Ubuntu: the next version of LTS is preparing for launch
Canonical is readying the latest iteration of the long-term support release for its Ubuntu desktop operating system. Jack Wallen has the details.
Ubuntu Linux has long been synonymous with user-friendliness. With each release, the desktop offers something new along with the usual reliability of Canonical’s operating system. And when Jammy Jellyfish (22.04) is released, users will find a mix of old and new, something that’s especially salient in the realm of GNOME.
Let me explain.
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Sometime in March 2022, GNOME 42 will be made generally available. What’s interesting about GNOME 42 is that most of the components are set to be ported from GTK3 to GTK4. This is especially the case in the GNOME Control Center (where over 30 modules need to be ported). G42 should also include a system-wide dark theme and a reworked libadwaita (GTK 4 library implementing GNOME’s human interface guidelines, complementing GTK).
However, it is unclear whether Ubuntu 22.04 will include the full GNOME 42 or not. As it stands, the daily releases of Jammy Jellyfish are an odd mix of GNOME 40 and 41. Hopefully, as GNOME 42 nears its release, it will prove worthy of inclusion with Ubuntu 22.04. The reason for this concern is that Long Term Support (LTS) releases are still focused on usability and reliability. Given that GNOME 42 will be released so close to the release of Ubuntu 22.04 (April 2022), there’s no way Canonical would run the risk of including software that isn’t already proven.
But no matter what happens with GNOME 42 in Jammy Jellyfish, the chances of you seeing a full list of GTK4 apps are slim. If I had to guess, we’ll definitely see the GTK4 version of the GNOME Control Center. Beyond that is unclear.
What we do know is that Ubuntu 22.04 will include some pretty awesome new features and improvements. We’ll take a look.
New Jammy Jellyfish Features
Along with GNOME 42, Jammy Jellyfish’s feature list is exemplified by a new firmware update tool. For a very long time, this process was supported from the Software Center. This changes from 22.04, with a new GUI for the fwupd command, which will make updating firmware something even new users can handle.
Another exciting element to add is a new installer. The traditional Ubuntu installer has been completely overhauled. This new installer still evokes Ubuntu’s usual simplicity but has a much more modern feel. The new installer was created using Google’s Flutter UI SDK.
The Ubuntu Pro tab is also added in the Software and Updates utility. This lets you easily connect up to three machines (or 50 if you’re an official Ubuntu community member) to an Ubuntu Advantage account for free security updates for over 30,000 packages. Other Ubuntu Pro benefits include extensive security maintenance, livepatching, and compliance/hardening (FIPS 140-2, FIPS updates, CC-EAL2, and CIS tools).
You’ll also find new multitasking and Ubuntu Dock options in the Settings app.
Improvements in Ubuntu 22.04
The list of improvements found in Ubuntu 22.04 is a bit longer than new features (which is usually the case). The list includes items such as:
- Extensive Raspberry Pi support (including models with as little as 2GB of RAM)
- PHP 8.1
- Kernel 5.15 (which will be slightly outdated, but it is an LTS release)
- OpenSSL 3.0
- Ruby 3.0
- Golan 1.8
- Python 3.10.0
- Grub 2.06
- Major performance improvements to whisper window manager
You can download the daily Ubuntu 22.04 build, but be aware that the new installer hasn’t made its way into the system yet, and you’ll find GNOME looks like it did in 21.10. In fact, at first glance, the daily (as a whole) appears more or less as it has been since 21.04. In fact, the wallpaper is a holdover from the previous version. That’s okay, because what Ubuntu has to offer is a pretty exceptional desktop operating system.
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