Ubuntu releases are made semiannually by Canonical Ltd, the developers of the Ubuntu operating system, using the year and month of the release as a version number. The first Ubuntu release, for example, was Ubuntu 4.10 and was released on 20 October 2004. Consequently, version numbers for future versions are provisional; if the release is delayed until a different month (or even year) to that planned, the version number will change accordingly.
Ubuntu releases are timed to be approximately one month after GNOME releases, which are in turn about one month after releases of X.Org, resulting in each Ubuntu release including a newer version of GNOME and X.
Every fourth release, in the second quarter of even-numbered years, has been designated as a Long Term Support (LTS) release, indicating that they are supported and receive updates for five years, with paid technical support also available from Canonical Ltd. However the desktop version of LTS releases before 12.04 were supported for only three years. Releases 14.04, and 16.04 are the current LTS releases. The support period for non-LTS is 9 months. Prior to 13.04 it was 18 months.
Ubuntu releases are also given code names, using an adjective and an animal with the same first letter (e.g. Dapper Drake). With the exception of the first two releases, code names are in alphabetical order, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer. As of Ubuntu 17.10, however, the initial letter 'rolled over' and returned to 'A'. Names are occasionally chosen so that animal appearance or habits reflects some new feature (e.g., "Koala's favourite leaf is Eucalyptus"; see below). Ubuntu releases are often referred to using only the adjective portion of the code name (e.g. Feisty).
Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog), released on 20 October 2004, was Canonical's first release of Ubuntu, building upon Debian, with plans for a new release every six months and eighteen months of support thereafter. Ubuntu 4.10's support ended on 30 April 2006. Ubuntu 4.10 was offered as a free download and, through Canonical's ShipIt service, was also mailed to users free of charge in CD format.
Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog), released on 8 April 2005, was Canonical's second release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 5.04's support ended on 31 October 2006. Ubuntu 5.04 added many new features including an Update Manager, upgrade notifier, readahead and grepmap, suspend, hibernate and standby support, dynamic frequency scaling for processors, ubuntu hardware database, Kickstart installation, and APT authentication. Ubuntu 5.04 allowed installation from USB devices. Beginning with Ubuntu 5.04, UTF-8 became the default character encoding.
Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger), released on 12 October 2005, was Canonical's third release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 5.10's support ended on 13 April 2007. Ubuntu 5.10 added several new features including a graphical bootloader (Usplash), an Add/Remove Applications tool, a menu editor (Alacarte), an easy language selector, logical volume management support, full Hewlett-Packard printer support, OEM installer support, a new Ubuntu logo in the top-left, and Launchpad integration for bug reporting and software development.
Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake), released on 1 June 2006, was Canonical's fourth release, and the first long-term support (LTS) release. Ubuntu 6.06 was released behind schedule, having been intended as 6.04. It is sometimes jokingly described as their first 'Late To Ship' (LTS) release. Development was not complete in April 2006 and Mark Shuttleworth approved slipping the release date to June, making it 6.06 instead.
Ubuntu 6.06's support ended on 14 July 2009 for desktops and ended in June 2011 for servers. Ubuntu 6.06 included several new features, including having the Live CD and Install CD merged onto one disc, a graphical installer on Live CD (Ubiquity), Usplash on shutdown as well as startup, a network manager for easy switching of multiple wired and wireless connections, Humanlooks theme implemented using Tango guidelines, based on Clearlooks and featuring orange colors instead of brown, and GDebi graphical installer for package files. Ubuntu 6.06 did not include a means to install from a USB device, but did for the first time allow installation directly onto removable USB devices.
Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft), released on 26 October 2006, was Canonical's fifth release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 6.10's support ended on 25 April 2008. Ubuntu 6.10 added several new features including a heavily modified Human theme, Upstart init daemon, automated crash reports (Apport), Tomboy note taking application, and F-Spot photo manager. EasyUbuntu, a third party program designed to make Ubuntu easier to use, was included in Ubuntu 6.10 as a meta-package.
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), released on 19 April 2007, was Canonical's sixth release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 7.04's support ended on 19 October 2008. Ubuntu 7.04 included several new features, among them a migration assistant to help former Microsoft Windows users transition to Ubuntu, support for Kernel-based Virtual Machine, assisted codec and restricted drivers installation including Adobe Flash, Java, MP3 support, easier installation of Nvidia and ATI drivers, Compiz desktop effects, support for Wi-Fi Protected Access, the addition of Sudoku and chess, a disk usage analyzer (baobab), GNOME Control Center, and Zeroconf support for many devices. Ubuntu 7.04 dropped support for PowerPC architecture.
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), released on 18 October 2007, was Canonical's seventh release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 7.10's support ended on 18 April 2009. Ubuntu 7.10 included several new features, among them AppArmor security framework, fast desktop search, a Firefox plug-in manager (Ubufox), a graphical configuration tool for X.Org, full NTFS support (read/write) via NTFS-3G, and a revamped printing system with PDF printing by default. Compiz Fusion was enabled as default in Ubuntu 7.10 and Fast user switching was added.
Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), released on 24 April 2008, was Canonical's eighth release of Ubuntu and the second Long Term Support (LTS) release. Ubuntu 8.04's support ended on 12 May 2011 for desktops and ended in April 2013 for servers. Ubuntu 8.04 included several new features, among them Tracker desktop search integration, Brasero disk burner, Transmission BitTorrent client, Vinagre VNC client, system sound through PulseAudio, and Active Directory authentication and login using Likewise Open. In addition Ubuntu 8.04 included updates for better Tango compliance, various Compiz usability improvements, automatic grabbing and releasing of the mouse cursor when running on a VMware virtual machine, and an easier method to remove Ubuntu. Ubuntu 8.04 was the first version of Ubuntu to include the Wubi installer on the Live CD that allows Ubuntu to be installed as a single file on a Windows hard drive without the need to repartition the disk. The first version of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix was also introduced. Support for Ubuntu Hardy Heron was officially ended on 9 May 2013.
Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex), released on 30 October 2008, was Canonical's ninth release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 30 April 2010. Ubuntu 8.10 introduced several new features including improvements to mobile computing and desktop scalability, increased flexibility for Internet connectivity, an Ubuntu Live USB creator and a guest account, which allowed others to use a computer allowing very limited user rights (e.g. accessing the Internet, using software and checking e-mail). The guest account had its own home folder and nothing done on it was stored permanently on the computer's hard disk. Intrepid Ibex also included an encrypted private directory for users, the inclusion of Dynamic Kernel Module Support, a tool that allows kernel drivers to be automatically rebuilt when new kernels are released and support for creating USB flash drive images.
Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), released on 23 April 2009, was Canonical's tenth release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 23 October 2010. New features included faster boot time, integration of web services and applications into the desktop interface. Because of that, they named it after the mythical jackalope. It was the first release named after a mythical animal, the second being Utopic Unicorn. It had a new usplash screen, a new login screen and also support for both Wacom (hotplugging) and netbooks. It also included a new notification system, Notify OSD, and themes. It marked the first time that all of Ubuntu's core development moved to the Bazaar distributed revision control system.
In an announcement to the community on 20 February 2009, Mark Shuttleworth explained that 9.10 would focus on improvements in cloud computing on the server using Eucalyptus, saying "...a Koala's favourite leaf is Eucalyptus", as well as further improvements in boot speed and development of the Netbook Remix.
The initial announcement of version 9.10 indicated that this release might include a new theme, however the project was moved forward to 10.04, and only minor revisions were made to the default theme. Other graphical improvements included a new set of boot up and shutdown splash screens, a new login screen that transitions seamlessly into the desktop and greatly improved performance on Intel graphics chipsets.
In June 2009, Canonical created the One Hundred Paper Cuts project, focusing developers to fix minor usability issues. A "paper cut" was defined as, "a trivially fixable usability bug that the average user would encounter on his/her first day of using a brand new installation of the latest version of Ubuntu Desktop Edition."
The desktop installation of Ubuntu 9.10 replaced Pidgin with Empathy Instant Messenger as its default instant messaging client. The default filesystem is ext4, and the Ubuntu One client, which interfaces with Canonical's new online storage system, is installed by default. It introduced Grub 2 beta as default bootloader. It also debuted a new application called the Ubuntu Software Center that unifies package management. Canonical stated their intention for this application to replace Add/Remove Programs (gnome-app-install) in 9.10 and possibly Synaptic, Software Sources, Gdebi and Update Manager in Ubuntu 10.04. Karmic Koala also includes a slideshow during the installation process (through ubiquity-slideshow) that highlights applications and features in Ubuntu.
Shuttleworth first announced Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) on 19 September 2009 at the Atlanta Linux Fest; Canonical released it on 29 April 2010. It is Canonical's 12th release of Ubuntu and the third Long Term Support (LTS) release. Canonical provided support for the desktop version of Ubuntu 10.04 until 9 May 2013 and the server version until 30 April 2015.
The new release includes, among other things, improved support for Nvidia proprietary graphics drivers, while switching to the open source Nvidia graphics driver, Nouveau, by default. Plymouth was also introduced allowing boot animations.
GIMP was removed from the Lucid installation CD due to its professional-grade complexity and its file size. F-Spot provides normal user-level graphics-editing capabilities and GIMP remains available for download in the repositories.
The distribution emphasizes the new importance of web services and social networking with integrated interfaces for posting to sites like Facebook and Twitter, complementing the IM and email integration already in Ubuntu.
On 4 March 2010, it was announced that Lucid Lynx would feature a new theme, including new logos, taking Ubuntu's new visual style into account:
The new style in Ubuntu is inspired by the idea of "Light".
We're drawn to Light because it denotes both warmth and clarity, and intrigued by the idea that "light" is a good value in software. Good software is "light" in the sense that it uses your resources efficiently, runs quickly, and can easily be reshaped as needed. Ubuntu represents a break with the bloatware of proprietary operating systems and an opportunity to delight to those who use computers for work and play. More and more of our communications are powered by light, and in future, our processing power will depend on our ability to work with light, too.
Visually, light is beautiful, light is ethereal, light brings clarity and comfort.
Historical perspective: From 2004–2010, the theme in Ubuntu was "Human". Our tagline was "Linux for Human Beings" and we used a palette reflective of the full range of humanity. Our focus as a project was bringing Linux from the data center into the lives of our friends and global family.
Critical responses to the new theme have been mixed. Ars Technica's Ryan Paul said "The new themes and updated color palette are nice improvement for Ubuntu... After testing the new theme for several hours, I feel like it's a step forward, but it still falls a bit short of my expectations." Paul also noted that the most controversial aspect of the new design amongst users has been the placement of the window control buttons on the left instead of the right side of the windows. TechSource's Jun Auza expressed concern that the new theme is too close to that used by Apple's Mac OS X: "I think Ubuntu is having an identity crisis right now and should seriously consider changing several things in terms of look and feel to avoid being branded as a Mac OS X rip-off, or worse, get sued by Apple." Auza also summarized Ubuntu user feedback: "I believe the fans are divided right now. Some have learned to love the brown color scheme since it uniquely represents Ubuntu, while others wanted change."
The first point release, 10.04.1, was made available on 17 August 2010, and the second update, 10.04.2, was released on 17 February 2011. The third update, 10.04.3, was released on 21 July 2011, and the fourth and final update, 10.04.4, was released on 16 February 2012.
The naming of Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) was announced by Mark Shuttleworth on 2 April 2010, along with the release's goals of improving the netbook experience and a server focus on hybrid cloud computing. Ubuntu 10.10 was released on 10 October 2010 (10.10.10) at around 10:10 UTC. This is a departure from the traditional schedule of releasing at the end of October to get "the perfect 10", and a playful reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, since, in binary, 101010 is equal to the number 42, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything" within the series. It was Canonical's 13th release of Ubuntu. New features included the new Unity interface for the Netbook Edition, a new default photo manager, Shotwell, replacing F-Spot, the ability to purchase applications in the Software Center, and an official Ubuntu font used by default. Support for Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat 10.10 was officially ended on 10 April 2012.
