Jack Wallen offers up his take on why Ubuntu 22.10 is as important a non-LTS release as you’ll experience with Ubuntu.
Let’s face it: Some Linux distributions are far more exciting than others. Even among those exciting distributions, not every release is all that noteworthy.
With Ubuntu, we’ve grown accustomed to boring releases. It’s been a very long time since I remember a Ubuntu release that was truly exciting. That’s probably a good thing.
SEE: 40+ open source and Linux terms you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)
The last time Canonical released something truly innovative came with the Unity desktop. That was exciting, brilliant, ground-breaking and smart. Canonical re-invented the desktop into one of the most efficient desktops on the market.
But the crowd wasn’t pleased. A vocal majority of the Linux community saw Unity as Canonical going against what they loved so much about Ubuntu. Part of that was its predictability and the company moving away from that which was familiar.
After Unity failed, mostly due to the failure of the mobile device they were trying to create, they went back to the familiar in GNOME. Back to boring, but at the same time, back to rock solid.
Since then, nearly every Ubuntu Desktop release has been rather monotonous. The biggest UI refresh we’ve had for the distribution comes by way of the GNOME desktop, such as the horizontal workflow that was introduced in previous iterations and has enjoyed great success. So when Kinetic Kudo arrived, I was not in the least surprised that it was more of the same.
I’m here to once again say that’s a good thing. You see, the last few releases of Ubuntu Desktop have been stellar. They might not bring sparkling and fresh ideas to the table, but they have very adroitly doused the distribution with enough polish to shine a hundred Ferraris. With each release, it feels like yet another few small steps forward. That’s considerably better than even a single step backward.
That’s exactly what Ubuntu 22.10 is: A small step forward that should feel more like leaps and bounds for Linux as a whole. Ubuntu Kinetic Kudo is, as you’ve come to expect, a rock-solid desktop operating system. This release does little to change the game, but it does make a strong case for not trying to fix things that aren’t broken.
Why is Ubuntu Desktop best for beginners to Linux?
After testing 22.10 out for a while with the Daily Build, I’ve concluded that Ubuntu Desktop is back on top as my go-to recommendation for users new to Linux. Why?
- There are no surprises.
- Everything is seamlessly integrated.
- GNOME 43 is brilliant.
- Everything behaves exactly as expected.
- The few updates make perfect sense and help improve the experience.
- It offers the right amount of software to not overwhelm new users.
- Everything just works.
Sure, there will be users who are new to Linux that will look at the GNOME interface and realize they aren’t in Kansas anymore, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have a hard time using it. It’s simple. It really is. Anyone who cannot immediately feel at home with the GNOME interface has never used a PC or mobile device.
What about everyone else? Not all who approach Ubuntu are new to Linux. Even the seasoned veterans will appreciate what 22.10 offers. You’ll find refreshed bits like:
- Linux Kernel 5.19
- GNOME 43
- PipeWire as the new, default sound server
- IWD replacing wpa_supplicant
- Firefox 106
- LibreOffice 7.4
- Thunderbird 102
Beyond the user-facing software, you’ll find the following updates:
- BlueZ 5.65
- CUPS 2.4
- Python 3.10.6
- NetworkManager 1.38
- Mesa 22
- xdg-desktop-portal 1.14
One thing I was surprised to find is that GNOME Terminal is still the default terminal window. I was expecting the new Console application. I have no idea why this has yet to make its way onto the Ubuntu Desktop. Even so, we all know GNOME Terminal is a great option for entering commands, so I call that a wash.
Some quick things I appreciate about Kinetic Kudu
Without really getting too deep into the woods, here are a few quick things I like about Kinetic Kudu:
- The GNOME Files app is so well designed.
- The Quick tiles in the system tray are a vast improvement over the previous UI (Figure A).
- Pipewire is a long-overdue replacement for Pulse Audio.
- Performance is as good as any desktop operating system on the market.
- The theming tweaks give the desktop a cleaner and more polished look.
Because 22.10 doesn’t seem all that far removed from 22.04, the inclination will be to remain with the LTS release, and I wouldn’t fault you for that one bit. For those who tend to not care if they’re dealing with a Long Term Release or not, Kinetic Kudo is a seriously wonderful release from Canonical. No, it will not blow the socks right off your feet and out of your shoes, but it will impress you with how polished, simple, and familiar it is.
Download a copy of Ubuntu 22.10, Kinetic Kudo, now.
Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How To Make Tech Work on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.