Brief: This is a continually updated article to inform you about Ubuntu 18.04 release date, features, upgrade procedure and everything important associated with it.
Ubuntu’s founder Mark Shuttleworth has revealed the codename of Ubuntu 18.04. It’s called Bionic Beaver.
This is not surprising considering the logic behind the codename and versioning of Ubuntu releases.
If you are into science fiction, you should already know the meaning of bionic. Bionic refers to having an artificial, electromechanical body part.
Beaver is a large nocturnal rodent. It is known for building dams, canals, and homes. The English verb “to beaver” meaning to work hard and constantly actually comes from the industrious nature of a beaver.
In fact, Shuttleworth dedicated this hardworking attribute of beaver to the Ubuntu team:
“It’s builders that we celebrate – the people that build our upstream applications and packages, the people who build Ubuntu, and the people who build on Ubuntu. In honour of that tireless toil, our mascot this cycle is a mammal known for it’s energetic attitude, industrious nature and engineering prowess. We give it a neatly nerdy 21st century twist in honour of the relentless robots running Ubuntu Core. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 18.04 LTS, the Bionic Beaver.”
Ubuntu 18.04 release date
The release date for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is out as well. Here it goes:
- 30th November: Feature Definition Freeze
- 4th January: Alpha 1 release
- 1st February: Alpha 2 release
- 1st March: Feature Freeze
- 8th March: First beta release
- 5th April: Final beta release
- 19th April: Final Freeze
- 26th April: Stable Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release
So now that you are aware of Ubuntu 18.04 release date, let’s see the new features of Ubuntu 18.04 as they are developed.
New features in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
Ubuntu 18.04 development has begun. Let’s see how things are rolling there.
1. Native support for color emojis
Ubuntu 18.04 will provide native support for color emojis by default. Until now, only monochrome emojis are supported out of the box on Ubuntu. You can do some tweaking and get color emojis even today but a default support will always be better.
2. GNOME 3.28
You probably already know that Unity is no longer the default desktop environment for Ubuntu anymore. A customized GNOME version was introduced in Ubuntu 17.10.
Ubuntu 18.04 will keep the same trend and will feature the latest GNOME (i.e. version 3.28) at the time of the release.
3. Boot speed boost
Canonical has promised better boot speed in Ubuntu 18.04. Using systemd’s features, bottlenecks will be identified and tackled to boot Bionic as quickly as possible.
4. A new minimal installation option
You’ll see a new ‘minimal installation’ option when you do a fresh install of Ubuntu 18.04. This minimal installation is nothing but the regular Ubuntu install without most of the regular software. You’ll just get a web browser and a handful of utilities.
I don’t understand how this could be useful.
5. New default applications
|Category||Top Voted Default Application|
|IDE||Visual Studio Code|
|Screen Recorder||Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)|
As you can see, users are happy with most of the default applications but there are new suggestions as well.
I am sure that Canonical won’t go with the top results in each category. I mean VLC is a great video player but I don’t prefer it as a music player.
6. Using PPA is slightly easier now
For as long as I remember, installing applications via PPA involves three lines of commands. First for adding the new repository, second to update the system so that it knows about the new repository and the third one to install the application.
Ubuntu 18.04 is removing the redundancy here. Now if you add a new repository with add-apt-repository command, it will run the apt-get update command automatically. No need for you to run this command manually. Saves some time, isn’t it?
7. Linux Kernel 4.15 (tentatively)
Ubuntu 18.04 was initially planned to have Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS. But lately, Kernel team shared that are tentatively planning to converge on 4.15 for the Bionic Beaver 18.04 LTS release”.
8. Xorg becomes the default display server again
Ubuntu 17.10 switched to the newer Wayland as the default display server. Quite obviously, it became a big issue as a huge number of applications wouldn’t work on Wayland. This forced people to switch back to Xorg from Wayland.
It seems Ubuntu has learned the lesson and it is moving back to Xorg as the default display server. Wayland will still be available as an option and users will be able to switch to the display server of their liking.
9. Ubuntu will be collecting system usage data (unless you choose to stop that)
Ubuntu has been criticized in the past for including Amazon web app and online search by default in the past. But it has not deterred Canonical from taking another controversial decision.
Ubuntu 18.04 will be collecting some system usage data unless you choose to opt out of it.
Here’s the kind of data Ubuntu 18.04 will be collecting:
- Version and flavor of Ubuntu you’re installing
- Whether you have network connectivity at install time
- Hardware statistics such as CPU, RAM, GPU, etc
- Device manufacturer
- Your country
- Time taken to complete the installation
- Whether you choose auto login, installing third-party codecs, downloading updates during install
- Disk layout
- Ubuntu Popcorn service will track the popularity of applications and packages
- Crash reports
The result of the data thus collected will be available to the public for analytical purposes.