The naming of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) was announced on 17 August 2010 by Mark Shuttleworth. Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal was released on 28 April 2011. It is Canonical's 14th release of Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 11.04 used the Unity user interface instead of GNOME Shell as default. The move to Unity was controversial as some GNOME developers feared it would fracture the community and marginalize GNOME Shell. The GNOME desktop environment is still available in Ubuntu 11.04 under the title Ubuntu Classic as a fallback to Unity.
Ubuntu 11.04 employed Banshee as the default music player, replacing Rhythmbox. Other new applications included Mozilla Firefox 4 and LibreOffice, which replaced OpenOffice.org. The OpenStack cloud computing platform was added in this release.
In reviewing Ubuntu 11.04 upon its stable release, Ryan Paul of Ars Technica said "There is a lot to like in Ubuntu 11.04, but also a lot of room for improvement." Jesse Smith of Distrowatch said "I'm of the opinion there are good features in this release, but 11.04 definitely suffered from being rushed out the door while it was still beta quality. Ubuntu aims to be novice-friendly, but this release is buggy and I think they missed the mark this time around. I'm limiting my recommendation of 11.04 to people who want to play with an early release of Unity." Support for Ubuntu 11.04 officially ended on 28 October 2012.
The naming of Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) was announced on 7 March 2011 by Mark Shuttleworth. He explained that Oneiric means "dreamy". Ubuntu 11.10 was released on schedule on 13 October 2011 and is Canonical's 15th release of Ubuntu.
In April 2011 Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 11.10 would not include the classic GNOME desktop as a fall back to Unity, unlike Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Instead, 11.10 included a 2D version of Unity as a fallback for computers that lacked the hardware resources for the Compiz-based 3D version. However, the classic GNOME desktop remained available in Ubuntu 11.10 through a package in the Ubuntu repositories. Shuttleworth also confirmed that Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 would run as a shell for GNOME 3 on top of GNOME 3 libraries, unlike in Ubuntu 11.04 where it ran as a shell for GNOME 2. Moreover, users were able to install the entire GNOME 3 stack along with GNOME Shell directly from the Ubuntu repositories; to be presented with a "GNOME 3 desktop" choice at login. During the development cycle there were many changes to Unity, including the placement of the Ubuntu button on the Launcher instead of on the Panel, the autohiding of the window controls (and the global menu) of maximized windows, the introduction of more transparency into the Dash (and the Panel when the Dash was opened) and the introduction of window controls for the Dash.
In May 2011, it was announced that PiTiVi would be no longer part of the Ubuntu ISO, starting with Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. The reasons given for removing it included poor user reception, lack of fit with the default user-case for Ubuntu, lack of polish and the application's lack of development maturity. PiTiVi will not be replaced on the ISO with another video editor. Other changes include removing Computer Janitor, as it caused broken systems for users, and the removal of the Synaptic package manager, which can optionally be installed via the Ubuntu Software Center. Déjà Dup has been added as Ubuntu's backup program. Mozilla Thunderbird has replaced the Evolution email client. All removed applications will remain available to users for installation from the Ubuntu Software Center and repositories. Support for Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot was officially ended on 9 May 2013.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) is Canonical's sixteenth release of Ubuntu and its fourth Long Term Support (LTS) release, made available on schedule on 26 April 2012. It is named after the pangolin anteater. Previous LTS releases have been supported for three years for the desktop version and five years for the server version; this release was supported for five years for both versions, with support ending on April 28, 2017.
Changes in this release include a much faster startup time for the Ubuntu Software Center and refinements to Unity. This release also switched the default media player from Banshee back to Rhythmbox and dropped the Tomboy note-taking application and the supporting Mono framework as well. Also, the window dodge feature has been removed from the Unity launcher starting with Ubuntu 12.04.
Ubuntu 12.04 incorporated a new head-up display (HUD) feature that allows hotkey searching for application menu items from the keyboard, without needing the mouse. Shuttleworth said that the HUD "will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications" but for Ubuntu 12.04 at least the menus will remain.
Ubuntu 12.04 is the first Ubuntu release shipped with IPv6 privacy extensions turned on by default. Ubuntu 11.10 already supported IPv6 on the desktop and in the installer (stateless address autoconfiguration SLAAC, stateless DHCPv6 and stateful DHCPv6).
Like other LTS releases, 12.04 included point releases that bundled updates to shorten downloads for users installing the release later in its lifecycle. The point releases and dates were: 12.04.1 (23 August 2012), 12.04.2 (14 February 2013), 12.04.3 (scheduled for release on 22 August 2013, but actually released on 23 August 2013) and 12.04.4 (6 February 2014). The last point release was 12.04.5, released on 7 August 2014.
Jesse Smith of DistroWatch said that many people, like he, had questioned Ubuntu's direction, including Unity. But with Ubuntu 12.04 he felt that the puzzle pieces, which individually may have been underwhelming, had come together to form a whole, clear picture. He said "Unity, though a step away from the traditional desktop, has several features which make it attractive, such as reducing mouse travel. The HUD means that newcomers can find application functionality with a quick search and more advanced users can use the HUD to quickly run menu commands from the keyboard." He wrote that Unity had grown to maturity, while indicating that he was bothered by its lack of flexibility. He did notice issues, however, especially that the HUD did not work in LibreOffice and performance in a virtual machine was unsatisfactory. He concluded that Ubuntu's overall experience was "head and shoulders above anything else in the Linux ecosystem."
Jim Lynch wrote "Ubuntu 12.04 is definitely worth an upgrade if you're running an earlier version. Unity is finally coming into its own in this release, plus there are other enhancements that make upgrading worthwhile. Ubuntu is getting better and better with each release. I was one of the Unity skeptics initially, but I've come to accept it as part of Ubuntu."
