Ah, the impending smell of autumn. The crunch of leaves, the smell of pumpkin spice everything… and a new release of Ubuntu. ‘Tis the season for the .10 release of Canonical’s flagship operating system, and this time around, the name is Kinetic Kudu. On Sept. 29, 2022, the new release will be available to the masses, and although it doesn’t offer up a single feature that will blow anyone away, it does have a few nice tricks up its sleeve that are sure to please longtime fans.
SEE: Linux turns 30: Celebrating the open source operating system (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Let’s take a look at some of the new features and improvements to be found in the latest iteration of Ubuntu Desktop. Much of the new goodies coming to Ubuntu 22.10 are thanks to GNOME 43. I’ve already covered what’s coming with the latest release of the GNOME desktop, so before you continue, you might want to give that piece a read, as GNOME 43 is at the heart of Ubuntu Kinetic Kudu.
What’s new in Ubuntu?
One of the biggest changes is that the Settings app has migrated several desktop settings into its own panel. If you open Settings in Ubuntu 22.10, you’ll see a tab labeled Ubuntu Desktop (Figure A).
Within this section, you configure desktop icons and the Dock. It’s not much of a change, but at least it’s now a bit easier to find these bits. For example, in Ubuntu 22.04, both Dock and Icons are configured in Appearance | Dock. This subtle change makes a big difference in tidying up the Settings app, so everything’s a bit easier to find.
Speaking of the Settings app, it gets a bit of the same kind of GTK4 and libadwaita love that Nautilus received. If you shrink the Settings window, it will adapt to the size (Figure B).
If you’ve used Android, which is over 70% of the world’s population, you know all about Quick Tiles. Thanks to GNOME 43, Ubuntu now has an answer for that in Quick Toggles. These toggles do two things: Make it easier to access certain features and dramatically clean up what one might call the “system tray.”
Click on the lone icon in the upper right corner of the desktop to reveal the Quick Toggles (Figure C), where you can quickly access features and expand those entries with multiple options.
Ubuntu has been a bit behind the curve in this change, but 22.10 finally sets Pipewire as the default audio system. Replacing the issue-plagued PulseAudio, Pipewire is a welcome breath of fresh air for those who work with audio in Linux. It’s more robust, stable and offers superior hardware compatibility.
Even better, Pipewire just works. For example, with Pipewire, I no longer have to constantly troubleshoot why Audacity has to fight with apps like Firefox to take control of sound: I just open Audacity and get to work.
On top of that, Bluetooth no longer struggles to function properly. Pipewire is exactly what Ubuntu needed to make working with sound exponentially easier.
Other improvements and additions
That’s pretty much it for the obvious changes. Other, less noticeable changes include:
- WebP image format support in GNOME Files
- Kernel 5.19
- Mesa 22.2
- High-resolution scroll wheel support
- Multi-monitor direct scanout
- Faster overview rendering
- UCI 71 and Unicode 14 emoji
- Firefox 105
- Thunderbird 102.
- Text Editor is now the default.
- GNOME To Do has been removed.
One thing that is missing in Ubuntu 22.10 is the new Console app, which will eventually replace GNOME Terminal. I have no idea why the developers opted to not include Console, but you can install the new app with the command:
sudo apt-get install kgx -y
How to download a daily build of Ubuntu
For those excited to give Ubuntu 22.10 a try, you can download an ISO of the daily build — just remember there will be bugs, as with any daily build.
Ubuntu 22.10 won’t incite a single “WOW” moment from anyone, but it does add just the right amount of polish to an outstanding previous release. It’s been quite some time since we’ve witnessed a release from Canonical that was truly exciting. That being said, Ubuntu has become a stalwart Linux distribution that remains in my top 5 list of operating systems I would recommend to anyone regardless of skills or familiarity.
It’s been a long time since Ubuntu has wowed or disappointed me, and that’s a combination I’m okay with.
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