Canonical is releasing the next major update to its popular Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution today. Ubuntu 23.04, also known by the code name “Lunar Lobster,” introduces a new operating system installer, an updated default desktop environment, updates to many pre-installed applications, and smoother downloads and installation of applications packaged in the snap format.

The company is also promoting the Steam client from “early access beta” to “stable channel,” which means it should offer a pretty reliable way to install and play games on computers running Ubuntu.

The new Ubuntu Desktop installer is built on Flutter and packaged as a snap. According to Canonical, it can also:

  • Install all available updates during the install.
  • Install faster “since it is no longer necessary for the installer to uninstall unnecessary packages. This means the Minimal install is now faster than the Full install, which wasn’t true” before.

It’s not just operating system installation which has been improved. Canonical says when you install an update to a snap package for an app that’s currently running, the update can be downloaded in the background and applied automatically when you close the app, allowing you to make sure you don’t miss an important update while also making sure that an update doesn’t interrupt your workflow.

Canonical has also updated the default desktop environment to GNOME 44, which means there’s new thumbnail image or icon view in the file chooser dialog, a number of updates to the Settings app, and a new sub-menu in the Bluetooth section of the Quick Settings panel, among other things.

If you’re not a fan of GNOME, there are other options though. There are official flavors of Ubuntu that come with alternate desktop environments including KDE Plasma, LXQt, Xfce, MATE, and Budgie.

Since Ubuntu 23.04 isn’t an LTS (Long Term Support) release, it will only be officially supported with bug fixes and other software updates for 9 months after release (or about 3 months after the next version of Ubuntu is released). Users looking for something a bit more stable can check out Ubuntu 22.04 LTS “Jammy Jellyfish, which should be supported at least until April, 2027. “

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  1. Does the Steam Snap have gamescope support?

    I have Flatpaks for Steam, MangoHud and gamescope and sometimes things break the other. Right now, Flatpak gamescope hangs and doesn’t exit when you close a game. You have to play the cherry picking of versions for each Flatpak game (if you can find a combination).

    Would be nice if Canonical’s Snap supports gamescope and, hopefully, better integration testing.

  2. I don’t care. Ever since Canonical started shoving Snap down everyone’s throats by making the default image with the snap version of Firefox only, I ditched them.

    Debian or Fedora for me, tyvm.

    1. You’re not alone…

      I was a huge fan of ubuntu and their old desktop. Unity? I think it was called? The damn thing worked perfectly…then they scrapped it. The GNOME replacement I’ve never liked, but I did use it because it was the most familiar to me. I had been using ubuntu since 12.04.

      When snap came along…and then they started taking away peoples choices? I walked away.

      I moved over to Manjaro though. I like their KDE desktop. Have used debian…and would use it again. In fact…I know debian has a KDE desktop…I might take a look, but as far as ubuntu goes…I’d personally like to see ubuntu just close up shop. I refuse to use any of their desktops. The can pound sand as far as I’m concerned.

    2. Same…no desire to run snaps or flatpaks, so I prefer Mint still. Fedora is REALLY great though, flatpaks appear fine there.