Linux News Today: What's New in Ubuntu 15.10
Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) is almost here, and users will surely ask what’s new and why they should upgrade from a previous version. Well, it’s not a difficult question to answer, and there is plenty of new stuff in Ubuntu 15.10, albeit not all of it visible.
We have recently written about the fact that Ubuntu 15.10 will be the last of the boring releases. The latest Ubuntu desktop release didn’t get all that much attention since developers have focused more on the OS for the mobile phones and the new Unity 8 desktop. Well, the new desktop is not ready, and Unity 7 is pretty much in maintenance mode. This is the reason some of the latest Ubuntu versions have been called boring since they don’t seem to bring anything new.
On the other hand, boring is actually a good thing. It also means that the system should be pretty stable and that users won’t have to deal with a new or upgraded desktop environment, although some of them might want that after so many years being stuck with Unity 7.
What’s new in Ubuntu 15.10
Pinpointing the features for Ubuntu 15.10 is not as easy as you might think, and we had to dig deep for them. We’ll start with some of the less obvious ones that won’t impress the users all that much since they can’t really see it.
Ubuntu 15.10 will ship with Linux kernel 4.2, which was released only a couple of weeks ago. There is not enough time to wait for the 4.3 release and test it properly, so the stable version of Ubuntu will arrive with the 4.2 branch. This comes with some pretty interesting stuff, like support for the new AMD GPU driver, F2FS per-file encryption, NCQ TRIM handling, queue spinlocks, and lots of new and updated drivers.
The new version of Ubuntu will also ship with the OpenStack 2015.2.0, codenamed Liberty. The developers from Canonical are saying that current development cycle of Ubuntu is somewhat more in sync with OpenStack, which is scheduled to make the final upload upstream on October 15. This is a week before the launch of Wily.
Ubuntu developer Martin Pitt said a while back that stateless persistent network interface names would also be available by default in 15.10, which should make some very interesting changes in the system. This means that naming the network interfaces like eth0 or eth1 will be a thing of the past and that new more comprehensive names will be used. Also, the names will remain valid even after a restart or if the hardware is removed.
Another important change in Ubuntu 15.10 is the upgrade, for most of the packages from the GNOME stack, to version 3.16.x. The reason for that x in the version number is that not all of them have the same version number. This is a good thing since these packages do come with lots of improvements. Unfortunately, other packages like Nautilus, for example, are still stuck at version 3.14, but the developers must have had good reasons for doing this. The bonus improvement is that a much newer GTK package is being used.
Other less glamorous changes include the move (less dramatic than you would think) to GCC 5 and the availability (finally) of Python 3.x. Developers will have to wait a while until Python 3.x becomes default in Ubuntu, which should happen with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
The most visible change in Ubuntu 15.10 has to do with the scrollbars, of all things. After being criticized for the interesting but hard-to-use scrollbars, Canonical finally decided to get some normal scrollbars, and they are now using the upstream ones from GNOME.
This is pretty much everything we could find, but it’s likely that the announcement will mention some smaller stuff that we didn’t cover. Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) is scheduled to launch on October 22.