Six months in the making but today Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf staggers out of the wilderness, ready to sink its teeth in to your computer.
You can get your paws on a Ubuntu 15.10 download right now by scrolling down and hitting the download button at the bottom of this post. Alternatively, if you’re running Ubuntu 15.04 you can perform an in-place upgrade from your current Ubuntu desktop installation — keep an eye out for the upgrade prompt.
While you wait for your download to complete or the upgrade dialog to appear, let’s take a look at some of the changes shipping in Ubuntu 15.10.
A Brief Ubuntu 15.10 Review
For a release named after a terrifying mythological creature Ubuntu 15.10 is surprisingly tame.
There are no dramatic transformations, no bone popping or shirt ripping and certainly no hair sprouting under the milky eye of full moon. In fact, a new wallpaper and change in scrollbar appearance is about as shapeshift-y as this werewolf gets.
So there isn’t a whole lot to howl about but there is still plenty of meat on the bone.
There’s a new kernel, welcome bug fixes, improvements in the usability of the Unity desktop shell and, a fresh, fleshy serving of new software updates.
A bump to most of the GNOME 3.16 also reaps benefits. You now have access to more of GNOME’s excellent (and ever growing) suite of core apps, plus the ability to use modern GTK3 themes, like Arc.
It’s a combination of minor itches scratched; a release that feels every bit as confident as it looks.
- Unity polish and fixes
- Steam controller support
- New scrollbars
- Linux Kernel 4.2
- Updated apps, including LibreOffice 5
- Ubuntu Make update
- New wallpapers
- Python 3.5 Support
Ubuntu 15.10 Features
New Overlay Scrollbars
Ubuntu 15.10 features new scrollbars.
Canonical has dropped its own Unity Overlay Scrollbars, which were thin, hidden, and had hard-to-hit pop-out handles, and replaced them with upstream GNOME’s take.
GNOME overlay scrollbars are auto-expand when mouse over so as to save space in applications and have a large ‘grab’ area to make them easier to move.
‘Unity has received some small fixes and usability improvements’
Unity, the default desktop shell, has been handed a batch of small fixes and usability improvements for Ubuntu 15.10.
For example, you can now drag and drop apps from the Unity Dash to the desktop to create shortcuts, and navigate through Dash results using keyboard navigation keys.
The Unity Dash search box text and BFB tooltip no longer make mention of ‘online sources’ when you have online source searching set to ‘disabled’ under System Settings > Privacy.
Other changes in Unity 7.3.3:
- You can now drag and drop apps from the Dash to the desktop to create shortcuts
- Page up/down keyboard navigation works as scroll in the Dash
- Dash title & BFB tooltip is updated based on your privacy settings
- Session exit buttons now have a click effect
- Fix to prevent ‘shutdown’ of computer when screen is locked
- Active app icons now show unfolded when launcher accordion triggered
- Fix for full screen menubar
- Fixes issues with ‘show desktop’ that caused window decoration for two windows of same app to vanish
- Dash: Non-expandable category headers skipped in keyboard navigation
- Dash: Non-expandable category headers are no longer highlighted on mouse over
- Dash: screenreader and KeyNav fixes
- New setting to control the show-now delay (when pressing Alt key)
- Logic tweak to stop adjacent menu opening when moving from an indicator icon to its menu
New Default Wallpaper
A new default wallpaper is included (trivia: the only version of Ubuntu to not ship with a new default wallpaper was Ubuntu 14.10).
Rather like the rest of Ubuntu the new default wallpaper show only the subtlest of transitions from the previous design.
If it’s not to your taste, no worries. A new set of community sourced wallpapers are also included.
Despite the Ubuntu 15.10 wallpaper contest attracting just 40 or so entrants — similar contests for ‘free culture’ audio and video categories fared even worse, scoring fewer than 5 entrants between them — the quality of wallpapers is still high.
Here’s hoping the culture showcase can be improved for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS — especially as the wallpapers will remain in use for 5 years!
Linux Kernel 4.2
The Ubuntu 15.10 kernel version is 4.2, released at the end of August.
This brings better hardware support, including initial support for Intel’s 64-bit “Broxton” Atom chips. There’s also new AMD GPU driver supporting recent Radeon GPUs, and F2FS file-system encryption support.
Ubuntu Make, a command-line utility that makes installing popular developer tools easier on Ubuntu, now supports even more platforms, frameworks and services, including a full Android development environment.
Persistent Network Interface Names
Ubuntu 15.10 introduces stateless persistent network interface names — a technical feature that, for most of us, has little bearing on how Ubuntu runs.
In short it allows interface names for networking hardware to be maintained between reboots, kernel updates, driver changes or hardware being unplugged or removed.
Steam Controller Support
The new Steam Controller is starting to land in gamers hands across the world and Ubuntu 15.10 has native controller support out of the box — no tweaks or modifications necessary.
If you have one of the new controllers all you need to do is install Steam using the Ubuntu package in the Ubuntu Software Centre, then plug your device in.
The Steam installer package takes care of setting requisite udev and uinput rules and permissions.
Application updates (naturally) feature. Among them:
- Firefox 41
- Chromium 45
- LibreOffice 5.0.2
- Nautilus (aka ‘Files’) 3.14.2
- Totem (aka ‘Videos’) 3.16
- Rhythmbox 3.2.1
- GNOME Terminal 3.16
- Eye of GNOME 3.16
- Empathy 3.12.10
- Shotwell 0.22
Download Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf
Ubuntu 15.10 is supported by critical security fixes, bug fixes and select app updates for 9 months.
You can grab an .iso image from the link below but note that the official release announcement has not yet been made. I.e., those of you already running Ubuntu 15.04 won’t see an upgrade prompt for a couple hours.