Ubuntu 20.10 is the next major version of Ubuntu and is due for release on October 22, 2020.

Learn when Ubuntu 20.10 will be released and what new features it will include

With Ubuntu 20.04 out of the way developers have turned their attention to the next release. Though things are still in flux (i.e. not finished yet) we do know several things, including when it will be released, how long it’ll be supported for, and many of the new features it comes with.

So keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Ubuntu 20.10 features, changes and improvements.

Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’

Groovy Gorilla

Ubuntu 20.10 is named ‘Groovy Gorilla’. This alliterative codename combo doesn’t offer us much insight into the kind of release developers have in mind, but it’s gloriously graphic enough to ensure that some great artwork will be produced to help promote it!

Ubuntu 20.10 is a short-term release (STR). It is supported for 9 months with on-going core bug fixes, security patches, and new app releases. After that? Nothing.

While this support window may seem short it is in keeping with Ubuntu’s tradition of releasing 1 long-term support (LTS) release every 2 years (and supported for 5 years) with 3 STRs in-between.

Ubuntu 20.10 Release Date

The Ubuntu 20.10 release date is October 22, 2020.

This date, along with those for other development milestones scheduled to take place over the next six months, is listed on Launchpad, aka the home of Ubuntu development.

Other important milestones in the Groovy Gorilla development cycle include (strikethrough means milestone has passed):

  • Testing week: July 3, 2020
  • UI Freeze: September 17, 2020
  • Ubuntu 20.10 Beta: October 1, 2020
  • Kernel Freeze: October 8, 2020
  • Release Candidate: October 15, 2020

In late October Ubuntu 20.10 will become the 23rd version of this popular Linux-based operating system to be released.

Ubuntu 20.10 Features

Ubuntu 20.10 inherits all of the new GNOME 3.38 features. The latest version of this open source desktop environment adds support for manually rearranging icons in the Applications grid, paginating app folders with more than 9 shortcuts in, and scale-aware sizing, i.e. better use of screen space.

A visible ‘Restart‘ option is now available in the System Menu; you can turn your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot using the QR code generated in Settings; and a selection of parental controls are available on a per-account basis through the Users panel.

Qr Wifi code in Ubuntu 20.10
Share wifi hotspot using QR codes in Groovy

Support for fingerprint login is another area of improvement in Ubuntu 20.10 (and upstreamed in GNOME 3.38). Interestingly some of this work is also being back ported to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Elsewhere, the ‘blurry desktop background‘ issue is being tackled (again) for Groovy, as is work to revamp the Software Properties dialog to better line up with recent mockups produced by Canonical’s design team.

There’s also discussion about moving the ‘Startup Applications’ app into the main Settings app.

A silent change is support for OEM kernels (i.e. devices sold with Ubuntu). This includes a way of updating OEM packages online and features some user-facing changes to “celebrate” the fact the user is using a machine ‘certified for Ubuntu’.

The Ubuntu installer, Ubquity, now has Active Directory (AD) integration (this is more of an enterprise feature than something home users will need).

Groovy features improved fingerprint support

Those who often run command line tasks will be interested to hear that Ubuntu plans to enable ‘process completion’ notifications by default. This is something other Linux distros, such as elementary OS, have offered for a long time.

Laptops users also benefit from high precision touchpad scrolling in Firefox on Ubuntu 20.10 (in the default Xorg session) — though only once Firefox 81 is released to take advantage of it.

Finally, desktop lead Martin Wimpress has teased full Ubuntu desktop support for the Raspberry Pi 4 (8GB).

Some things I hope get improved (but probably won’t)

There are a couple of small things I’d like Ubuntu to include/fix/remedy.

For instance, downstream distros based on Ubuntu like Pop!_OS offer a built-in recovery feature. This makes it easy to “factory reset” the system without the hassle of downloading .iso files, and all that jazz. In 2020 it’s bizarre that Ubuntu, aka the most widely used desktop Linux operating system, doesn’t offer something as basic as that.

Also, I can’t be the only person to find the “new” Snap version of Software Center a chore for finding apps, surely? Every app search I make returns irrelevant and unrelated Snap “apps” above the thing I’m actually looking for. It’s frustrating! 😆

Finally, desktop icons.

Oh boy.

This GNOME extension is …bad. It lacks basic, essential features one might expect. I’d go as far as to say that if Ubuntu didn’t ship it …it’d be all the better for it. I mean: why tease me with the veneer of behaving how I expect if it actually can’t? It’s just a let down.

I also find it extremely jarring that desktop icons vanish from view the second the Applications or Activities screens is triggered. A simple fade in/out would feel more fluid. As is, it’s too blunt; I always think it’s a glitch or crash which, given the rest of its deficiencies, is what I’m expecting anyway.

Sidenote — I could probably hammer out an entire article’s worth of little gripes, but that’s enough to be going on with for now!

Download Ubuntu 20.10

You can download Ubuntu 20.10 daily builds ahead of the final stable release.

Keep in mind that daily builds should not be considered reliable, or used as your only OS. That said, they do offer a way to check in on and help test out the upcoming release and its changes.

Download Ubuntu 20.10 Daily Build (64-bit .iso)

What is your own wish/want from Ubuntu 20.10? Let me know in the comments
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