- Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” will be released on October 12th, 2023, boasting GNOME 45, Kernel 6.5, and a new Flutter-based App Center.
- The default installation is the minimal installation, but you can still install the traditional “fully-loaded” Ubuntu if desired.
- The updated App Center, now Flutter-based, promotes Snaps over traditional DEB files, but DEB functionality is still available, if a little hidden.
- The new release also features new wallpapers, Ubuntu’s tweaks to GNOME, and kernel improvements to improve boot and restore times.
Canonical is releasing Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” on October 12th, 2023. To let you know what you can expect, we grabbed the bull by the horns and installed the latest beta build.
The Mantic Minotaur
The Fall 2023 interim release of Ubuntu Linux will hit the streets on October 12th, 2023. Complete with its obligatory alliterative animal-based code name, this latest spin of the extremely Linux distribution boasts GNOME 45, Kernel 6.5, and a new Flutter-based App Center.
Mantic is the 39th release of Ubuntu. It’s an interim release, meaning it will receive nine months of support including bug fixes, hot fixes, and updates. The Ubuntu release sequence is to have three interim releases, then a Long Term Support release. LTS releases are supported for five years. Mantic is the third of the current run of interim releases, meaning the next Ubuntu release, 24.04, will be an LTS release.
With an LTS version just around the corner, is it worth upgrading to this latest, short-lived interim build? We installed the Ubuntu 23.10 beta to find out. Because it is a beta build, there’s an outside chance there may be slight differences between the version we tested and the final release.
That said, let’s grab the bull by the horns, and check it out.
Installing Ubuntu 23.10
The size of the Ubuntu ISO has been growing steadily over the years. A plan was proposed to reduce its size by removing most of the applications that had previously been bundled by default. Users could still install them manually if they wanted, but the plan was for the out-of-the-box Ubuntu 23.10 to be stripped right back to a few basic applications.
On the face of it, it isn’t completely without merit. Arch Linux takes this approach, and then some. An Arch install isn’t just stripped back, it’s positively austere. It means your fresh operating system has no bloat at all.
However, Arch and Ubuntu have very different target audiences. Giving Linux newcomers a working system with a large, curated collection of installed software is newbie-friendly, and has always been one of Ubuntu’s attractions.
It looks like somebody inside Canonical heard the unhappy rumblings, because the decision has been reversed and the option to install a fully-loaded version of Ubuntu has been reinstated. There’s still a difference though. The installation program defaults to installing the streamlined, lightweight version.
To Install the fully-loaded version, you’ll need to select the “Expanded Installation” option. In previous releases, the options were “Normal Installation” and “Minimal Installation”, with “Normal Installation” selected by default.
Also new in the Installation Application, tucked away in “Advanced Options”, you’re able to opt for the ZFS file system, and TPM-backed Full Disk Encryption. Both of these are experimental and shouldn’t be used on important systems. They’re there for the testers and the curious.
In addition to the usual bug fixes and security improvements, kernel 6.5 has had work done to improve boot times on systems fitted with high-core Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC and other multi-core high-end desktop computers and servers.
Laptops using the AMD Ryzen CPU will enjoy slightly faster resume times from the suspended state. The Ryzen 7000 series CPUs benefit from changes to the amd64_edac error detection and correction driver. These enhancements enable error-correcting memory functionality on ECC-capable motherboards such as the ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR X670E Hero motherboard, designed for AMD Ryzen 7000 and AM5 CPUs.
Intel and AMD have each submitted code for their graphics drivers that should enhance the user experience and stability when using eDP LCD panels with variable refresh rates.
File systems have seen some work too. The NTFS files system can use an alternate boot mode if it encounters corrupt primary boot records. The EXT4 file system gains throughput improvements in certain data-writing situations.
We’ve covered GNOME 45 in depth else where. As usual, Ubuntu includes its own tweaks to Standard GNOME.
GNOME already lets you drag a window to the edge of your desktop and have it snap to a size that’s one-half of the width of your desktop. The trick is to make your cursor hit the desktop edge as you’re dragging the window. You can also make a window snap to cover the entire desktop by doing the same to the top edge.
Tiling Assistant is a GNOME extension that increases this standard GNOME functionality to include snapping to quarter-sized windows when you drag a window to the top or bottom corners of your desktop. Do this for each corner of your desktop, and you’ll have something loosely similar to a tiling window manager. It is installed by default in Ubuntu 23.10.
If you resize a window, the other windows swell or shrink to accommodate it. This isn’t something that will fit into everyone’s workflow, but it’s a nice addition.
You can also snap a window to a full-width, half-height by dragging it to the top or bottom edge of the desktop.
Updated App Center
Mantic has an updated App Center. It’s now Flutter-based, with a new layout and a modern, uncluttered feel.
I’ve heard it called the App Store, the Software Center, and the App Center. The tooltip in the dock says “App Center.”
But, interestingly, the tooltip in the Activities Overview reads “Snap-Store.”
Of course, Ubuntu prefers Snaps and promotes them in preference to traditional DEB files. At first, I thought DEB functionality had been removed completely. As I browsed through the application categories and listings I couldn’t find one application I could install from a DEB file. It seemed to be a choice of a Snap or nothing. But I was wrong. Installing from DEB files is still there, if you poke around. They show up in search results under the rather opaque title “Debian Packages.”
One nice touch is the “Manage” screen. This lets you check for updates, apply updates, and to search and review your installed Snap packages.
Every release of Ubuntu is accompanied by a new set of wallpapers. The Minotaur’s new wardrobe sticks with the expected purple color pallet. There’s only one image that’s a photograph, the others are graphic art.
One is a retro 8-bit graphic rendering of our Minotaur mascot.
We installed the “Expanded Installation” and also installed the “build-essential” package so that we could see what versions of software we’d receive.
These are the versions in our beta build.
- Kernel: 6.5.0-5-generic
- LibreOffice: 22.214.171.124
- Thunderbird: 115.2.3
- Firefox: 117.0.1
- Nautilus: (Files) 45.rc
- GCC: 13.2.0
- binutils: 2.41
- glibc: 2.38
- GNU Debugger: 14.0.50
Is Ubuntu 23.10 Worth the Upgrade?
If I were still using Ubuntu, I’d upgrade. GNOME 45 is worth the upgrade in itself. Coupled with the improvements to the kernel, especially if you run high-core CPUs or AMD hardware, it makes it well worth the effort to upgrade, even though there’s an LTS build coming in April 2024.
If you’re doing a clean installation, just make sure you select the version that suits your needs. To get your ISO, check out the Ubuntu 23.10 downloads page.