Jack Wallen of TechRepublic – who had strongly criticized early versions of Unity – said "Since Ubuntu 12.04 was released, and I migrated over from Linux Mint, I'm working much more efficiently. This isn't really so much a surprise to me, but to many of the detractors who assume Unity a very unproductive desktop... well, I can officially say they are wrong. [...] I realize that many people out there have spurned Unity (I was one of them for a long time), but the more I use it, the more I realize that Canonical really did their homework on how to help end users more efficiently interact with their computers. Change is hard – period. For many, the idea of change is such a painful notion they wind up missing out on some incredible advancements. Unity is one such advancement."
On 23 April 2012 Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 12.10 would be named Quantal Quetzal. As this will be the first of a series of three releases before the next LTS release, Shuttleworth indicated that it will include a refreshed look, with work to be done on typography and iconography. The release takes its name from the quetzal, a species of Central American birds. Ubuntu 12.10 was released on schedule on 18 October 2012 and is Canonical's seventeenth release of the operating system.
Ryan Paul, writing for Ars Technica, said in April 2012 when the name was announced "A Quetzal is a colorful bird that is common to Central America. The most well-known variety, the resplendent quetzal, is known for its beauty. The name is a good fit for Ubuntu, which aims to soar in the cloud, offer visual appeal without compromising function, and avoid smacking into closed windows."
The Ubuntu Developer Summit held in May 2012 set the priorities for this release. They are forecast to include an improved boot up sequence and log-in screen, dropping Unity 2D in favor of lower hardware requirements for Unity 3D, wrap around dialogs and toolbars for the HUD and a "vanilla" version of Gnome-Shell as an option. The release would likely include GNOME 3.6, Python 3 and the 3.5 Linux kernel. It would ship with Python 3 in the image, but with Python 2 available in the repositories, via the "python" package. The kernel will have the PAE switched on by default.
In July 2012, development versions of Ubuntu 12.10 received a new combined user, session and system menu. This release also included Ubuntu Web Apps, a means of running web applications directly from the desktop, without having to open a browser. It would use Nautilus 3.4 as its file manager, in place of the 3.5 and newer versions, to retain features deleted from later versions.
In September 2012, Canonical's Kate Stewart announced that the Ubuntu 12.10 image would not fit on a compact disc, saying "There is no longer a traditional CD sized image, DVD or alternate image, but rather a single 800MB Ubuntu image that can be used from USB or DVD." However, a third-party project has created a version of Ubuntu 12.10 that fits on a CD. It uses LZMA2 compression instead of the DEFLATE compression used on the official Ubuntu DVD image.
Also in late September 2012, it was announced that the version of Unity to be shipped with Ubuntu 12.10 would by default include searches of Amazon.com for searched terms. This move caused immediate controversy among Ubuntu users, particularly with regard to privacy issues, and caused Mark Shuttleworth to issue a statement indicating that this feature is not adware and labelled many of the objections "FUD" (Fear, uncertainty and doubt). Shuttleworth stated "What we have in 12.10 isn't the full experience, so those who leap to judgement are at maximum risk of having to eat their words later. Chill out. If the first cut doesn't work for you, remove it, or just search the specific scope you want (there are hotkeys for all the local scopes)." Regardless, users filed a Launchpad bug report on the feature requesting that it be made a separate lens and not included with general desktop searches for files, directories and applications. The degree of community push-back on the issue resulted in plans by the developers to make the dash and where it searches user-configurable via a GUI-setting dialogue. Despite concerns that the setting dialogue would not make the final version of Ubuntu 12.10, it was completed and is present in the final version of 12.10.
In the week prior to the stable release of Ubuntu 12.10 data-privacy advocate Luís de Sousa indicated that the inclusion of the shopping lens, installed without explicit permission of the user, violates European Directive 95/46/EC on data privacy. That directive requires that the "data subject has unambiguously given his consent" in situations where personal identifying information is sent.
In reviewing Ubuntu 12.10 at the end of October 2012 for DistroWatch, Jesse Smith raised concerns about the Amazon shopping lens, saying, "it has raised a number of privacy concerns in the community and, looking over Ubuntu's legal notice about privacy does not provide any reassurance. The notice informs us Canonical reserves the right to share our keystrokes, search terms and IP address with a number of third parties, including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and the BBC. This feature is enabled by default, but can be turned off through the distribution's settings panel." He also found that the dash provided very slow performance and that the release was "practically unusable in the VirtualBox environment". He summed up his experiences, "After a day and a half of using Ubuntu 12.10 it was an internal struggle not to wipe my hard drive and just find another distribution to review. During the first twenty-four hours Ubuntu spied on me, provided performance which was distinctly sub par, the interface regularly popped up errors (sometimes so frequently the first pop-up wouldn't have faded out of view before the next one appeared), the update notification didn't work and it wasn't possible to turn off accessibility features through the graphical interface. Adding insult to injury, the Unity dash kept locking up or losing focus while I was trying to use it and the operating system crashed more times than not while trying to shutdown or logout. Switching away from Unity to GNOME Fallback helped the performance issues I had experienced with the Dash, but it didn't remove the annoying pop-up errors and performance (while usable) still wasn't as good as I would expect. And what really makes me scratch my head is Ubuntu 12.04 worked really well on this same hardware."
In early November, the Electronic Frontier Foundation made a statement on the shopping lens issue, "Technically, when you search for something in Dash, your computer makes a secure HTTPS connection to productsearch.ubuntu.com, sending along your search query and your IP address. If it returns Amazon products to display, your computer then insecurely loads the product images from Amazon's server over HTTP. This means that a passive eavesdropper, such as someone sharing a wireless network with you, will be able to get a good idea of what you're searching for on your own computer based on Amazon product images. It's a major privacy problem if you can't find things on your own computer without broadcasting what you're looking for to the world."
Writing about Ubuntu 12.10 in a December 2012 review, Jim Lynch addressed the Amazon controversy:
|“||One of the desktop changes that some folks might not like is the web app link to Amazon.com... This might come across as a bridge too far in terms of the outright commercialization of Ubuntu. And it is an eery [sic] reminder of all the garbage that gets installed on Windows PCs by default, by the hardware companies. Is this where Ubuntu is going? Will you someday boot into your Ubuntu desktop only to find tons of commercial crapware clogging up your desktop by default? I sure hope not, as it will be another reason for people to avoid Ubuntu.||”|
He concluded by saying, "Overall, Ubuntu 12.10 is a decent upgrade for current Ubuntu users. However, the inclusion of the Amazon icon on the launcher, and the discontinuation of Unity 2D might irritate some people."
