Final Ubuntu Desktop 17.10 Beta Arrives

Oct 03, 2017

Ubuntu completes the cycle of life and goes back to letter A and Gnome.

Canonical has announced the release of the final beta of Ubuntu 17.10, code named Artful Aardvark. With this release, Ubuntu codenames have gone back to the beginning of the English alphabet. It’s actually an apt name, because with this release, Ubuntu is kind of starting fresh. Canonical dropped its desktop ambitions earlier this year, signaling the shutdown of efforts like Unity. This is the first release of Ubuntu that comes with Gnome as the official and default desktop environment and shell.

However, Canonical has ensured that people upgrading from the previous release of Ubuntu, running Unity 7, will not be in for a shock. Ubuntu developers have worked on adding some custom features and functionalities so that users don’t have to change their workflow too much.

Will Cooke, Director of Ubuntu Desktop at Canonical said, “… we’ve spent time making sure that the people who having been using Unity 7 for years don’t have to change their workflow too much. The most obvious example of this is the Ubuntu Dock (based on Dash To Dock and developed upstream).”

Ubuntu is also adopting Wayland as the default display server for the desktop, depending on the hardware. However, users can switch between Wayland and Xorg. Beyond these cosmetic changes to help existing Ubuntu users, Canonical is sticking to default Gnome settings and features. Some of the new features include the newly designed Gnome Settings. Ubuntu 17.10 brings support for all driverless printers, which means no need to install drivers.

Canonical has also discontinued its own Ubuntu Store, and it now defaults to Gnome software, which also allows it to update the system itself.

With this release, you can also move away from distro-specific RPM and DEB packages and use bundled Snap packages. Unfortunately, the rest of the desktop Linux world is rallying behind Flatpak, so it will be interesting to see if Canonical drops Snaps on the desktop and adopts Flatpak.

You can download the beta from the official Ubuntu page.

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