey

Yawn. The little beaver offers no new functionality and actually delivers a diminished user experience over 16.04 LTS. Why on Earth do away with a Desktop shortcut from the Dock (stupid!)? Something billed as an “upgrade” should deliver and upgraded user experience, not a degraded one.

Mike Drotor

Upgraded to Ubuntu 18 from Ubuntu 16 on ASUS TP500LA. Came up in zoom mode. Finally found accessibility menu to turn off zoom. Could not install driver for WiFi MediaTek 7630, missing headers, i.e. IEEE80211_NUM_BANDS. Did not recognize the LAN hardwire either, nor the touchpad; however, touchscreen and mouse were functional. Upper right drop-down menu only had brightness slider, volume slider, a system settings icon and a pause icon(suspend), no logout or shutdown icons. Had to use terminal to safely shutdown. Used multiboot option to boot up original version 4.4.0-79. Could not install WiFi driver due to same missing header(s).… Read more »

Grace Lee

I upgraded tonight. Machine booted up. I got a window showing all the new features which I couldn’t close. 1368×768.

The upgrade activated my TV display as a separate display, even though I had it mirrored previously. As a result, when I tried to access the Settings, the panel opened
on the TV screen and I couldn’t find it at first.

The display settings don’t change, even if I set them to different settings. The Apply button only appears in certain circumstances.

I’m very hesitant to install this new version on the servers.

Grace Lee

I also can’t use Alt-Tab to switch between browser windows.

I am using Chrome and now when I press Alt-Tab, it shows my open windows but the only way I can access them is by clicking them with a mouse.

Mouse action is also crazy. It’s acting as if I’m extremely drunk.

Adam

I read the article, and I have to say, I am a huge fan of Debian and Ubuntu distros in general, but this latest 18.04TLS sucks, it is loaded with bugs and unpredictability. I will simply name a few: 1) Constant login loop, no matter how many times you try it keeps on asking you to login again and again (irritating) 2) App Menu suddenly becomes irresponsive without warning. 3) It took me 9 attempt to switch from lightdm to gdm3 4) It takes a long time to boot (if it does boot at all) 5) Tweaks tool: Several extensions… Read more »

John IL

Yeah, my experiences were similar, rather buggy, and also experienced the login loop. For a release that came out last April I was surprised that the experience wasn’t better by the end of 2018.

Donald Lee Granberry

I do not like the changes that came with this upgrade. Things are no longer where I have learned their locations and have developed habits of reaching for them in those locations. This is the very thing that caused me to adopt Ubuntu in the first place. M$oft changes things simply for the sake of changing them which irritates me to no end. Now, Canonical is doing the same annoying thing. Oh, and I tried to sign up for LivePatch but it simply does not work. Worse, they sent me an upgrade for my Logitcech wireless keyboards. It will not… Read more »

Neeraj

It’s a good upgrade, without hassle. (upgraded from 16.04 LTS)
And a better performance in power usage.
Both the Nautilus & the Snap Store are better.

However, compared with, looks like boot time looks a bit longer but not noticeable. (SSD)
And I see still the performance goes down during multiple windows usage. At times, it requires a hard reset, instead of waiting.

Hoping to see the community comes up with the fixes for them.

Thanks!

Vuyo Sithole

What are dependencies, I cannot uninstall the NVideo 390 driver because of dependencies. I therefore cannot fix the program due to dependencies.
Is there anyone with a list and definitions of sudo commands to the Ubuntu 18.04. I am struggling here nobody knows Ubuntu and I am new to it .

Ankur Gogoi

My system hangs too much after the installation of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. I have to wait for long time for the system to response after clicking any application like Chrome or Mozilla. Any idea how to solve the problem???