Support for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal officially ended on 16 May 2014.
On 17 October 2012, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 13.04 would be named Raring Ringtail and said about this release "[In the next six months] we want to have the phone, tablet and TV all lined up. So I think it's time to look at the core of Ubuntu and review it through a mobile lens: let's measure our core platform by mobile metrics, things like battery life, number of running processes, memory footprint, and polish the rough edges that we find when we do that."
The Wubi installer was dropped as of 13.04, due to its incompatibility with Windows 8, and general lack of support and development. Previously, on 29 October 2012, at Ubuntu Developer Summit Registration there had been a discussion of redesigning Wubi for Ubuntu 13.04.
Ubuntu 13.04 was released on schedule on 25 April 2013.
In reviewing Ubuntu 13.04 Jim Lynch from Desktop Linux Reviews said, "I found Ubuntu 13.04 to be a slightly disappointing upgrade. While there are definitely some enhancements in this release, there's also nothing very special about it ... Alas, there's nothing in Ubuntu 13.04 that makes me want to consider it for use as my daily distro. Don't misunderstand me, there's nothing overtly wrong with Ubuntu 13.04 either. It installed and performed very well for me. Unity 7 also has some helpful and attractive updates that Ubuntu users will enjoy, and there are other things in this release that help improve the overall Ubuntu experience...I suspect it is simply because Ubuntu has settled into a comfortable middle age, it works and it works very well for what it does."
Support for Ubuntu 13.04 officially ended on 27 January 2014.
Ubuntu 13.10 is named Saucy Salamander. It was released on schedule on 17 October 2013.
Consideration was given to changing the default browser from Mozilla Firefox to Chromium, but problems with timely updates to Ubuntu's Chromium package caused developers to retain Firefox for this release.
Ubuntu 13.10 was intended to be the first Ubuntu release to replace the aging X11 with the Mir display server, with X11 programs to have operated through the XMir compatibility layer. However, after the development of XMir ran into "outstanding technical difficulties" for multiple monitors, Canonical decided to postpone the default use of Mir in Ubuntu. Mir will still be released as the default display server for Ubuntu Touch 13.10.
Ryan Paul of Ars Technica wrote that although 13.10 brings useful enhancements, it is "a relatively thin update". He also said "the new Dash concept is intriguing, but its usefulness is a bit limited"; and even though he thinks that universal Web search is potentially useful, he's somewhat uncomfortable with how Canonical joins it with local system searches.
In a review of Ubuntu 13.10 Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu criticized the new Smart Scopes feature, saying, "...it's less of a help and more of a hindrance. With so many web services offering results for a search term – however innocuous it might be – the Dash ends up resembling a wall painted in unintelligible, irrelevant mess." Sneddon noted that internet search engines turn in more useful and better organized results and recommended selectively disabling individual scopes to reduce the noise factor.
Jim Lynch of Linux Desktop Reviews described the release as "boring" and noted, "alas, Ubuntu 13.10 follows in the footsteps of Ubuntu 13.04. The big new desktop feature is Smart Scopes ... Beyond that there's not a whole lot that is interesting or exciting to talk about. It turns out that Saucy Salamander is one truly dull amphibian. Canonical really should rename this release to 'Snoozing Salamander' instead." Lynch described the Smart Scopes, "this is a very useful function, and it can save you a lot of time when looking for information. I understand that some people will regard this as a privacy violation, no problem. There's an easy way to disable Smart Scopes."
Maria Korolov writing for Network World in December 2013 said of the release, "there is a benefit to be had in being able to search for files you own on both local drives and in cloud services such as Google Drive and Flickr. That's the idea behind Unity Smart Scopes...The result is a cluttered mess. The first thing many users will probably do after installing Ubuntu 13.10 is to get rid of most of these results...mixing generic Web results in with your own files is just confusing."
Support for Ubuntu 13.10 ended on 17 July 2014.
This version was released on 17 April 2014, and is the 20th release of Ubuntu. Shuttleworth indicated that the focus in this development cycle would be a release characterized by "performance, refinement, maintainability, technical debt" and encouraged the developers to make "conservative choices". Technical debt refers to catching up and refining supporting work for earlier changes. The development cycle for this release focused on the tablet interface, specifically for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. There were few changes to the desktop as 14.04 used the existing mature Unity 7 interface. Ubuntu 14.04 included the ability to turn off the global menu system and used locally integrated menus instead for individual applications. Other features were the retention of Xorg and not Mir or XMir, a Unity 8 developers' preview, new mobile applications, a redesigned USB Start-Up Disk Creator tool, a new forked version of the GNOME Control Center, called the Unity Control Center and default SSD TRIM support. GNOME 3.10 is installed by default.
Point releases included 14.04.1 on 24 July 2014, 14.04.2 on 19 February 2015, 14.04.3 on 6 August 2015, 14.04.4 on 18 February 2016 and 14.04.5 on 4 August 2016. The release initially included Linux kernel 3.13, but this was updated to 4.2 with the point release of 14.04.4 on 18 February 2016. The final point release, 14.04.5, provided the latest Linux kernel and graphics stacks from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Point release 14.04.5 was the final one for 14.04 LTS.
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu noted that recent Ubuntu releases have received lower and lower amounts of mainstream press coverage and termed it an "established product that has, by and large, remained a niche interest".
In reviewing Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in April 2014, Jim Lynch concluded: "Ubuntu 14.04 seems to be all about refining the Ubuntu desktop. While there are not a lot of amazing new features in this release, there are quite a few very useful and needed tweaks that add up to a much better desktop experience. Canonical's designers seem to be listening to Ubuntu users again, and they seem willing to make the changes necessary to give the users what they want. That may be the single most important thing about Ubuntu 14.04. It could be an indication of a sea change in Canonical's attitude toward Ubuntu users."
