What's new in Ubuntu 17.10

Developers, Developers, Developers

When you look under the hood, most of the focus has been on developer tools and the developer experience. Like every other Linux vendor, Canonical tweaks the kernel. The 17.10 kernel adds support for Opal disk drives and numerous improvements to disk I/O. Namespaced file capabilities and Linux Security Module stacking reinforce Ubuntu's leadership in container capabilities for cloud and bare-metal Kubernetes, Docker, and LXD operations.

Ubuntu 17.10 has settled down with Netplan as the default network configuration manager, eliminating the fragmentation of NetworkManager, ifupdown, and half a dozen network interfaces. Canonical said that Netplan is backwards compatible, enabling interfaces to continue to be managed by tools like NetworkManager, while providing a simple overview of the entire system in a single place. The server and cloud editions of Ubuntu will assign network devices to systemd-networkd through Netplan.

Conclusion

Ubuntu is back to being a Gnome distribution. Ubuntu 17.10 offers the best of both worlds – out-of-the-box support for hardware, access to one of the biggest software ecosystems, ease of use, and all the innovation that the Gnome community brings to the table.

If you are running 17.04, it makes perfect sense to jump to 17.10 and start enjoying the new experience; your version won't be supported for longer either way. But if you are on an LTS release, I would suggest waiting for the 18.04 LTS edition, which will iron out most of the issues to prepare for LTS users.

By going back to Gnome, Canonical has freed itself from the unnecessary work it was doing on Unity. Those who don't like Gnome can use KDE Plasma or the Mate desktop environment. What about Unity? There are some independent developers who are trying to keep it alive.

Does it make sense for Canonical to create a Fedora-RHEL-like model where Ubuntu can become a community-driven distribution, whereas server and cloud can be a company-managed product? Shuttleworth has rejected that idea in the past, stating that the unique value that Canonical brings to the desktop Linux world is the same codebase and same product running in both enterprise and consumer space. There is no secret sauce. Everyone uses the same Ubuntu.

The Author

Swapnil Bhartiya is a writer and journalist covering Linux and open source for more than 10 years. He is also a science fiction writer whose stories have been broadcast on Indian radio and published in leading Indian magazines. He founded an open source web magazine while living in Europe. Swapnil currently resides in Washington, DC.

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