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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: Should You Upgrade? 8 Reasons

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” is the current Long Term Support release of Ubuntu. This makes it the number one choice for anyone considering Ubuntu. Still need convincing? Here’s why you should upgrade to or install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on your Linux PC or laptop.

Ubuntu 19.10 vs 18.04: What You Need to Know

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (codenamed “Bionic Beaver”) was released in April 2018. As with all Ubuntu releases, the date of release (year and month) is related in the version number.

This is an important version of Linux OS. Every two years a Long Term Support (LTS) release is issued, with five years of support from Canonical. This means you can use Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with support until 2023.

At the time of writing, Ubuntu 19.10 is set for release. However, like other non-LTS releases, Ubuntu 19.10 does not have the same level of support as Ubuntu 18.04. Updates will stop after two years, rather than the five on offer from an LTS.

Keeping this in mind, if you’re wondering if you should upgrade from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the answer is “soon”. Support for that LTS release will end in 2021.

In many ways, Ubuntu 18.04 is the core version of the operating system, while Ubuntu 18.10, 19.04, 19.10, and other non-LTS releases can be treated as a mix of interim update and advanced beta.

Want to know more? Here are eight reasons why you should be using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

1. Security Enhancements

Primarily, you should upgrade your current Ubuntu version regularly in order to benefit from the latest security patches. These might be for the operating system, drivers, or even (in the case of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs) the underlying hardware.

It’s worth pointing out here that this is true of all operating systems, whether Linux-based, Windows, or macOS. Regular updates will improve your computer’s security. This is why Windows XP users are regularly encouraged to upgrade or switch to Linux.

However, there is a potential security concern that you should be aware of. With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Canonical intends to collect data from your computer. But there is nothing personally identifiable in this data.

Instead, it is to establish your computer’s hardware components, what version of Ubuntu you’re running, your location (based on your choice when setting up Ubuntu) and a few other things.

This marks a change from Canonical’s previous attitude to this sort of data collection but is understandable given how flakey figures are for Linux usage around the world. Crucially, this data collection can be opted out of; if you’re upgrading from a previous version of Ubuntu, meanwhile, you can also opt in.

2. GNOME Arrives on the LTS Release

Ubuntu GNOME LTS desktop
Perhaps the biggest news of the LTS release is GNOME 3.28. Since GNOME replaced Unity in Ubuntu 17.10 (although Unity isn’t quite dead) GNOME has been the default desktop environment (pictured above on Artful Aardvark).

Of course, you don’t have to go with GNOME. Other Ubuntu desktop environments are available, such as MATE.

GNOME on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS marks the first appearance of the new Unity-esque customized GNOME 3.0 desktop on a long-term support release. And it’s a great reason to upgrade Ubuntu to version 18.04.

3. Ubuntu 18.04’s Brand New Icon Set

Ubuntu GNOME icon set

Despite hopes to the contrary (and a dedicated community project), Ubuntu 18.04 does not boast a fresh new look. However, while the Ambiance theme is hanging around (despite looking a bit tired), some new icons are included in Ubuntu.

Open source icon project Suru has been incorporated into Ubuntu 18.04. These icons were originally seen in the abandoned Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system (now under the control of UBPorts.com).

As noted on the Suru web page (where you can take a look at what’s to come), “Original mobile application icons have been repurposed to theme their GNOME counterparts. Folder and file type icons have been added, based on an unreleased Suru concept. Plus a complete symbolic icon set has been created, with many icons based on the original Suru system icons.”

4. Color Emojis

Ubuntu GNOME smileys and emojis
Sick of Ubuntu leaving you with embarrassing black and white emojis? Upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS delivers full color emojis to your Ubuntu desktop by default.

You’re stoked, right? I can tell.

The emojis you’ll find in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS are the same open source emojis as found on Android.

5. Ubuntu 18.04 Uses the 4.15 Linux Kernel

Sitting at the heart of every Linux-based operating system is the kernel. This is basically the component of the operating system that talks to the hardware.

As we move away from the release date of Ubuntu 18.04, the v4.15 kernel becomes outdated. To keep things up to date, you might consider updating the Ubuntu Linux kernel.

6. Community-Sourced Default Features and Apps

Take the time on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to review the collection of community sourced features and apps. Announced in April 2017, the call for suggestions has had tremendous results. Look out for improved NVIDIA GPU and touchpad gesture support, as well as BlueZ implementation for improved Bluetooth functionality.

But it doesn’t end there. The Ubuntu community also suggested new apps to be bundled with the operating system. Consequently, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS includes choices such as Mozilla Firefox, LibreOffice, Kdenlive, and GNOME Calendar.

These tools will not be available in the operating system by default, however. Rather, you’ll have the option to install them as you install Ubuntu.

7. Xorg Display Server Returns to Ubuntu 18.04

Ubuntu GNOME login
Prior to 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu had a tough time, losing both Unity and the mobile variant, Ubuntu Touch. One of the biggest sticking points was the switch to the Wayland display server in Ubuntu 17.10.

While it continues to be earmarked as the display server of the future, the lack of app support for Wayland resulted in users switching back to Xorg.

As a result, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with Xorg restored as the default display server. However, it’s simple enough to switch back to Wayland, via a cog icon on the login screen.

8. Long Term Support Means Ubuntu 18.04 Is Reliable

With new versions of Ubuntu released every six months, it’s important to have a stable option. Long Term Support releases only come around every two years, but they’re vital for many.

Whether you’re a student, business, or gamer, an LTS release of Ubuntu brings with it a degree of stability. You can count on this version of Ubuntu in a way that isn’t possible with interim releases. As a result, LTS versions are more popular, and you’ll find plenty of support for the OS online.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS offers the reliability you’re looking for in an operating system. That’s worth a lot—yet this operating system is completely free.

Great Reasons to Upgrade Ubuntu Today

So, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is coming, and you have plenty of reasons to upgrade. To recap:

  1. Security enhancements
  2. GNOME on LTS
  3. Brand new icons
  4. Color emojis
  5. New Linux kernel
  6. Community-sourced features
  7. Xorg display server
  8. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is reliable

Want a better understanding of how this all fits in with Ubuntu? Check our Ubuntu startup guide. And if you’re ready, it may be now time to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04.

Read the full article: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: Should You Upgrade? 8 Reasons


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