Jack Wallin writing for Tech Republic termed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, "as polished a distribution as you'll find. It's cleaner, performs better, and is all around improved. Some users may say that this is the most boring release Canonical has unleashed in years, but I believe it to be one of the finest."
Terry Relph-Knight of ZDNet said, "although there are no amazing 'must-have' new features in Ubuntu 14.04, it is worth upgrading just to get the latest LTS release with a more recent kernel and default applications."
Scott Gilbertson of Ars Technica stated, "Ubuntu is one of the most polished desktops around, certainly the most polished in the Linux world, but in many ways that polish is increasingly skin deep at the expense of some larger usability issues which continue to go unaddressed release after release."
On 23 April 2014 Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 14.10 would carry the name Utopic Unicorn. Version 14.10 was released on 23 October, having only minor updates to the kernel, Unity Desktop, and included packages such as LibreOffice and Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. The kernel was updated to 3.16 for hardware support (e.g. graphics) and has for security, full kernel address space layout randomization applied to the kernel and its modules, plus the closure of a number of information leaks in /proc.
This version is the 21st release. Ubuntu 14.10 was officially characterized as a release that addressed "bug fixes and incremental quality improvements" and so it incorporated very few new features.
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu wrote in reviewing this release, "Ubuntu 14.10, codenamed "Utopic Unicorn", is saddled with a modest changelog, composed largely of bug fixes, stability improvements and key software updates. All worthy, but falls a little way short of the "fresh ideas and new art" that should "raise the roof" – quotes from Mark Shuttleworth's "U” name announcement...For the release taking place in the week of Ubuntu's 10th anniversary, this may all read like a bit of an anticlimax. No headline user features, no visual changes (bar a few new icons for the sidebar of Nautilus) – there's not even a new default wallpaper to look at...But on the flip side it's perhaps the most fitting release; the one that shows just how far Ubuntu has come in the past few years. Mature, dependable and sure in its own (Ambiance-themed) skin, buggy feature churn has given way to a sustained era of assured stability...Ubuntu 14.10 is a rock-solid, hearty and dependable release. Perhaps more here than ever before. There's no getting away from the fact that it's an uninspiring update on paper, and is far from being anything approaching essential."
Michael Larabel of Phoronix wrote, "At the end of the day simple end-users won't see much of a difference over Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which is a bit sad given that this is the tenth anniversary release of Ubuntu Linux. For everyday Linux desktop users the many upgraded packages are great but there isn't too much more to celebrate about today on the desktop front."
Scott Gilbertson, writing for The Register, explained, "I've been covering Ubuntu for seven of the release's 10 years and 14.10 is the first time I've had to dig deep into the release notes just to find something new to test...If you needed further proof that Canonical is currently solely focused on bringing its Unity 8 interface to mobile devices, 14.10 is the best evidence yet...Almost nothing Canonical develops has changed in this release – there isn't even a new desktop wallpaper. There are some updates to be sure, but they don't hail from Canonical...The lack of updates isn't unexpected, in fact that's been the plan all along...Desktop Ubuntu is currently in a kind of suspended animation, waiting on Unity 8 and Mir to be ready for its coming metamorphosis. The short story is that it makes no sense for Canonical to keep refining Unity 7 when it will soon be retired."
Silviu Stahie, writing for Softpedia, said about this release while it was in beta, "Ubuntu 15.04 is not an exciting release, but that it's only a surface impression. The truth is that it's an important upgrade because some very important changes have been made, including the adoption of systemd. Users will notice that not too many visual changes have been implemented in Ubuntu 15.04, but that was to be expected. The team is transitioning to a new Unity version that is still not ready for general use, so it's easy to understand why Ubuntu 15.04 is not all that different from Ubuntu 14.10."
This release included modest improvements in Intel Haswell graphics performance and bigger improvements for AMD Radeon graphics cards using the open-source Radeon R600 and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers.
In reviewing this release, Joey Sneddon, of OMG Ubuntu, said "Ubuntu 15.04 is yet another solid entry in the distribution's long release history. A dependable desktop operating system suited for end users but with plenty of convenient extras to woo developers with. Though the Unity 7 desktop is largely mothballed as work progresses on the new converged experience with Unity 8, the modest refinements received here buff the experience. Unity in Ubuntu 15.04 shines brighter, a glowing example of a desktop that 'just works' for users.".
Jesse Smith of DistroWatch wrote, "One of the changes I was interested in exploring was Ubuntu's switch from the Upstart init software to systemd. In this regard I was pleasantly surprised. I find most distributions, when they initially make the switch to systemd, introduce bugs or, at the very least, break backward compatibility. Sometimes service managers stop working properly and network device names usually change. Even if everything works as it should, the administrator needs to adjust to systemd's approach to logging and adopt a different method of managing services. Ubuntu has taken an approach I like with regards to adopting systemd." He concluded, "on the surface, Ubuntu 15.04 does not bring many changes. There are a few cosmetic adjustments, but nothing major that desktop users are likely to notice. Most of the interesting work appears to be going on behind the scenes... Ubuntu 15.04 feels very stable and easy to configure. This is an operating system that is virtually effortless to set up and run and I feel the Unity 7 desktop does a nice job of providing lots of features while staying out of the way... All in all, I like what Canonical has done with Ubuntu 15.04. This feels like a small, incremental evolution for Ubuntu and Unity. The init switch, which has disrupted the users of several other distributions, goes largely unnoticed in Ubuntu and I think that is worthy of praise."
Shuttleworth announced on 4 May 2015 that Ubuntu 15.10 would be called Wily Werewolf. He initially expressed hope that the release would include the Mir display server, but it was released on 22 October 2015 without Mir. It was the 23rd release of Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 15.10 eliminated the disappearing window edge scrollbars in favour of the upstream GNOME scrollbars, a move designed to save developer time in creating patches and updates.