Adam

I remembered something else, that is very irritating as I use a laptop Lenovo T430 I can use the mouse but I can’t click on anything unless I use the two buttons for left and right click, I must say this release is a real mess, I don’t know what they were thinking. Like somebody here said about the wireless keyboard I believe it was this gentleman Donald Lee Granberry it reminded me of Windows years ago, when it crashes it can’t detect your keyboard but at the same time it asks you to use CTRL ALT DEL to reboot,… Read more »

Eric C

the smb client is horrendous, causing the need for constant reboots. if I’m wathcing a stream from a smb share, and try to browse another sbm share, the entire system STOPS. build a decent smb client or get out of network town!

Daniel

I though I was the only one not liking this release. After installing it on three of my computers the wi-fi adapter was not recognized on any of them, all three of them being different. I can’t pin to the side bar, the cross,minimize and maximize moved to right,WTF!?? Are we getting back to windowz now? my laptop runs a lot hotter, the up/down scroll on my mouse is reversed now. Super key does not work, Downloads icon disappears in firefox after downloading and the menu which usually was activated by ALT button does not seem to come out of… Read more »

Roderick A. Dorr

I have been trying to access the root directory on my installation of Ubuntu 18.04.1, but cannot do it. I have searched on the internet for how to do it, to no avail. I have also tried to access the root directory in Terminal. I am the only user and I am the superuser. I see in the image under “Look & Feel” in your comments in “Ubuntu 18.04 Review: An Interesting LTS Release” that the root directory is depicted in the file manager with a Nautilus icon that appears selected at the top of the window. How do I… Read more »

Roderick A. Dorr

Forget my question of yesterday regarding how to get to the root directory. I found the answer this morning. Always works that way, huh? Sorry for any inconvenience.

Matt

Yes, I went through this too. It isn’t obvious at first glance, but after a little poking around “Other Locations” starts to look like a pretty good bet! Computer should probably be elevated to the initial set of default locations in the file browser left panel, it would get a lot more use than Floppy Disk.

Hans Lembøl

I have 2 old stationary computers on which 18.04 in running without any problems. But when I installed 18.04 on my old laptop (from 2008), it was no success. Startup took about 7 minutes and many websites made Firefox crash. I went back to 16.04, and everything is running smoothly on the old Medion. Startup under 60 seconds and no problems otherwise. Actually, I think it’s amazing that this old laptop is still performing perfectly. Haven’t even had to replace the battery.

Richard Blake

I have just installed ubuntu 18.04 on an HP laptop with Win 10 factory installed. After some trouble making the installed version boot: need to interrupt the windows boot and direct the m/c to boot from the hard disk. At this point the grub screen shows up with the linux options. The system fails to detect the built in WiFi. It does detect a dongle plugged into a usb port. Operation of the s/w from the normal installation is ok. Packages such as tcsh and scilab are now unavailable. So far it has been impossible to bring in gcc. This… Read more »

Janfany

I suppose there are some sophisticated ‘improvements’ in 18.04.1 LTS but why all the minor changes just for the sake of them? The desktop has been fiddled with so that it’s no longer simple to select the background that you want, although I suppose it is possible if you have a few years to spare finding out how. The icons can no longer be arranged to the side, and kept there. Many, but not all, photos no longer display thumbnails in file manager or on the desktop and GNU help may still be available but it no longer readily appears.… Read more »

JDS

The install was smooth but could not get WiFi to work. Downloaded multiple packages to fix that via Bluetooth to my iPhone. There is no fix for new Lenovo Flex 14 drivers. Maybe in a few weeks?

SimonJR51

Ubuntu 18.04.5 is the latest update and the O/S is pretty cool for daily user like me. I don’t need so many sophisticated apps to run my PC and the OS runs fast on my HP Desktop J3060 Slimline PC which is a budget standard. Thanks Canonical Thumbs Up. Regards. Simon

Subscribe for $5

Instead of using your adblocker, join us now on Patreon to unlock a complete ad-free experience + access to private FOSS Post forum where many internals are discussed.

Ad

Email Newsletter

.