It’s alive — Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster” is now available to download.
This update is the latest short-term release of the Ubuntu Linux operating system and is supported by 9 months of ongoing support, bug fixes, and critical app updates. This might not sound like a long time but Ubuntu 23.10 is released in 6 months time and users of this release will be able to upgrade to it.
If you asked me to describe Ubuntu 23.04 in one word I’d choose: “improvement”. Nothing in this release is revolutionary – but that’s not a bad thing.
There’s a big user experience uplift courtesy of GNOME 44 and enhancements, and a brand new Ubuntu installer helps improves the onboarding experience.
Foundationally, Ubuntu 23.04 runs on the latest Linux kernel 6.2 release, ships Mesa 23.0 graphics drivers (with in-distro access to proprietary NVIDIA drivers for those who need them), plus updates all of the requisite tooling, toolchains, and programming packages developers need.
Regular readers will be abreast of all what’s new in Ubuntu 23.04, so if you’re among them feel free to skip straight to the download section to go grab an
.iso for yourself!
Otherwise, read on for a recap!
Ubuntu 23.04 ‘Lunar Lobster’
Ubuntu 23.04 includes a new installer. It’s made using Flutter, and leverages Subiquity, Canonical’s CLI installer for Ubuntu Server, and Curtin technologies. This version does (almost) everything the old one did but with a more modern flair, an improved partition manager, and a fab looking new slideshow during install.
As mentioned, GNOME 44 provides the bulk of user-facing changes in Ubuntu 23.04. The most visible of these are present in the pill-based Quick Settings menu.
Here, new subtitles provide more information at a glance (like the name of the active wi-fi connection); the entire menu is keyboard navigable; and it’s possible to quickly connect/disconnect to previously paired Bluetooth devices within the menu itself — a great addition:
Flatpak app users — remember: Flatpak is not installed by default on Ubuntu — will also notice a new “Background Apps” section appear in the Quick Settings menu whenever a Flatpak app is running in the background without an application window open.
The Nautilus file manager benefits from a batch of changes:
- Expandable folders option for list view
- Re-added “medium” icon view size
- Extra tab menu options
- Paste images from clipboard as images file
Notably, there’s now a thumbnail view in the GTK file picker – a long-standing user request that has taken a fair while to be implemented.
In Settings the Mouse & Touchpad panel is revamped with new options and useful gesture animations; Linux kernel version is now shown in the About panel; and the Accessibility section given a makeover (and a couple of new options, including a toggle to turn off overlay scrollbars in GNOME).
WireGuard VPN connections can be added and configured from the Network panel itself, and it’s possible to share passwords for Wi-Fi networks you’ve connected to with others as a QR code — just don’t showcase that feature in a video like I did, inadvertently leaking a password to the world!
Unread notification counts are now badged on Ubuntu Dock app icons; there are a swathe of updated apps (though not Transmission 4.0 sadly); larger user account avatars on login and lock screens; and an assorted miscellany of nips, tucks, and fixes throughout the system.
On the visual front there are new Yaru icons for LibreOffice and the ‘screenshot’ action in the Quick Settings menu; there are new wallpapers; and a thinner version of the Ubuntu font is used by default with the monospace variant lending terminal output a slightly larger look.
A new ‘refresh awareness’ feature allows updates for running snap apps to be downloaded in the background and applied automatically once the app is closed. This allows users to get updates faster, without endless naggy notifications telling them to update.
Raspberry Pi users who upgrade to Ubuntu 23.04 will enjoy a fully hardware accelerated experience while browsing the web — nice!
You can download Ubuntu 23.04 from the official Ubuntu website, or though official mirror sites (once they’ve had time to sync). Torrent files are also available should you prefer those and don’t forget: you can upgrade to Ubuntu 23.04 directly, no re-install required.
As usual, the Ubuntu 23.04 download comes as a 64-bit ISO. You need to write/flasg this image file to a USB stick, SD card, or a blank DVD, or boot the image in a virtual machine software like VirtualBox, QEMU, VMWare etc.