Ubuntu 16.04 new features, now with Unity offline!

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus Alpha 1

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS codename “Xenial Xerus” will be the first release of 2016 and is by many considered an “epochal release” that breaks the stasis of the precedent releases. Let’s take a look at the improvements and the new features!

When will it be released?

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is scheduled to be released on the 21st April 2016.

How do I install Ubuntu 16.04 LTS?

You can find a step-by-step tutorial here.

Why it will be great?

For a number of years Canonical, the society behind Ubuntu, has kept the changes to its operating system quite low and refused to listen to users’ demands. But with Ubuntu 16.04 Canonical decided to change things and break its policy in order to change and provide a better experience for the users.

New Features

  • LTS: Ubuntu 16.04 will be a Long Team Support meaning it will be supported for 5 years. It will be the first Ubuntu LTS to ship with systemd as default service manager.
  • LTS Kernel: Xenial Xerus will be based on Linux 4.4 LTS.
  • Unity spyware: in the precedent releases of Ubuntu the Unity Dash allowed users to search online from various sites like Amazon or Wikipedia. This has been considered by many a privacy issue and has resulted in a controversy between Canonical and Ubuntu users (Richard Stallman even wrote an article about it). For years Canonical refused to listen to the community, however things are bound to change: in Ubuntu 16.04 the Unity Dash search feature will be disabled by default. This feature will still be present in the Dash and users who desire to enable it will be able to do so in the settings.
  • Unity Launcher position: thanks to the work of Marco Trevisan, Unity users will be able to rotate the Unity Launcher and position it to the bottom of the screen (Mac-like).
  • ZFS: is close to being fully implemented in Ubuntu 16.04, it might not make it in time however and will probably be only a tech preview for the time being. Even though this is a great news, Desktop users should not get too excited: ZFS is primarily a server file system that aims to prevent data corruption.
  • Software center: the Ubuntu Software Center has never been up to the task to provide a graphical interface to install and update software. Canonical has always supported this piece of software but in Ubuntu 16.04 it will be dropped in favour of GNOME Software: a cross-platform GUI to install and update software.
  • Firmware updates: starting with Linux 4.2, firmware vendors have the possibility to deliver their updates through a standardized procedure. This enables (for example) updating BIOS/EFI firmwares. All of this is also possible thanks to GNOME Software. This feature however, might not make it in time for Ubuntu 16.04 release date, it is however planned and we hope it will make it in time to be included.
  • Unity 8: Ubuntu 16.04 will feature two versions: one with Unity 7 and one with Unity 8, with the latest being planned as default for Ubuntu 16.10.
  • Snappy: Ubuntu developers are trying to bring Snappy to Ubuntu 16.04 with Unity 7, however it will be unlikely be ready for Xenial’s release date.
Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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3 Responses

  1. PendragonUK says:

    So many new untested features coming to an LTS???

    • mark says:

      So it seems. However many features are in the “might not make it in time” list. Let’s take ZFS that will almost surely not make it in time and in one piece. Fwupd is another in this list.

  2. Ludovic Frérot says:

    lol! so many however this feature will not be part of the release”” .. So what ‘s in the distrib? nothing new, except some enhancements of stability as usual.. disappointing.
    Some of the listed new elements will be packed with the 16.10 and stable for the next LTS iteration

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