Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system has, for a very long time, been considered one of the best options for users of all sorts. One of the best features of Ubuntu is that it all works effortlessly out of the box, which has been a plus of the operating system for some time. And with 22.10, that still holds.
On top of that continued ease of use, the latest version, Kinetic Kudu, adds several new features into the mix to make this release an outstanding option for any type of user.
What exactly can be found in the latest release of Ubuntu? Let’s dive in and take a look.
Ubuntu Unity is now an official spin
Although this doesn’t directly affect the primary release of Ubuntu, it should be noted that fan-favorite Ubuntu Unity is now listed as an official spin. This particular take on Ubuntu brings back the Unity desktop environment, which might look similar to the official flavor, but retains quite a bit of what made Unity such an efficient and unique desktop (such as the global search in the Dash overview).
There are other official spins as well, such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Mate, and UKUI.
What’s new for Ubuntu?
With the spins out of the way, let’s see what exactly you can expect from the official Ubuntu 22.10 release.
One of the biggest additions to Ubuntu 22.10 comes by way of the GNOME desktop. Although other distributions have already released their versions with the latest GNOME environment, Ubuntu is finally catching up to that.
With GNOME 43, there are a few big changes to be found. First and foremost, you’ll find a new Quick Settings feature from the system tray in the top bar. This new Quick Settings is reminiscent of the Android Quick Settings Tiles system and makes it very easy to access different features.
If you see a right-pointing arrow on a Quick Tile pill, you can expand an entry to expose the available options.
Thanks to a visual refresh of the GNOME file manager, when you resize Files, it now dynamically adapts to the size of its window.
Also, more GNOME apps have been ported to the latest release of GTK4 and libadwaita, including GNOME Builder, GNOME Console, Files, Setup, GNOME Logs, GNOME Maps, and the Parental Control apps. All of this comes together to help make GNOME look more seamless and modern.
The GNOME web browser, called GNOME Web, now supports WebExtensions and offers a new right-click context menu for taking screenshots. GNOME Web is not installed, by default, in Ubuntu 22.10 but can be added from within GNOME Software (under the name Epiphany). Instead of Web, Ubuntu 22.10 ships with Firefox as its default browser.
With the bigger pieces out of the way, let’s focus on what’s under the hood for GNOME 22.10. First off, the kernel is Version 5.19, which features plenty of new features, especially in the form of support for new technology, such as:
- AMD’s Secure Nested Paging
- Initial support for LoongArch RISC ISA CPUs
- Support for ZSTD-compressed firmware files
- Support for ARM Scalable Matrix Extension
- Mitigation for some of the latest threats
- Intel overheating and battery drain fixes
- Improvements to the Direct Rendering Manager subsystem
- Support for BIG TCP
- Support for button mapping and native scrolling on the Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint II keyboard
One issue I’ve experienced with the daily build of 22.10 is that, although it installs fine as a VirtualBox virtual machine, it won’t boot. Because of this, the only way to test Kinetic Kudu with VirtualBox is to go the Try It Out instead of the Install route. The second you install it, and reboot, it lands at the splash screen and goes no further. No matter what I try, I’ve been unsuccessful in getting it to install. This is probably just a result of the daily build and will be fixed well in advance of the official release.
Despite that one hiccup, I’ve found Ubuntu 22.10 to be an outstanding release, even in its beta stage.
When can you expect the full release?
Ubuntu 22.10 will be released on Oct. 20, on which date you’ll be able to download an official release from ubuntu.com. Until then, if you want to test the beta, download it from the daily build site. Hopefully, by the time you download the beta, the VirtualBox issue will have been fixed.