Canonical is releasing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS today. Code-named “Bionic Beaver,” the latest version of the popular GNU/Linux distribution includes a number of updates including a newer Linux kernel, mitigations to help protect users from Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, and a number of tweaks for the user interface and core apps.

Ubuntu 18.04 is also a Long Term Support release. While Canonical releases new versions of Ubuntu every 6 months, most are only officially supported for 9 months. As an LTS release, Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for five years.

If you’re updating from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which was the last Long Term Support version of the operating system, you may notice that a lot of things have changed in the past 2 years.

The default Ubuntu desktop environment is now GNOME instead of Unity. The close, minimize, and maximize buttons are now on the right sides of windows again. Driverless printing has been enabled. And a number of apps including the Nautilus file browser, Settings app, and Ubuntu Software store have gotten makeovers.

Canonical also stopped offering 32-bit installer images for download, but that shouldn’t be an issue if you’re just upgrading from an older version. If you’re installing from scratch on a computer that doesn’t have a 64-bit processor, you can still use the Network installer, which only includes a minimal set of packages for computers that may not be able to run the graphical installer. During the install process your computer will download additional packages as needed.

Changes since Ubuntu 17.10, which was released 6 months ago, are less modest. But there are some updates, including:

  • Ubuntu 18.04 uses Linux kernel 4.15.
  • GNOME apps have been updated to version 3.28.
  • LibreOffice has been updated to version 6.0.
  • The calendar app now supports weather forecasts.
  • The To Do app is installed by default.
  • Computers automatically suspend after 20 minutes of inactivity when on battery power.
  • GNOME Shell now supports Thunderbolt 3.
  • Emoji are now shown in color in most apps.
  • There’s a minimal install option that lets you load a basic desktop environment, web browser, and core utilities, but not much else.
  • While X is the default display server, there’s a technical preview of Wayland if you want to try it out. It’s expected to become the default in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which is coming in two years.

Oh, and there’s a new default wallpaper… with a line drawing of a beaver.

You can grab the latest version of Ubuntu from the download page or the release page.

There are also a series of “flavors” for folks that prefer a different desktop environment and core set of apps, including:

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28 replies on “Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver is here”

  1. Interesting how Ubuntu can offer a choice of 7 different desktop environments. Microsoft forces only 1 desktop environment on the world, whether you like it or not. How did that work out for Steve Ballmer and Steve Sinofsky? Now the Start Menu is back, but both Steves are gone.

  2. Finally installed I had to change the software server from UK to main server as I kept getting a no update available message.
    I am running it on quite an old laptop and it is really slow. I think it’s not as memory efficient as 17.10 was. Maybe it’s time to try Xubuntu instead?

    1. Give it a shot. I finally tried Xubuntu six months ago for the same situation, an older laptop(with graphic driver issues). Xubuntu and Lubuntu should be a better fit for your application. I’ve run into the same thing with Mint 18.3 being slower on my hardware than past versions, so I’ve got my eye on this new LTS Xubuntu in case I want to switch permanently. I did like Xubuntu quite a bit during my trial period. The unexpected issue I ran into was having to manually set up desktop compositing. I’m not sure if that’s something you’ve had to deal with. It’s a bit annoying at first, but it’s manageable. I’m not sure what the state of compositing is here. I was waiting for reviews to address that. Good luck with what you decide.

      1. Ok, I finally jumped, and I am writing this from Xubuntu 18.04, You were right, it’s night and day. So much quicker. The install itself was a breeze, and Firefox is flying. I need to see how the other tools are reacting but so far so good. XFCE reminds me a bit of the old MacOS mixed with some XP interface elements. I like it.

  3. The Ubuntu MATE download page says the both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions are still under development.

  4. Question: Why does gnome support thunderbolt 3? I mean, isn’t that kernel’s job? (Not a Linux guy, so I apologize if the question’s too stupid.)

  5. I used the Gnome 3 desktop for awhile back when 14.04 LTS was released. I ended up liking vanilla Ubuntu(Unity) better. Think I’m going to stick with 16.04 until I can find a better alternative to this Gnome desktop that Ubuntu has gone with. Didn’t like KDE at all, never stable enough. Mate seemed outdated, and xfce…while stable, same as Mate.

    Never thought I’d miss unity and really didn’t like it all that much until they decided to take it away. The alternatives are worse from my perspective….and frankly, I don’t know what to do.

    1. Have you tried tweaking XFCE? I used to use XFCE a few years back on a Chromebook running Ubuntu 14.04, and I was able to customize it to look sleek and run smoothly, but I remember there was quite a bit of legwork involved. IIRC, XFCE is pretty darn customizable compared to other DEs.

  6. Mythbuntu has been gone since 2016. I’m still using it, but with 18.04 I’m going to probably reinstall with Xfce or MATE and the MythTV package.

  7. Hey Brad,

    Per FOSSbytes, there’s a bug with the live session feature for Ubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and a few other flavors. They’re still patching. That’s why no download link is present yet. Should be fixed later today.

      1. I feel your pain. I wrote an article for Notebookcheck about it and published prior to downloading it myself. Had to add a pretty hasty update on that one.

  8. I am dissapointed with Wayland not being the default in this release. I think I am ready to switch back to fedora. I have been running it starting with Dapper Drake (12 years ago). I liked them when Mark was in control… These days they look like just another distro. Fedora 28 final will be released next week.

    1. Switched from 16.04 to Fedora 27 a few weeks ago. I’m much happier with the system now. Fedora has come a long way and has all the polish of Ubuntu with better stability, compatibility (In my experience), and better features. Thought I might switch back with 18.04, but I’m less enthused. I’m stoked about Fedora 28.

      1. Looks like it was the last of the major variants of Ubuntu to go up. I saw Xubuntu and Ubuntu MATE were already up while Lubuntu wasn’t up last night. But, in case you have not seen, Lubuntu 18.04 is now available. It hasn’t made the news at Distrowatch yet so it might be pretty fresh still.

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