Ubuntu Had A Very Busy 2018 But Not Everything Turned Out As Planned

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 30 December 2018 at 08:21 AM EST. 9 Comments
There were a lot of accomplishments for Ubuntu users and developers in 2018 ranging from the successful 18.04 LTS release to Ubuntu shipping on more Dell systems to continuing to polish their GNOME Shell based desktop experience. But, also, there were a number of letdowns.

The Ubuntu plans for shipping with GSConnect for offering some basic smartphone integration from the desktop has yet to materialize as part of the default Ubuntu desktop offering. The Ubuntu survey data that users are prompted to engage in when hitting a new Ubuntu installation also isn't quite transparent yet with that data still largely being closed up and just pushed out partially in static snapshots. Also, unfortunately, Ubuntu hasn't yet tried switching back over to the GNOME Wayland session after shipping their Long Term Support release with the mature X.Org session... Hopefully we'll see them try that transition back to Wayland in 2019 so it can be vetted ahead of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. But even with the year not having executed perfectly, there still is a lot to be happy about for Ubuntu in 2018.

Of our 162 Ubuntu/Ubuntu-related news articles on Phoronix this calendar year, the most popular stories included:

Checking Out Ubuntu 18.04's Minimal Desktop Install Option
Besides the Ubuntu 18.04 minimal spin that is around to 30MB compressed, the Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" installer recently added an option for a "minimal installation" from the desktop Live DVD/USB environment. Here's a look at what that means for desktop users.

The Community Has Brought The Unity 8 Desktop To Ubuntu 18.04
Besides bringing Ubuntu Touch to new mobile devices, the UBports team has also managed to continue their community-driven work on advancing the Unity 8 convergence desktop after Canonical abandoned work on it last year. They now have Unity 8 working on top of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Linux 4.15 Kernel Is Now The Default In Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
After sitting in Bionic-Proposed the past week, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has officially moved from the Artful Aardvark's Linux 4.13 kernel to now running on Linux 4.15.

Lubuntu 18.10 Officially Switching From LXDE To LXQt
After working on Lubuntu-Next for a while in transitioning from the GTK-based LXDE desktop environment to the modern and maintained LXQt desktop environment that is powered by Qt5, the Lubuntu 18.10 will be the release that officially moves over to the LXQt desktop and pushes out LXDE.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Default To The X.Org Stack, Not Wayland
While Ubuntu 17.10 defaults to using the Wayland session on supported GPUs/drivers when using the default GNOME Shell based session, Canonical has decided for Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" LTS that it will use the X.Org Server by default.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Enters Its Feature Freeze
The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" is now under its feature freeze. This marks the period now by which Ubuntu developers should be focusing on bug fixes rather than new features.

The New Ubuntu 18.04 Server Installer Is Working Out Nicely
Last year Canonical began developing a new Ubuntu Server installer and while it was quite rough at first, it got into shape in subsequent months and is used by default for the newly-released Ubuntu Server 18.04.

The Combined Impact Of Retpoline + KPTI On Ubuntu Linux
Over the past week I have posted many KPTI and Retpoline benchmarks for showing the performance impact of these patches to combat the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. But with my testing so far I haven't done any showing the combined impact of KPTI+Retpoline on Ubuntu versus a completely unpatched system. Here are some of those results.

Ubuntu 18.10 Set For Release Today With Some Nice Improvements
It's Cosmic Cuttlefish day! Assuming no last minute delays, Ubuntu 18.10 and its downstream flavors will be out today with their newest six-month non-LTS releases to be supported through July of 2019.

Ubuntu 18.10's New Theme Is Now Yaru
Since the transition from Unity 7 to GNOME Shell as the default desktop environment on Ubuntu, designers have been working on a proper new theme called "Communitheme" while now it has a new name.

Ubuntu 18.04 Minimal Spin Down To ~30MB Compressed / ~81MB On Disk
For those using Ubuntu Minimal images for containers/Docker, assembling your own base distribution, setting up an embedded Linux environment, or related use-cases, the minimal images for the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release will be even smaller.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" Official Images Now Available
Ubuntu 18.04, the Bionic Beaver release, is now available as Canonical's latest Long-Term Support (LTS) release.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Might Ship With OpenJDK 10, Transition To OpenJDK 11
Canonical's Tiago Daitx has laid out a proposal today for having an OpenJDK stable release update exception for the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" to reduce their long-term maintenance burden.

Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Released
For those that tend to wait for the first point release of a new Ubuntu LTS release before upgrading, Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" is now available.

Dell Precision 7530/7730 Now Shipping With Ubuntu Linux Option
Announced back in May were several new Dell Precision laptops pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux. The Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 from that batch are now shipping with Ubuntu as a factory option.

GNOME Shell In Ubuntu 19.04 Should Be Faster, Ubuntu Devs Still Working On New Installer
Being more than a month past the Ubuntu 18.10 release, development on Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" is progressing at full-speed.

Ubuntu 17.10 To Be Re-Released Next Week
Last month Ubuntu 17.10 ISOs were pulled due to a BIOS/UEFI corrupting problem. They got the problem under control by the end of December and there is a software fix available for affected laptops, particularly a number of Lenovo laptops and those from a few other vendors. Next week a fixed Ubuntu 17.10 release is now expected.

Ubuntu Now Shipping On The Dell Precision 5530 Developer Edition
Announced back in May by Dell was an Ubuntu option for their new (2018) xx30 series Precision laptops. They previously began shipping the Ubuntu-loaded Dell Precision 3530/7530/7730 mobile workstations while beginning to ship as of today is the Precision 5530 Developer Edition.

Early Ubuntu Hardware/Software Survey Data
With the Ubuntu Hardware/Software Survey that was introduced in Ubuntu 18.04 and presented to users upon new installations, it's been collecting data since the Bionic Beaver launch in April but the data hasn't been made public up to this point. Viewing the survey data is currently being worked on for the Ubuntu 18.10 cycle and today a first look at these numbers have been shared.

Ubuntu "User Statistics" Published, But It's A Letdown To Data Junkies
Canonical managed to announce on the same-day as the Ubuntu 18.10 "Cosmic Cuttlefish" debut their goal for this cycle of opening up their software/hardware survey results that began with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop installations. Those initial results are now available but the available data and analytic capabilities are rather underwhelming.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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