Canonical has released the beta build of Ubuntu 22.10, the next release of their Ubuntu Linux distribution. Ahead of its October 20, 2022 release, we check out the Kinetic Kudu to see what’s new.
The Kinetic Kudu is an interim release of the Ubuntu Linux distribution produced by Canonical and the Ubuntu community. Interim releases are the builds—usually three of them—that come out at six-month intervals between the Long Term Support versions. LTS versions are released in April every two years. The last LTS build was 22.04, the Jammy Jellyfish. 22.10 is the first interim build since then.
Commercial or mission-critical installations tend to move from LTS build to LTS build, because they prioritize stability and long-term support over the newest visual tweaks and the latest round of upgraded applications. For the more casual user in a domestic setting, each build is a chance to move to a new kernel, new applications, and new eye candy. The new kernel and applications will always have security fixes, so that’s worth the price of admission in itself.
Of course, the only price of admission is the effort to either do an in situ upgrade or to reinstall and restore your data, according to your preference. It’s less effort to do an upgrade, but you’ll have a cleaner machine if you do a full reinstall. The reinstall option has the added burden of restoring your data, unless your “home” directory is on its own partition.
Many users will be excited about the arrival of GNOME 43, but of course other desktops are available on Ubuntu, such as the extremely popular KDE Plasma. As a surprise to some, Unity is now an officially recognized Ubuntu flavor. If you hanker for this abandoned desktop, you’ll be pleased about its resurrection.
The final release should be the same as this beta, but be aware that we can’t guarantee that’ll be the case.
The installer is Ubiquity, the well-known and efficient installation manager that Ubuntu has used for over 15 years now. A full installation took about 30 minutes on a modest, mid-performance PC.
The desktop is a fusion of purples and orange-browns with this season’s animal featured on the default wallpaper, and a dock that sits on the left-hand edge of the screen. The desktop is immediately recognizable as an Ubuntu desktop.
You might feel straight at home, but there are plenty of changes when you start to explore. The system menu has had some attention. It now holds a set of “Quick Toggle” buttons.
These let you turn on and off some common settings and features. The buttons that are available reflect the capabilities of your computer. If your computer is a desktop without Wi-Fi capability, you won’t see the Wi-Fi button. Some of the buttons are more than just toggles. The Wi-Fi button, for example, allows you to move between Wi-Fi networks.
The Volume slider has its own settings, accessed by clicking the “Arrowhead” icon. If your computer has different sound sources and output devices you’ll be able to select them here.
All of these settings are still available in the main “Settings” window, but it’s convenient having commonly used options just a few clicks away.
Speaking of, the “Settings” and “Files” windows are adaptive. They change their layout according to the width of the window. Reducing the width beyond a trigger point causes the sidebar to be removed.
In the “Files” application the sidebar can be accessed by clicking the “Sidebar” icon in the toolbar.
The “Settings” application has an “Arrowhead” icon that does the same thing, if less gracefully.
Ubuntu 22.10 brings a small collection of wallpapers that you can find in the “Appearance” pane of the “Settings” application.
The “Dock” has a new arrangement for previews of multiple instances of the same application. Right-clicking an icon in the “Dock” and selecting “All Windows” produces a display of thumbnails that are large enough to be useful.
You can close individual applications by pointing to their thumbnail and clicking the “x” icon.
The overview that appears when you press the “Super” key has been optimized. It now opens up to 15% faster.
Other optimizations include smoother animations, and support for high-resolution scroll wheels, thanks to a newer version of Mutter.
There’s a new default editor, called “Text Editor” and it has a new icon.
The venerable gEdit editor isn’t installed out-of-the-box but can be installed if you’d prefer to use what you’re familiar with. GNOME’s Text Editor works but feels a little basic.
If you’ve got used to working with some of the gEdit plug-ins, Text Editor is unlikely to scratch your text editing itch, but it is under constant development and will surely evolve into a true gEdit replacement.
RELATED: What’s New in GNOME 43?
Other Software Changes
Under the hood, there are other changes that will improve the user experience. The
wpa_supplicant wireless module has been replaced by Intel’s iNet Wireless Daemon. Canonical expects this to stop annoying Wi-Fi drop-outs and to make reconnection smoother and faster when a computer is brought out of suspension.
The problematic PulseAudio has been retired, and replaced by Pipewire. PulseAudio was one of those pieces of software that could work flawlessly for some people and at the same time have others tearing their hair out. Pipewire should make audio device management a straightforward and predictable affair, and less of an adventure.
Kinetic Kudu uses kernel 5.19. This has many enhancements. In particular, the handling of some accessories and peripherals is either new or has been improved.
- Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint II keyboard users can map buttons and use native scrolling.
- The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 TrackPoint “mouse pointer” gets better support.
- The kernel recognizes the function keys on Keychron wireless mechanical keyboards.
- Three-button Wacom digital pens are now supported.
- Firmware files compressed using the ZStandard compression with a ZST extension are automatically decompressed by the kernel.
- Improvements to the Direct Rendering Manager graphical subsystem deliver speed increases to both AMD and Intel GPUs.
- BIG TCP supports larger TSO/GRO packet sizes for IPv6 traffic.
- Improved network drivers for Realtek RTW89 5GHz wireless cards.
- Qualcomm’s ATH11K driver now has wake-on-LAN capabilities.
- Intel Skylake and Comet CPUs will no longer overheat when laptops were suspended.
- Intel Raptor and Alder Lake CPUs can use Running Average Power Limiting features to enforce a cap on the average maximum power the CPU can draw.
As you’d expect, much of the software that comes bundled with Ubuntu has been refreshed. Here are the version numbers for some of the major applications in 22.10.
- Firefox: 105.0.1
- Thunderbird: 102.3.0
- LibreOffice: 220.127.116.11
- Files (Nautilus): 43.0
- GCC: 12.2.0
- OpenSSL: 3.0.5
Kudos to the Kudu
Ubuntu 22.10 brings GNOME 43 into the Ubuntu fold, along with the many enhancements of kernel 5.19.
Interim builds are a chance for Canonical to introduce and refine new features off-line from their LTS builds. By the time these new features make their way into an LTS build, they’ve been field-tested and—if required—debugged.
Having said that, the Kinetic Kudu performed without any issues in our tests, and felt solid and reliable. If you’re wondering whether you ought to give Ubuntu a try, this would be a great release to hop onto. Existing users of Ubuntu won’t be disappointed either.
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