In reviewing the release, Chris Jones wrote, "Ubuntu 15.10 as an operating system for Review is pretty lackluster. There's nothing new as such and there's nothing we can really say that is going to change your opinion from its predecessor, 15.04. Therefore, we recommend you to upgrade either out of habit and according to your regular upgrade schedule rather than out of a specific necessity for a specific feature of this release. Because there is really nothing that could possibly differentiate it from the older, yet still very stable 15.04 release. But if you're going to stick with 15.04 for a little longer, we do recommend that you look at upgrading the kernel to the latest 4.2 branch. It is worth it. If you really want a reason to upgrade? Linux kernel 4.2 would be our sole reason for taking Ubuntu 15.10 into consideration."
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu noted, "For a release named after a terrifying mythological creature Ubuntu 15.10 is surprisingly tame. There are no dramatic transformations, no bone popping or shirt ripping and certainly no hair sprouting under the milky eye of full moon. In fact, a new wallpaper and change in scrollbar appearance is about as shapeshift-y as this werewolf gets."
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet praised the release for its integration of cloud services, such as the new Ubuntu OpenStack cloud deployment and management tool, OpenStack Autopilot as well as its server tools. Ubuntu's machine container hypervisor, LXD, included by default in 15.10, was singled out. Vaughan-Nichols concluded, "with these advances, chances are you're more likely to use Ubuntu, hidden behind the scenes, on clouds and servers."
A Hectic Geek review noted problems with X.Org Server crashes and concluded "If you use Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and if it's working out for you, then there really is no need to switch to a non-LTS release, especially to the 15.10."
A review on Dedoimedo identified problems with Samba, Bluetooth, desktop searching, battery life and the smartphone interface and found the release inconsistent, saying, "unpredictability is horrible. Give me a good experience, or give me a bad experience, but please try not to seesaw between them erratically. Continuous, steady change in behavior, any which way." The review concluded, "it underperforms compared to some of its siblings and ancestors. Not the best, definitely not worth a perma upgrade, but you might find it more palatable to your hardware and use cases. Overall, though Wily isn't the best of distros. It sure gave me the willies. 7/10."
The default desktop environment continues to be Unity 7, with an option for Unity 8. In May 2015, Shuttleworth indicated that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS would include Unity 8 and Mir, but that users have a choice of that or Unity 7 and X.org. He said, "Unity 8 will be an option for 16.04 and we'll let the community decide the default for 16.04."
The release adds support for Ceph and ZFS filesystems, the LXD hypervisor (using seccomp) for OpenStack, and Snappy packages will be supported. It will use systemd instead of Upstart as its init system. This release will replace the Ubuntu Software Centre with GNOME Software and eliminate Empathy and Brasero from the ISO file. Reviewer Jack Wallen said, "The truth of the matter is, the Ubuntu Software Center has been a horrible tool for a very long time. Making this move will greatly improve the Ubuntu experience for every user."
This release has online dash search results disabled by default in Unity 7. "None of your search terms will leave your computer", stated Ubuntu desktop manager Will Cooke. Reviewer Jack Wallen said about this, "I've never considered the inclusion of online search results to be spyware. In fact, I have always considered the online results to be an efficient means of searching for products through Amazon (etc.). That being said, with the release of 16.04, this feature is disabled."
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS does not support the AMD Catalyst (fglrx) driver for AMD/ATI graphics cards and instead recommends the free software radeon and amdgpu alternatives. These may not provide optimal graphics performance, however. AMDGPU-PRO is available for Ubuntu 16.04
The first point release, 16.04.1, was released on 21 July 2016. Release of Ubuntu 16.04.2 was delayed a number of times, but it was eventually released on 17 February 2017. Ubuntu 16.04.3 was released on 3 August 2017.
This release features a maintenance version of Unity 7, but offers Unity 8 packages included in the ISO, so that users can test them. Other improvements include a new version of Ubuntu Software that supports faster loading, better support for installing command-line-only non-GUI applications, support for installing fonts and multimedia codecs and introduction of paid applications. It is based on Linux kernel version 4.8.
This version of Ubuntu introduced only minor incremental changes. These included LibreOffice 5.2, GTK3 version by default, the Update Manager shows changelog entries for Personal Package Archives (PPAs) as well as repository software, GNOME applications updated to version 3.20, with some using version 3.22. Also systemd now handles user sessions as well as the previously implemented system sessions.
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu said, "Ubuntu 16.10 is not a big update over Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, released back in April. If you were hoping it'd be a compelling or must-have upgrade you'll be sadly disappointed." He did find some improvements, "The Ubuntu Software app is also significantly faster in use. This solves a real pet peeve of mine on the incumbent LTS desktop. Thankfully, Yakkety makes it quicker to find, browser, search and install applications," but concluded, "Ubuntu 16.10 is not a must-have upgrade—not for most people."
Marius Nestor of Softpedia noted, "Ubuntu 16.10 is not an exciting release for fans of the open source operating system. Probably the most important feature of Yakkety Yak is Linux kernel 4.8, which brings support for the latest hardware, but other than that, you'll get some updated components that are mostly based on the old GNOME 3.20 Stack."
Writing in Makeuseof, Bertel King, Jr. said, "If you're feeling underwhelmed, you probably remember the Ubuntu of yesteryear. Back in the days of 8.10, 9.04, and 10.04 each release brought forth a new theme or ambitious feature. Unity first appeared in 10.10 as a netbook interface before replacing the regular desktop in 11.04. By comparison, modern Ubuntu updates feel relatively stagnant. You would be forgiven for not being able to distinguish between 12.04 and 16.10."
On 17 October 2016, Mark Shuttleworth announced that the codename of Ubuntu 17.04, released on 13 April 2017, would be Zesty Zapus.
This release dropped support for the 32-bit PowerPC architecture, following the same move by the upstream Debian project. Other changes include the default DNS resolver now being systemd-resolved, Linux kernel 4.10, and support for printers which allow printing without printer-specific drivers.
