What’s new in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) was out yesterday April 21, 2016, already we have covered about Ubuntu 16.04 Upgrade procedure. There is no much improvement on Unity 7.4 because Canonical has been focused on Ubuntu Touch for past two years with Unity 8 due to some pending work Unity 8 didn’t ported with Ubuntu 16.04. I can see three major improvements on Ubuntu 16.04 such as Gnome Software Center, Unity launcher option to move bottom of the screen & ZFS File System apart from this it’s one of the LTS Release and will get support and updates until 2021.

1) Unity Launcher can be moved to the bottom

Till last release of Ubuntu 15.10 we don’t have option to move the launcher to the bottom but finally in Ubuntu 16.04 users can move the launcher from Left to Bottom and again Bottom to Left by issuing below command on terminal. Initially the request was raised by a user on 2010 and Mark Shuttleworth clearly said they can’t implement because of their layout design goal but After 6 years, it’s implemented successfully.

[Move Unity to Bottom]
$ sudo gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

[Move Unity to Left]
$ sudo gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left

Alternatively we can do through GUI (using Unity Tweak Tool), Make sure you Unity Tweak toll should have installed on your system. If it’s not installed, just fire the below command to install it.

$ sudo sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Navigate to Unity Tweak Tool >> Launcher >> change Position option from Left to Bottom under Appearance section.

2) Replaced GNOME Software Center

Ubuntu Software Center has been dropped for some time and replaced GNOME Software Center due to few long time issues still remain, such as more resource usage & slowness on application. we have discussed about this long time back for more details. Make a note, they have replaced GNOME Software Center instead of Ubuntu Software Center not for GNOME Softwares in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

3) Disabled Spyware (Online search)

By default Ubuntu Online search has been disabled on Ubuntu 16.04 and not yet dropped entirely from unity. This was requested by huge number of users from many years. you can re-enable the feature by going to Settings >> Security & Privacy >> Search. Whenever you search something on Unity search, you will get more results because the search query sent to Canonical and other third party servers such as Amazon, wikipedia, etc..

4) GNOME Calendar

GNOME Calendar is now included by default which will help us to track our meetings and other works.

5) Plymouth

Plymouth also known as bootsplash is graphic animation while the boot process is occurring in the background. Since 2009 Debian didn’t upgraded but Ubuntu 16.04 get updated one.

6) ZFS file system

ZFS file system by default included in Ubuntu 16.04 which is widely using as a date storage file system. Most of the major distribution already adapted and Ubuntu bit late but anyhow finally did it.

7) Session Management

Shortcuts added for Session Management such as restart, shutdown, etc from the Unity Dash, i’m feeling bit speed & easy compare with usual shutdown method.

8) USB Startup Creator

Brand new QML-based USB Startup Creator is now being ported with Ubuntu 16.04 and this application used to write all distribution images.

9) Menu visibility

Added Menus visibility settings under Appearance panel which is used to show App menu is visible on mouse hovering in Unity panel. We can set this permanently by navigating System settings >> Appearance >> Behavior.

10) Microphone Slider

Added Microphone input volume slider under Sound Menu panel when a microphone is connected or present. By default it preset on System settings >> Sound >> Input.

11) Drupal 7 issue

We can’t install/run Drupal 7 on Ubuntu 16.04 because upstream testing with PHP 7.0 got The fail, we have to wait some time to get upstream PHP7.0 support is available.

12) IBM LinuxOne

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS added a new port to 64-bit z/Architecture for IBM mainframe LinuxONE computers.

13) Snappy

Snappy is a transactional package manager built by Canonical Ltd for Ubuntu Touch devices (mobile & tablets). We can easily install latest versions of software whenever they are out from upstream also Developer can easily publish their application without any dependency issue because snappy core holding all the version of library so they can use exact version of library based on their App. It’s A new, transactional mechanism to apply atomic software updates.

14) Graphics and Display

fglrx driver has been deprecated in 16.04 and added open source alternatives radeon & amdgpu drivers support. They backported kernel code from Linux 4.5 to provide a better experience but Due to some limitation it wont support older AMD Radeon graphics hardware. When upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 from a previous release, both the fglrx driver and the xorg.conf will be removed. So, i will advise people’s to not upgrade whoever having AMD Radeon graphics hardware.

15) Dropped Packages

We are going to miss Brasero disc burning software & Empathy messaging software.

16) click lock

click lock option used to move a file or folder around without having to hold the mouse button on it. The feature is already there in windows and now it’s added into Ubuntu 16.04.

17) Upgrade firmware

Through GNOME Software Center users allowed to upgrade their firmware (think BIOS/EFI) straight from the OS.

18) Other Software

I have listed some of the other software updates here.

  • All default applications and libraries ported to use WebKit 2
  • GNOME Calendar is now included by default
  • Chromium upgraded to version 48
  • Firefox upgraded to version 45
  • Improved HiDPI support in the greeter
  • LibreOffice 5.1
  • Improved launcher integration with file manager and devices
  • Support for formatting removable devices from quicklist
  • Activate app spread by Super+Ctrl+W
  • Unity control center option to always show menus
  • Improvements to GNOME key grabbing
  • New dash overlay scrollbars
  • Better Dash theming support
  • Support for scaling cursors in HiDPI environments
  • GNOME 3.18. with GLib 2.48
  • Apt 1.2 added new privilege separation unprivileged “_apt” user
  • lxd 2.0
  • docker 1.10
  • PHP 7.0
  • MySQL 5.7
  • Juju 2.0
  • OpenSSH 7.2p2
  • Python 3.5

19) Bugs

you may face few issue, then report bugs.

  • Sometimes Gtk application menus go missing, then simply run the command to get it back restart unity-panel-service
  • Software Center issue : You will face few issues on software center such as
    • Removing apps leaves dependencies installed
    • Doesn’t recognize self-reviews
    • Review stars aren’t clickable
    • you can see two Software Center icon on launcher when you Upgrades from previous versions)
  • Please report bugs using the tools provided.

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