We’ve all been waiting for it – the new LTS release of Ubuntu – 18.04. Learn more about new features, the release dates, and more.
Note: we’ll frequently update this article with new information, so bookmark this page and check back soon.
Basic information about Ubuntu 18.04
Let’s start with some basic information.
- It’s a new LTS (Long Term Support) release. So you get 5 years of support for both the desktop and server version.
- Named “Bionic Beaver”. The founder of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, explained the meaning behind the name. The mascot is a Beaver because it’s energetic, industrious, and an awesome engineer – which perfectly describes a typical Ubuntu user, and the new Ubuntu release itself. The “Bionic” adjective is due to the increased number of robots that run on the Ubuntu Core.
Ubuntu 18.04 Release Dates & Schedule
If you’re new to Ubuntu, you may not be familiar the actual version numbers mean. It’s the year and month of the official release. So Ubuntu’s 18.04 official release will be in the 4th month of the year 2018. Ubuntu 17.10 was released in 2017, in the 10th month of the year.
To go into further details, here are the important dates and need to know about Ubuntu 18.04 LTS:
- November 30th, 2017 – Feature Definition Freeze.
- January 4th, 2018 – First Alpha release. So if you opted-in to receive new Alpha releases, you’ll get the Alpha 1 update on this date.
- February 1st, 2018 – Second Alpha release.
- March 1st, 2018 – Feature Freeze. No new features will be introduced or released. So the development team will only work on improving existing features and fixing bugs. With exceptions, of course. If you’re not a developer or an experienced user, but would still like to try the new Ubuntu ASAP, then I’d personally recommend starting with this release.
- March 8th, 2018 – First Beta release. If you opted-in for receiving Beta updates, you’ll get your update on this day.
- March 22nd, 2018 – User Interface Freeze. It means that no further changes or updates will be done to the actual user interface, so if you write documentation, tutorials, and use screenshots, it’s safe to start then.
- March 29th, 2018 – Documentation String Freeze. There won’t be any edits or new stuff (strings) added to the documentation, so translators can start translating the documentation.
- April 5th, 2018 – Final Beta release. This is also a good day to start using the new release.
- April 19th, 2018 – Final Freeze. Everything’s pretty much done now. Images for the release are created and distributed, and will likely not have any changes.
- April 26th, 2018 – Official, Final release of Ubuntu 18.04. Everyone should start using it starting this day, even on production servers. We recommend getting an Ubuntu 18.04 server from Vultr and testing out the new features. Servers at Vultr start at $2.5 per month.
What’s New in Ubuntu 18.04
All the new features in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS:
Color emojis are now supported 👏👏👏
With previous versions, Ubuntu only supported monochrome (black and white) emojis, which quite frankly, didn’t look so good. Ubuntu 18.04 will support colored emojis by using the Noto Color Emoji font. With 18.04, you can view and add color emojis with ease everywhere. They are supported natively – so you can use them without using 3-rd party apps or installing/configuring anything extra. You can always disable the color emojis by removing the font.
GNOME desktop environment
Ubuntu started using the GNOME desktop environment with Ubuntu 17.10 instead of the default Unity environment. Ubuntu 18.04 will continue using GNOME. This is a major change to Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop will have a new default theme
Ubuntu 18.04 is saying Goodbye to the old ‘Ambience’ default theme with a new GTK theme. If you want to help with the new theme, check out some screenshots and more, go here.
As of now, there is speculation that Suru will be the new default icon theme for Ubuntu 18.04. Here’s a screenshot:
Worth noting: all new features in Ubuntu 16.10, 17.04, and 17.10 will roll through to Ubuntu 18.04. So updates like Window buttons to the right, a better login screen, imrpoved Bluetooth support etc. will roll out to Ubuntu 18.04. We won’t include a special section since it’s not really new to Ubuntu 18.04 itself. If you want to learn more about all the changes from 16.04 to 18.04, google it for each version in between.
Download Ubuntu 18.04
First off, if you’re already using Ubuntu, you can just upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04.
If you need to download Ubuntu 18.04:
Go to the official Ubuntu download page after the final release.
For the daily builds (alpha, beta, and non-final releases), go here.
Now for some of the frequently asked questions (with answers) that should give you more information about all of this.
When is it safe to switch to Ubuntu 18.04?
On the official final release date, of course. But if you can’t wait, start using the desktop version on March 1st, 2018, and start testing out the server version on April 5th, 2018. But for you to truly be “safe”, you’ll need to wait for the final release, maybe even more so the 3-rd party services and apps you are using are tested and working well on the new release.
How do I upgrade my server to Ubuntu 18.04?
It’s a fairly simple process but has huge potential risks. We may publish a tutorial sometime in the near future, but you’ll basically need to use ‘do-release-upgrade’. Again, upgrading your server has potential risks, and if you’re on a production server, I’d think twice before upgrading. Especially if you’re on 16.04 which has a few years of support left.
How can I help with Ubuntu 18.04?
Even if you’re not an experienced developer and Ubuntu user, you can still help by:
- Spreading the word. Let people know about Ubuntu 18.04. A simple share on social media helps a bit too.
- Using and testing the release. Start using the release and test it. Again, you don’t have to be a developer. You can still find and report bugs, or send feedback.
- Translating. Join the translating teams and start translating documentation and/or applications.
- Helping other people. Join some online Ubuntu communities and help others with issues they’re having with Ubuntu 18.04. Sometimes people need help with simple stuff like “where can I download Ubuntu?”
What does Ubuntu 18.04 mean for other distros like Lubuntu?
All distros that are based on Ubuntu will have similar new features and a similar release schedule. You’ll need to check your distro’s official website for more information.
Is Ubuntu 18.04 an LTS release?
Yes, Ubuntu 18.04 is an LTS (Long Term Support) release, so you’ll get support for 5 years.
Can I switch from Windows/OS X to Ubuntu 18.04?
Of course! You’ll most likely experience a performance boost too. Switching from a different OS to Ubuntu is fairly easy, there are quite a lot of tutorials for doing that. You can even set up a dual-boot where you’ll be using multiple OSes, so you can use both Windows and Ubuntu 18.04.
Can I try Ubuntu 18.04 without installing it?
Sure. You can use something like VirtualBox to create a “virtual desktop” – you can install it on your local machine and use Ubuntu 18.04 without actually installing Ubuntu.
Why can’t I find a 32-bit version of Ubuntu 18.04?
Because there is no 32bit version. Ubuntu dropped 32bit versions with its 17.10 release. If you’re using old hardware, you’re better off using a different lightweight Linux distro instead of Ubuntu 18.04 anyway.
Any other question?
Leave a comment below! Share your thoughts, we’re super excited and we’re gonna update this article as soon as new information comes in. Stay tuned and be patient!