Linux News Today: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Will Be the Best Release in Years, Here's What's New
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is still a month away from feature freeze and developers have plenty of time for some new features, but the distribution has already received a lot of attention already.
Canonical has been focused on Ubuntu Touch these past two years, so there hasn’t been much activity on the desktop front. That’s about to change as the Ubuntu developers have already implemented (or are planning) a huge number of new features, and some of them are really surprising.
Ubuntu LTS versions are usually about stability and less about new stuff, but Canonical is about to break that tradition. From the looks of it, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will be one of the most interesting releases in years, and that’s a really good thing.
They will let users move the Unity launcher
The position of the Unity launcher has been the source of great debates in the Ubuntu community, but the developers have been pretty adamant about it and didn’t want to move it. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will finally allow users to move the launcher to the bottom of the screen.
This is just one of the big changes. The team is also planning on dropping Ubuntu Software Center for GNOME Software (and they have also upgraded Ubuntu Software Center after a couple of years of inactivity).
The Ubuntu team is also working on bringing Snappy packages to the regular Ubuntu flavor, with Unity 7. It might not feature the same security as in Unity 8, as they might have to drop app confinement, but many of the other features will be present.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) will ship without Brasero (disc burning) and Empathy (messenger), but the devs are trying to bring GNOME Calendar as well.
A new and fresh QML-based USB Startup Creator is now being made for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and this application will be able to write more than just Ubuntu images, which is a nice touch.
Another feature that’s in the works for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (might not make it in time) is called click lock, which for now is only available in Windows. With this option, users can click on an item, like a folder or file, and move it around without having to keep the button pressed. It’s great for accessibility.
The Plymouth boot splash is also being upgraded. This is a splash screen that can be observed during boot, and it hasn’t been upgraded from Debian since 2009 but that will change.
Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) is also dropping the online search for Unity 7, which will be turned off by default. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s been requested by users for many years.
The Ubuntu devs are planning on shipping the ZFS file system in the repositories so that it’s available for the 16.04 LTS release. It’s almost done, and it’s probably going to be ready in time for the launch.
Another cool option that should land along with the GNOME Software should allow users to upgrade their firmware (think BIOS) straight from the OS. This has been in the making for GNOME for some time, and it will land in Ubuntu as is.
This is the list so far, but it’s likely to grow in the coming months. Besides new features, the Ubuntu devs have a few more months for bug fixing, and they promised to ship the next LTS as bug-free as possible.