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu said of this release, "this is no normal release of Ubuntu. It's potentially the last version of the distribution that will come with the Unity 7 desktop by default. That's not a certainty, of course, but we know that Ubuntu will switch to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS next year. It's reasonable to expect developers to want to kick a few tyres on that switch ahead of time, in the next interim release. A bittersweet release then, Ubuntu 17.04 sees the distro reach the end of the alphabet in codenames, and the end of an era in everything else. Sadly there's not an awful lot to say. Unity is, by and large, the same as it is in the 16.04 LTS....Ubuntu 17.04 is an iterative update with modest appeal. While there is little compelling reason for anyone running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to upgrade (especially for those who opt receive the newer hardware enablement stack) it's not an irrelevant release. Ubuntu 16.10 users will want to upgrade to Ubuntu 17.04 for the general around improvements, access to newer apps, and because the truncated support period of these short term releases necessitates it."
Maruis Nestor of Softpedia called it, "a powerful release, both inside and outside" and noted, "the default desktop environment remains Unity 7, so your beloved Ubuntu desktop environment is not going anyway at the moment. It will also be available in the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 release, whose development will start next month. After that, starting with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the GNOME desktop will be used by default."
The name of this release, Artful Aardvark, was announced via Launchpad on 21 April 2017, instead of on Shuttleworth's blog as has been the case in the past. It was released on 19 October 2017.
This was the first release of Ubuntu to use the GNOME Shell interface, and replaced X11 with the Wayland display server. In May 2017, Ken VanDine, a Canonical Software Engineer on the Ubuntu desktop team tasked with the switch to GNOME, confirmed that the intention is to ship the most current version of GNOME, with very few changes from a stock installation.
This release also dropped support for 32-bit desktop images.
Writer J.A. Watson of ZDNet said, "I have not been much of an Ubuntu fan for a long time now, but this release includes a lot of significant changes, many of which might address some of my most serious objections about Ubuntu. So I think I should take a closer look at it than I normally do." He noted on printer configuration, "I got a notice that our wireless printer had been successfully configured. I hadn't even thought about trying to set up a printer yet, so that was a very nice surprise - and a good thing to point out to those who are still going around spouting 5+ years out of date information about how difficult it is to use printers with Linux."
On 5 April 2017 Shuttleworth announced that this release, a year away at that time, will abandon the Unity desktop and employ the GNOME 3 desktop instead, as Canonical moves away from its ambitions to produce a unified mobile and desktop operating system and concentrates on desktop, cloud computing and IoT platforms instead.
|Version||Code name||Release date||Supported until||Initial kernel version|
|4.10||Warty Warthog||2004-10-20||Old version, no longer supported: 2006-04-30||2.6.8|
|5.04||Hoary Hedgehog||2005-04-08||Old version, no longer supported: 2006-10-31||2.6.10|
|5.10||Breezy Badger||2005-10-13||Old version, no longer supported: 2007-04-13||2.6.12|
|6.06 LTS||Dapper Drake||2006-06-01||Old version, no longer supported: 2009-07-14||Old version, no longer supported: 2011-06-01||2.6.15|
|6.10||Edgy Eft||2006-10-26||Old version, no longer supported: 2008-04-25||2.6.17|
|7.04||Feisty Fawn||2007-04-19||Old version, no longer supported: 2008-10-19||2.6.20|
|7.10||Gutsy Gibbon||2007-10-18||Old version, no longer supported: 2009-04-18||2.6.22|
|8.04 LTS||Hardy Heron||2008-04-24||Old version, no longer supported: 2011-05-12||Old version, no longer supported: 2013-05-09||2.6.24|
|8.10||Intrepid Ibex||2008-10-30||Old version, no longer supported: 2010-04-30||2.6.27|
|9.04||Jaunty Jackalope||2009-04-23||Old version, no longer supported: 2010-10-23||2.6.28|
|9.10||Karmic Koala||2009-10-29||Old version, no longer supported: 2011-04-30||2.6.31|
|10.04 LTS||Lucid Lynx||2010-04-29||Old version, no longer supported: 2013-05-09||Old version, no longer supported: 2015-04-30||2.6.32|
|10.10||Maverick Meerkat||2010-10-10||Old version, no longer supported: 2012-04-10||2.6.35|
|11.04||Natty Narwhal||2011-04-28||Old version, no longer supported: 2012-10-28||2.6.38|
|11.10||Oneiric Ocelot||2011-10-13||Old version, no longer supported: 2013-05-09||3.0|
|12.04 LTS||Precise Pangolin||2012-04-26||Old version, no longer supported: 2017-04-28||3.2, EDM includes it or 3.13|
|12.10||Quantal Quetzal||2012-10-18||Old version, no longer supported: 2014-05-16||3.5 3.13|
|13.04||Raring Ringtail||2013-04-25||Old version, no longer supported: 2014-01-27||3.8|
|13.10||Saucy Salamander||2013-10-17||Old version, no longer supported: 2014-07-17||3.11|
|14.04 LTS||Trusty Tahr||2014-04-17||Older version, yet still supported: 2019-04||3.13|
|14.10||Utopic Unicorn||2014-10-23||Old version, no longer supported: 2015-07-23||3.16|
|15.04||Vivid Vervet||2015-04-23||Old version, no longer supported: 2016-02-04||3.19|
|15.10||Wily Werewolf||2015-10-22||Old version, no longer supported: 2016-07-28||4.2|
|16.04 LTS||Xenial Xerus||2016-04-21||Older version, yet still supported: 2021-04||4.4|
|16.10||Yakkety Yak||2016-10-13||Old version, no longer supported: 2017-07-20||4.8|
|17.04||Zesty Zapus||2017-04-13||Older version, yet still supported: 2018-01||4.10|
|17.10||Artful Aardvark||2017-10-19||Current stable version: 2018-07||4.13|
|18.04 LTS||Bionic Beaver||2018-04-26||Future release: 2023-04||TBA|
After each version of Ubuntu has reached its end-of-life time, its repositories are removed from the main Ubuntu servers and consequently the mirrors. Older versions of Ubuntu repositories and releases can be found on the old Ubuntu releases website.
For details of the changes applied since 14.04.4, please see the 14.04.5 change summary
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