Ubuntu 17.10 New Features: Back to GNOME

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark is going to be the second release of the popular Linux operating system for 2017. After Mark Shuttleworth dropped a bomb on Unity in April, Canonical is switching its main desktop product back to GNOME after almost 7 years. With this move, Canonical’s CEO Mark Shuttleworth hopes to regain what Ubuntu has lost in the years and to sew back on the severed roots with the Linux desktop users community.


The codename for this release is peculiar, since the last letter was Z, the next one is A according to canonical. Hence, the new codename will be: Artful Aardvark.

When will it be released?

Ubuntu 17.10 is scheduled to be released on the 19th October 2017.

How do I install Ubuntu 17.10?

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

Ubuntu to switch back to GNOME (before 18.04 LTS)

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark desktop

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark desktop

The initial plan to switch back to GNOME was supposed to land in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, but it seems we will see GNOME back before stated. As a matter of fact the new default session for Artful will be GNOME on Wayland. Yes, you read correctly: Wayland. Unity 8 took an eternity to land on Wayland, but GNOME is just ready and so will Artful. The version will be GNOME 3.26.

Ubuntu GNOME Desktop survey

In an attempt to win back desktop users, Canonical decided to offer them the possibility to be heard by creating a public survey. Many of the new decisions mentioned in this article are heavily influenced (if not directly decided) by the poll result.

Window control buttons on the right

One of the most prominent things you can notice is that window control buttons have been moved to the right. With the introduction of Unity, the window control buttons were moved to the left to offer the user a better experience, after almost seven years of left controls, Canonical decided to move them back to the right (where most Windows users expect them).

A new dock, Ubuntu: not imitating Unity

Another important add is the dock that you can see on the left. The dock, called Ubuntu dock is a light fork of the popular Dash to Dock. Although Canonical claims that they’re not mimicking Unity, no one can deny the similarities.

GDM replaces LightDM

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark Login Screen

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark Login Screen

Ever since Unity came out, LightDM had been the default display manager. With the return of GNOME the new default display manager becomes GDM (the GNOME Display Manager). This version of GDM looks a bit different than the vanilla GNOME, instantly pointing at Ubuntu flagship colours.

Other important facts

This release is mostly a restart for Ubuntu, Canonical decided to reboot its principal product through GNOME, hence there aren’t many technical details to speak of. Artful will use Linux 4.13 and NetworkManager 1.8 which will improve Wifi captive portals detection. On the server side the new installer, Subiquity, will be used.

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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