It’s no secret that I think the nimble GNOME-based Budgie desktop is one of the best alternatives to GNOME Shell or Unity. It is lighter and leaner than either of those, but has a more cohesive and modern design than MATE or XFCE.
Naturally I’m also a fan of Ubuntu Budgie, the official Ubuntu flavor that uses the Budgie desktop by default. It provides all the benefits of Ubuntu and its ecosystem, but feathered beneath a clean, modern looking desktop interface.
Based on the preview notes for Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 the flavour’s development team are seriously upping the ante for the upcoming release.
Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 New Features
The key Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 features and improvements on offer include:
- New GTK theme
- New desktop applets
- Improved ‘Budgie Welcome’ app
- Improved keyboards shortcuts
- Dynamic workspaces
- MP3 support out-of-the-box
- New wallpapers
- OpenVNC support
Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 also inherits a stack of other features and updates from base Ubuntu 18.04. Accordingly you’ll find the flavor has full color emoji support out of the box, a new minimal install option in the installer, and top-tier support for Snap apps.
Talking of Snap apps…
Ubuntu Budgie Welcome Is a Snap App
The Ubuntu Budgie Welcome app launches on your first login after installing, and is available to open any time after from the app menu.
It offers a helpful heads-up on how to get up and running with the distro. It offers links to documentations and support channels, and makes it easy to install extra themes, apps and add-ons to help tailor your desktop to suit your own tastes and needs.
In Bionic Beaver the Budgie Welcome app is preinstalled as a Snap application. By using a Snap instead of a traditional repo app the flavour’s development team can keep the utility up-to-date, and add links to new apps, applets, and add-ons as and when they’re released over the course of the LTS cycle.
Ubuntu Budgie’s New GTK Theme
Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 includes a new default GTK theme called Pocillo. It’s a flat, modern theme with subtle color accents and highlights.
As is par-the-course these days you have an option of dark, light and standard (dark header bar, light widgets) versions.
Having your “own” GTK theme is also a nice bonus for the flavour, and helps it build on and establish a unique ‘Ubuntu Budgie’ look and feel.
If you prefer the look of the Arc GTK theme used in Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 you can easily switch back to it through the Welcome app.
New Budgie Applets
Budgie applets are cross the flexibility of GNOME Extensions with the uniform and consistency of indicator applets. The result is a set of little desktop extras that add to the whole Budgie desktop experience.
Last year I wrote a short article to spotlight the best Ubuntu Budgie applets available. Once the Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 release arrives I am going to have to update the post pronto.
Because Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 has upped the ante on applets by installing some really useful new Budgie applets as part of the default install:
- Quick Note – panel-based jot pad for text snippets
- DropBy applet – new USB device applet
- HotCorners – set-up and configure hot corners
Another new applet called Show Time lets you display a date and time widget on the desktop. While this is not as advanced as something like Conky it has customisable colors.
Even more new Budgie applets are available as optional extras to install via the ‘Budgie Welcome’ app.
- Clockworks – world clock/timezone applet
- CountDown – configurable countdown utility
- Keyboard Autoswitch – easily switch language
- Wallpaper Switcher – use a different wallpaper per workspace
- Window Mover – move windows quickly across workspaces
- Workspace Overview – quickly switch between windows on workspaces
Still no hint of a Budgie weather applet, though. sigh.
Download Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS
A stable Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 release is due on April 26, 2018. To try it out before the release date you can use a beta build.
Despite a release date of March 8 Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 beta 1 is not yet available to download.
While i’d advise any eager testers to wait for the formal beta the more impatient among you can download a daily build ISO.
Keep in mind that Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 is still under active development. Daily builds are not intended to be used on production systems. You should expect bugs, broken features, and rough edges.