Well, here we are. After six busy months, one beta and a bunch of minor changes, the final stable release of Ubuntu 15.04 is now ready for you to download.
Only a modest set of improvements are rolling out with Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet. While this means the release can’t rival the heavy change-logs of releases past, the adage ‘don’t fix what isn’t broke’ is clearly one the Vervet plays to.
The bug fixes, improvements in usability and a fresh serving of software updates add up to a somewhat substantive total, creating a release that feels more polished than ever.
Enough chatter. Let’s dive in and see what’s new in Ubuntu 15.04.
Ubuntu 15.04 – New Features
‘You may notice a change in boot speed [because of Systemd]…’
The headline change in Ubuntu 15.04 is the introduction of the Systemd init system at boot-time.
This is the software that initializes (hence the name ‘init’) first when booting, and handles loading of the various modules and background processes that make much of a modern computer operating system do what it needs to.
Ubuntu previously used Upstart, its own custom-made Init system, at boot time. When Debian, the Linux distribution that Ubuntu is built upon, chose to adopt Systemd Ubuntu understandably fell in line.
Upstart is available in 15.04. It’s included as a fallback in GRUB and is used for controlling user sessions.
The merits (or lack thereof) of the switch are largely moot for the less technically minded. It is possible that some users will notice a slight change in boot speed depending on their configuration.
The Unity desktop environment used by default in Ubuntu 15.04 receives a handful of small refinements, most of which aim to either fix bugs or correct missteps in earlier versions.
For example, application menus can now be set to ‘Always Show’.
Yeah; you no longer have to push your mouse to the top of the screen to show the ‘File’, ‘Edit’, ‘Help’, etc menus — not if you don’t want to.
If you prefer having your applications menus available inside application windows use the toggle in System Settings > Appearance > Behaviour to set things up how you like.
These “locally integrated menus”, introduced in 14.10, also support the ‘Always Show’ feature and showing up on mouseover of unfocused windows.
Other improvements to Unity in Vivid Vervet include a fix for showing the overlay elements (HUD, Dash, etc) over fullscreen windows and small adjustments to the speed of login and logout animations.
Powering the Unity desktop experience is Compiz, the tried-and-trusted window manager. In keeping with the rest of this release the changes it gets are modest and made up of bug fixes and compatibility with alternative desktop environments.
Ubuntu Linux Kernel 3.19
While not based on the latest version of the Linux Kernel Ubuntu 15.04 ships with a modified version of 3.19.3 one. Expect a few updates to the most recent 3.19.x patch releases shortly after release.
You’ll also find updated versions many of Ubuntu’s default apps, including the latest Firefox web-browser and Thunderbird e-mail client, a new version of the Rhythmbox music player plus an entirely revamped Totem video player.
- LibreOffice 4.4
- Firefox 37
- Thunderbird 31.6
- Shotwell 0.20.2
- Nautilus 3.14.2
- Evince 3.14.2
- Rhythmbox 3.1
- Totem 3.14.1
- GNOME Terminal 3.14
New Default Wallpaper
Ubuntu’s default wallpaper choice is irrelevant to some, integral to others. Whatever side of the fence you sit on the new wallpaper is palatable enough. After all: first impressions count.
Expect to see this new design flash up in various ‘Ubuntu in the wild’ posts over the next six months!
Having been formally introduced in last October’s release the ‘Ubuntu Developer Tools Center’ has undergone a number of changes for Vivid, including being renamed as the more memorable ‘Ubuntu Make’.
Ubuntu Make simplifies the process of installing a host of developer-focused tools, editors, libraries and software development kits including the Android SDK, IDEA, PyCharm, and the new Firefox Developer Edition.
Improvements to the way library managers behave now allows multiple system libraries to be run/used without conflict.
Our Vivid Verdict
‘Ubuntu 15.04 shines… a glowing example of a desktop that just works for users’
Ubuntu 15.04 is yet another solid entry in the distribution’s long release history. A dependable desktop operating system suited for end users but with plenty of convenient extras to woo developers with.
Though the Unity 7 desktop is largely mothballed as work progresses on the new converged experience with Unity 8, the modest refinements received here buff the experience. Unity in Ubuntu 15.04 shines brighter, a glowing example of a desktop that ‘just works’ for users.
With a support period of just nine months and many of the Unity improvements on show being backported to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, the case for upgrading is weakened.
But for fans who like running the latest version and for developers in need of the latest packages and libraries to work with, Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet offers few drawbacks, plenty of positives.
Download Ubuntu 15.04 ‘Vivid Vervet’
Looking for Ubuntu 15.04 downloads? .ISO images are available to download direct from Canonical through your browser
Alternatively, you may get your download faster by using the torrents below.
To upgrade Ubuntu 14.10 to Ubuntu 15.04 you’ll need to be patient; you’ll get a notification prompt asking if you want to upgrade at some point in the next 24 to 48 hours. You can check for the update from the command line (in 14.10) by using;
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS users will need to manually opt-in to non-LTS releases in the ‘Software & Updates > Updates’ tab to see the prompt.