As with Windows or macOS, the arrival of a new Linux operating system is a small event in itself. Admittedly, the number of people concerned is not as large, but Linux, and particularly Ubuntu, have been able to attract a growing number of users with a pleasant graphical interface, advanced functionalities and an increasingly affordable handling.
Ubuntu: a free operating system
What differentiates Linux and Ubuntu from Windows or macOS is that it is a free OS. This implies two things: its use is free, and its development is the result of the work of thousands of programmers around the world. The source code of the system is said to be open, that is to say that everyone can read and modify it. The other side of the coin is that anyone can do whatever they want with the code and therefore create their own operating system. It is from this freedom that comes the plethora of versions of Linux – we then speak of distribution – which meet different needs and desires. There are a few big trends though, and some flavors of Linux have managed to stand out like Fedora, Suse, Arch and of course Ubuntu. Each of the distributions is available with different desktops (graphical interfaces) like Gnome, KDE or XFCE to adapt to the power of your machine. This diversity is therefore both a strength and a weakness, the Linux system being able to surprise the less accustomed by its lack of coherence from one distribution to another.
But then, what can a PC running Linux really do? Of those who use Windows, a large proportion do so because it was already installed by default on their machine. Others have chosen to stay on it to be able to play or even take advantage of the Microsoft Office suite. For a particular use, is it still necessary in 2022 to pay a license to Microsoft to enjoy a computer that works well? The days when Linux was only for computer scientists and geeks are long gone. Now almost anyone can find their account on a Linux machine. For standard use, we can only recommend Ubuntu. And on the technical support side, you can count on extensive documentation produced by the French community, with assistance responding regularly to messages on Telegram.
Nowadays, we mainly use our PCs to do actions that are too restrictive on the phone. Respond to long emails, organize videoconference meetings, write a report or work on spreadsheets, play video games. A large part of these actions are now done through web browsers. Anyone can view and write an email from their provider’s online space. Similarly, office software suites such as Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 allow professional structures to organize their work online. All these tools, which work with an internet browser, are therefore automatically compatible with Linux. For people who still prefer to use Microsoft Word or Excel on their machine, Ubuntu offers the Libre Office suite by default, which does essentially the same job as the Microsoft suite… but for free.
Ubuntu 22.04: the new Long Term Support
Ubuntu’s life cycle has been a well-oiled machine for more than 10 years now, with a release rate of an intermediate release every six months and a major release every two years. Today, version 22.04 is released and is codenamed Jammy Jellyfish. This is a major update called LTS or Long Term Support. It will therefore be maintained until 2027. This means that you will have security updates throughout the period.
The main novelties
Since March 31, 2022, it is possible to test a version very close to the final rendering. It is from this beta version that we were able to start our tests. While a few tweaks and improvements can still take place, the bulk of the work is done.
Graphical redesign with Gnome
The most significant change for users is undoubtedly the move to Gnome 42. This new version of the default graphical interface (the desktop), modified by Ubuntu’s own Yaru theme, offers new customization features. Like macOS or Windows, it is now possible to change the color of the various bars and shadows of the system. Of course, as on Windows, the choice of colors remains limited.
Another graphical aspect, Gnome 42 offers a new style of windows. Exit the two-tone rendering with black windows and white content gives way to rounded corners and a graphic style close to macOS. This change, which may seem minor, is nevertheless very interesting, because it is used on all the windows present on the system. Even software that had a rather old-fashioned interface is therefore brought up to date.
In terms of features, this version of Ubuntu also brings some rather nice little changes. The update to Gnome 42 allows those who regularly work with virtual desktops to regain horizontal spaces. Concretely, it is now possible to move its applications on the desktops not by sending them down, but rather by moving them from right to left. Similarly, the application launcher changes to be closer to what has been present in Debian for several versions already. The very vertical and rigid launcher of previous versions gives way to horizontal scrolling which always lets you see the different desktops to launch the application where you want it. These two new spaces also remain highly customizable through Ubuntu settings.
Jammy Jellyfish follows the development started with 21.04 by offering the Wayland desktop manager by default. For standard users, this change will probably go unnoticed. Only those who are used to using X11 and modifying its settings will be able to notice the difference. However, Wayland is the future of graphics display and the adoption of this new standard in Ubuntu should accelerate its generalization in the Linux world.
This major Ubuntu update is also an opportunity to update many system components such as OpenSSL, which secures internet connections. Developers and scientists will also be entitled to the latest official version of Python, 3.10. The latter offers new features such as better error feedback, which will allow its users to better understand their code and thus create many applications.
Finally, Canonical makes it easier to join its Ubuntu Pro service. The latter offers the possibility of making important updates without having to restart your machine. However, the free up to three machine service focuses its offering on the US market.
You may not have noticed, but Ubuntu now uses the snap utility more and more. The latter has nothing to do with the yellow ghost found on the smartphones of many teenagers. This is the software or package installation manager. The newest software format developed by Canonical plans to improve the security of your applications.
Thus, the software installed via snap is intended to be lighter because it is compressed and more “watertight”. In other words, if an app is compromised, it shouldn’t have access to the rest of your machine or other apps. This notion of impermeability is gaining in importance in a world where cyberattacks are increasingly severe. However, many users find that snap slows down the startup of the machines enormously or even prevents the proper functioning of the station. Many users of the Firefox web browser do not appreciate that it is now installed automatically via snap!
During our tests, we actually noticed that Firefox took a long time to launch… Sometimes a very long time… The English site OMGUbuntu also confirms the results we obtained and estimates that “Firefox takes up to 10 seconds after each full restart“. You will therefore either have to be patient, or return to the classic installation of software using .deb packages.
No new installation software
Finally, one of the updates announced was none other than the change in the installation software. Those who are used to it know, the installer currently in place was there long before the arrival of UEFI in 2014. However, version 22.04 does not seem to include a new one, as had been claimed by many occasions. It’s a safe bet that this will be transitioned smoothly during 22.10 or 23.04.
The Jammy Jellyfish version convinced you, and are you ready to take the plunge? First of all, we remind you, although the installation of Ubuntu is now within everyone’s reach, it is imperative to think about making your backups beforehand!
If you are already on Ubuntu, the update will soon be offered to you automatically. To do this, you have two choices: reinstall your entire machine using the downloadable image from the Internet or simply force updates for your PC. To get a new image, just go to the Ubuntu site and start the download. If you prefer to upgrade your machine, a simple “sudo do-release-upgrade -d” is enough!
Ubuntu, a GNU/Linux operating system based on the Debian distribution.
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