What to expect from Ubuntu 19.04

The next iteration of Ubuntu is a month away. Find out what new features and improvements will be in one of the most popular Linux distributions.

What to expect from Ubuntu 19.04 The next iteration of Ubuntu is but a month away. What new features and improvements will find their way into one of the most popular Linux distributions on the planet? Find out here.

It's March, and that means we're one month away from the release of yet another iteration of Ubuntu Linux. This time around, we're looking at an interim release (aka a non-Long Term Support release), which means support for 19.04 will extend only to 2020. It is important to remember that interim releases introduce new capabilities from Canonical as well as upstream open source projects, and serve as a proving ground for these new capabilities. That means these non-LTS releases don't enjoy the same level of stability, but they also tend to be a bit more exciting--as far as releases are concerned.

Does that mean we can look forward to Canonical bringing back the thrill of old-school releases? I wouldn't hold your breath. However, Ubuntu 19.04 does have a few nifty tricks up its sleeve.

Let's take a look.

SEE: 20 quick tips to make Linux networking easier (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Panic at the ...

Every Ubuntu release gets a code name. Ubuntu 18.08 was Bionic Beaver and 18.10 dubbed Cosmic Cuttlefish. Ubuntu 19.04 gets a rather special name, one that everyone should adore. Slip on your bell bottoms and your platform shoes, as Disco Dingo is about to be in the house.

Spin up the mirror ball and drop the needle on ABBA.

Outside of a catchy name, what new features and improvements are to be found in Disco Dingo? Let's find out.

GNOME 3.32

Because GNOME 3.32 will be released in March, there's no reason why it won't find its way into 19.04. This is an important release, as the GNOME Desktop Environment is gaining significant improvements in speed. This is actually due to work between Canonical and the upstream GNOME project. Frame rates, smoother start-up animations, faster icon load times, GPU usage reduction ... those are all part of what will help to make the newest GNOME find significant improvements in performance.

For more details on what has helped improve GNOME performance, read this blog by Georges Stavracas (one of the main developers on the work that brought about these improvements).

SEE: System update policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

Linux 5.0

Speaking of release numbers, what could be more important than a big 5.0? The next major Linux kernel release will include features like:

  • AMD FreeSync support.
  • NVIDIA Xavier display support.
  • Intel Icelake Gen11 graphic support improvements.
  • Initial support for NVIDIA Turing GPUs.
  • ASpeed video engine support.
  • Initial support for NXP i.MX8 SoCs
  • NVIDIA Tegra suspend-and-resume for X2 and Xavier SoCs.
  • ARM big.LITTLE Energy Aware Scheduling.
  • POWER On-Chip Controller driver support.
  • Improved AMD CPU microcode handling.
  • Fscrypt Adiantum support.
  • Binderfs implementation.
  • EXT4 and XFS fixes.
  • Retpoline overhead reduction work.
  • Aquantia AQtion USB to 2.5/5Gb Ethernet adapter support.
  • And much more.

As of the Ubuntu 19.04 daily build, the 5.0 kernel has yet to drop. In fact, the release is currently using 4.19.0-13 (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A: The kernel version for the daily build.

Android integration ... NOT

It was rumored that Android integration would find its way into Ubuntu 19.04, but unfortunately, those were nothing but rumors. This support would have come by way of GSConnect (which I've covered already. See: How to connect your Android device to your Linux desktop). The steps aren't challenging, so even though the developers of Ubuntu 19.04 have opted to set the inclusion aside, you can get your GNOME/Android sync up and running on your own. Hopefully, this integration will happen in Ubuntu 19.10.

Displays

Although there isn't much in the way of new features for displays, there is one very important introduction being made. If you've ever worked with larger HiDPI displays, you're probably familiar with fractional scaling support. Up until now, Ubuntu Linux hasn't included that ability. With 19.04 that changes. The feature might come in the form of a hidden option, so you'll need to enable it. But with fractional scaling support, you'll be able to fine-tune your display to better meet your visual needs. No more setting the scale to 1 and wishing you could make things either fractionally smaller or bigger.

Speaking of visuals...

The default Yaru theme, released in Ubuntu 18.10, will find wider support for third-party applications. That means you'll find fewer of your apps will default to non-Yaru icons in the Launcher, so everything will have a far more consistent look (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B: The GNOME Application Overview in Ubuntu 19.04.

As well, the GNOME login screen is rumored to be getting some much-needed improvements.

B'bye applications menu

Sadly, for anyone that prefers those application menus that appear in the top panel (on a per-application basis), as of 19.04 ...it's gone. This is not a Ubuntu change, but a GNOME change. The disappearing Application menus is a response to a few long-running issues that have haunted GNOME. Because of this, all application menus will return to in-app windows.

That's all, folks

It may not seem like much of a list for a distribution release, but given the speed and stability improvements I've seen in the daily builds (even without the addition of GNOME 3.32), Ubuntu 19.04 should seriously impress anyone looking for a fast and reliable Linux desktop platform.

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Image: Jack Wallen