10. New installer for Ubuntu 18.04 Server edition
Until now, Ubuntu has used Debian’s text-based installer for its server editions. However, the server edition of Ubuntu 18.04 will use the new subiquity installer.
Dustin Kirkland of Canonical showcased the installer in a blog post.
11. The proposed brand new theme and icons developed by the community will no longer be the default
There has been no significant change in the default Ambiance theme of Ubuntu for years. It looks more or less the same in last several Ubuntu releases.
This is why Canonical has initiated a collaborative project to develop a new theme for Ubuntu 18.04 with contribution from the community.
If you are interested in helping Ubuntu in developing its new theme, then do check out the details.
Not only the GTK theme, Ubuntu 18.04 will also have a new icon theme. Suru is going to be the new default icon theme. It’s an already existing icon theme developed by the same developer who gave us icon themes like Moka and Paper.
Initially, the new GTK theme and icons set were supposed to be the default in Ubuntu 18.04. Since the theme and icon set is not well tested yet, Canonical dropped the idea. This new community theme will be available as an option in Ubuntu 18.04 and will become the default theme in Ubuntu 18.10.
Download Ubuntu 18.04
The first beta for Ubuntu 18.04 has been released. You may test it on a virtual machine, live USB or a spare system. Since it is not in stable phase, I won’t advise using it on your production system or on your regular computer.
Now that you have been warned, You can download Ubuntu 18.04 beta from the link below:
Ubuntu 18.04 daily builds are also available to download now. These images are newer than the beta release images. You can download and install it from the link below:
Upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04
If you are already using an Ubuntu version, you MAY be able to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 without reinstalling the operating system. The upgrade procedure is mainly painless and all you have to do is to follow the on-screen suggestions. You must have a good internet connection though.
The steps mentioned here are applicable to all official flavors of Ubuntu such as Xubuntu, Kubuntu etc. It is also applicable to the Ubuntu server editions.
Note: The information mentioned here is applicable once the final release of Ubuntu 18.04 is available unless specified otherwise. You should wait for the final release.
Let’s see what are the options to get Ubuntu 18.04 from your existing Ubuntu version.
Upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
You cannot upgrade to 18.04 LTS from 14.04 LTS directly. You must upgrade 14.04 to 16.04 first and then to 18.04. You can also choose to keep your system to 16.04 if you don’t want to do a double upgrade.
To get notified of a newer version, make sure that you have the “notify me for a new Ubuntu version” option has been set to “For long-term support versions”.
Upgrade from Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04
If you are using Ubuntu 16.04 which is a long-term support release, you won’t get notified of the availability of Ubuntu 18.04 immediately after its release. Canonical prefers to notify an existing LTS version about the availability of a new LTS version after a month.
Ubuntu sees a point release in a couple of months that provides the bug fixes to common issues that have been noticed in the new LTS release. This way, the system running the older LTS version remains stable after upgrading to the newer LTS version.
In other words, most Ubuntu 16.04 systems will be notified of the upgrade when Ubuntu 18.04.1 is released. Just make sure that you have the “notify me for a new Ubuntu version” option has been set to “For long-term support versions”.
Upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 from Ubuntu 15.10, 16.10 and 17.04
You should not be using these Ubuntu versions because 15.10, 16.10 and 17.04 have already reached their end of life. This means you are not getting any security and system updates.
If you are using Ubuntu 17.04, you can upgrade to 17.10 and then upgrade to 18.04. Personally, I don’t advise doing a double upgrade. It is better to do an external backup and do a fresh install of Ubuntu 18.04.
If you are using Ubuntu 15.10, 16.10 or other older versions (excluding 14.04 and 16.04), you cannot do an upgrade to 18.04 even if you plan to do a series of upgrades. It is because the immediate higher version for them has already reached the end of life.
I advise a fresh install of Ubuntu 18.04 for these versions.
Upgrade from Ubuntu 17.10 to Ubuntu 18.04 Beta
As an Ubuntu 17.10 user, you have the choice to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04, both final and the beta version. I would still advise waiting for the final release on the 26th April for upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 though.
But if you are willing to experiment you can upgrade to the beta version of Ubuntu 18.04 right away. You can follow the video below or the steps mentioned after the video.
Go to Software & Updates -> Updates.
Here, make sure that Notify me of a new version is set to For any new version. Also, check the option of pre-released updates.
Once you have the correct settings in place, use the following commands in the terminal:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
After the above command is completed, use the command below to ask Update Manager to look for distribution upgrade:
sudo update-manager -d
This will run the Update Manager and it will notify you of availability of Ubuntu 18.04. You can follow the on-screen instructions from here onwards.
I’ll keep on updating on all the major happenings around 18.04. If you have something to add to this list, feel free to inform me in the comment section.