Ubuntu releases are made semiannually by Canonical Ltd, the developers of the Ubuntu operating system, using the year and month of the release as a version number. The first Ubuntu release, for example, was Ubuntu 4.10 and was released on 20 October 2004. Consequently, version numbers for future versions are provisional; if the release is delayed until a different month (or even year) to that planned, the version number will change accordingly.
Canonical schedules Ubuntu releases to occur approximately one month after GNOME releases, resulting in each Ubuntu release including a newer version of GNOME.
Every fourth release, occurring in the second quarter of even-numbered years, has been designated as a long-term support (LTS) release. The desktop version of LTS releases for 10.04 and earlier were supported for three years, with server version support for five years. LTS releases 12.04 and newer are freely supported for five years. Through the ESM paid option, support can be extended even longer, up to a total of ten years for 18.04. The support period for non-LTS releases is 9 months. Prior to 13.04, it had been 18 months.
Ubuntu releases are also given code names, using an adjective and an animal with the same first letter – an alliteration, e.g., "Dapper Drake". With the exception of the first two releases, code names are in alphabetical order, and except for the first three releases, the first letters are sequential, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer. As of Ubuntu 17.10, however, the initial letter "rolled over" and returned to "A". Names are occasionally chosen so that animal appearance or habits reflects some new feature, e.g., "Koala's favourite leaf is Eucalyptus"; see below. Ubuntu releases are often referred to using only the adjective portion of the code name, e.g., "Feisty".
Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog), released on 20 October 2004, is Canonical's first release of Ubuntu, building upon Debian, with plans for a new release every six months and eighteen months of support thereafter. It used the ext3 file system. Support ended on 30 April 2006. Ubuntu 4.10 was offered as a free download and, through Canonical's ShipIt service, was also mailed to users free of charge in CD format.
Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog), released on 8 April 2005, is Canonical's second release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 31 October 2006. Ubuntu 5.04 added many new features including an Update Manager, upgrade notifier, readahead and grepmap, suspend, hibernate and standby support, dynamic frequency scaling for processors, Ubuntu hardware database, Kickstart installation, and APT authentication. Ubuntu 5.04 was the first version that allowed installation from USB devices. Beginning with Ubuntu 5.04, UTF-8 became the default character encoding.
Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger), released on 12 October 2005, is Canonical's third release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 13 April 2007. Ubuntu 5.10 added several new features including a graphical bootloader (Usplash), an Add/Remove Applications tool, a menu editor (Alacarte), an easy language selector, logical volume management support, full Hewlett-Packard printer support, OEM installer support, a new Ubuntu logo in the top-left, and Launchpad integration for bug reporting and software development.
Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake), released on 1 June 2006, is Canonical's fourth release of Ubuntu, and the first long-term support (LTS) release. Ubuntu 6.06 was released behind schedule, having been intended as 6.04. It is sometimes jokingly described as their first "Late To Ship" (LTS) release. Development was not complete in April 2006 and Mark Shuttleworth approved slipping the release date to June, making it 6.06 instead. Support ended on 14 July 2009 for desktops and ended in June 2011 for servers.
Ubuntu 6.06 included several new features, including having the Live CD and Install CD merged onto one disc, a graphical installer on Live CD (Ubiquity), Usplash on shutdown as well as startup, a network manager for easy switching of multiple wired and wireless connections, Humanlooks theme implemented using Tango guidelines, based on Clearlooks and featuring orange colors instead of brown, and GDebi graphical installer for package files. Ubuntu 6.06 did not include a means to install from a USB device, but did for the first time allow installation directly onto removable USB devices.
Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft), released on 26 October 2006, is Canonical's fifth release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 25 April 2008. Ubuntu 6.10 added several new features including a heavily modified Human theme, Upstart init daemon, automated crash reports (Apport), Tomboy note taking application, and F-Spot photo manager. EasyUbuntu, a third party program designed to make Ubuntu easier to use, was included in Ubuntu 6.10 as a meta-package.
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), released on 19 April 2007, is Canonical's sixth release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 19 October 2008. Ubuntu 7.04 included several new features, among them a migration assistant to help former Microsoft Windows users transition to Ubuntu, support for Kernel-based Virtual Machine, assisted codec and restricted drivers installation including Adobe Flash, Java, MP3 support, easier installation of Nvidia and ATI drivers, Compiz desktop effects, support for Wi-Fi Protected Access, the addition of Sudoku and chess, a disk usage analyzer (baobab), GNOME Control Center, and zeroconf support for many devices.
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon), released on 18 October 2007, is Canonical's seventh release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 18 April 2009. Ubuntu 7.10 included several new features, among them AppArmor security framework, fast desktop search, a Firefox plug-in manager (Ubufox), a graphical configuration tool for X.Org, full NTFS support (read/write) via NTFS-3G, and a revamped printing system with PDF printing by default. Compiz Fusion was enabled as default in Ubuntu 7.10 and Fast user switching was added.
Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), released on 24 April 2008, is Canonical's eighth release of Ubuntu and the second long-term support release. Support ended on 12 May 2011 for desktops and ended on 9 May 2013 for servers. Ubuntu 8.04 included several new features, among them Tracker desktop search integration, Brasero disk burner, Transmission BitTorrent client, Vinagre VNC client, system sound through PulseAudio, and Active Directory authentication and login using Likewise Open. In addition Ubuntu 8.04 included updates for better Tango compliance, various Compiz usability improvements, automatic grabbing and releasing of the mouse cursor when running on a VMware virtual machine, and an easier method to remove Ubuntu. Ubuntu 8.04 was the first version of Ubuntu to include the Wubi installer on the Live CD that allows Ubuntu to be installed as a single file on a Windows hard drive without the need to repartition the disk. The first version of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix was also introduced.
Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex), released on 30 October 2008, is Canonical's ninth release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 30 April 2010. Ubuntu 8.10 introduced several new features including improvements to mobile computing and desktop scalability, increased flexibility for Internet connectivity, an Ubuntu Live USB creator and a guest account, which allowed others to use a computer allowing very limited user rights (e.g. accessing the Internet, using software and checking e-mail). The guest account had its own home folder and nothing done on it was stored permanently on the computer's hard disk. Intrepid Ibex also included an encrypted private directory for users, the inclusion of Dynamic Kernel Module Support, a tool that allows kernel drivers to be automatically rebuilt when new kernels are released, and support for creating USB flash drive images.
Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), released on 23 April 2009, is Canonical's tenth release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 23 October 2010. New features included faster boot time and integration of web services and applications into the desktop interface. Because of that, they named it after the mythical jackalope. It was the first release named after a mythical animal, the second being Utopic Unicorn. It had a new usplash screen, a new login screen and also support for both Wacom (hotplugging) and netbooks. It also included a new notification system, Notify OSD, and themes. It marked the first time that all of Ubuntu's core development moved to the GNU Bazaar distributed version control system.
Ubuntu 9.04 was the first version to support the ARM architecture with native support for ARMv5EL and ARMv6EL-VFP.
Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), released on 29 October 2009, is Canonical's 11th release of Ubuntu. Support ended on April 2011. The desktop installation of Ubuntu 9.10 replaced Pidgin with Empathy Instant Messenger as its default instant messaging client. The default filesystem is ext4, and the Ubuntu One client, which interfaces with Canonical's new online storage system, is installed by default. It introduced Grub 2 beta as its default bootloader. It also replaced Add/Remove Programs (gnome-app-install) with Ubuntu Software Center, while Canonical stated their intention to possibly replace Synaptic, Software Sources, Gdebi and Update Manager in Ubuntu 10.04. Karmic Koala also includes a slideshow during the installation process (through ubiquity-slideshow) that highlights applications and features in Ubuntu.
In an announcement to the community on 20 February 2009, Shuttleworth explained that 9.10 would focus on improvements in cloud computing on the server using Eucalyptus, a new theme, as well as further improvements in boot speed and development of the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. The new theme was later delayed to version 10.04, and only minor revisions were made to the default theme. Other graphical improvements included a new set of boot up and shutdown splash screens, a new login screen with a new transition into the desktop and greatly improved performance on Intel graphics chip-sets.
In June 2009, Canonical created the One Hundred Paper Cuts project, focusing developers to fix minor usability issues. A "paper cut" was defined as, "a trivially fixable usability bug that the average user would encounter on his/her first day of using a brand new installation of the latest version of Ubuntu Desktop Edition."
Shuttleworth first announced Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) on 19 September 2009 at the Atlanta Linux Fest before it was released on 29 April 2010. It is Canonical's 12th release of Ubuntu and its third long-term support (LTS) release. Canonical provided support for the desktop version of Ubuntu 10.04 until 9 May 2013 and for the server version until 30 April 2015. The release included improved support for Nvidia proprietary graphics drivers while switching to the open source Nvidia graphics driver, Nouveau, by default. Plymouth was also introduced, allowing boot animations. It also included a video editor for the first time by including Pitivi. GIMP was replaced with F-Spot due to the former's complexity and file size. The distribution also included integrated interfaces for posting to social media.
On 4 March 2010 it was announced that Lucid Lynx would feature a new theme, including new logos, taking Ubuntu's new visual style into account:
The new style in Ubuntu is inspired by the idea of "Light".
We're drawn to Light, because it denotes both warmth and clarity, and intrigued by the idea that "light" is a good value in software. Good software is "light" in the sense that it uses your resources efficiently, runs quickly, and can easily be reshaped as needed. Ubuntu represents a break with the bloatware of proprietary operating systems and an opportunity to delight to those who use computers for work and play. More and more of our communications are powered by light, and in future, our processing power will depend on our ability to work with light, too.
Visually, light is beautiful, light is ethereal, light brings clarity and comfort.
Historical perspective: From 2004–2010, the theme in Ubuntu was "Human". Our tagline was "Linux for Human Beings" and we used a palette reflective of the full range of humanity. Our focus as a project was bringing Linux from the data center into the lives of our friends and global family.— Chris Jones, Light: Ubuntu is Lightware, Ubuntu Wiki
The new theme met with mixed critical responses. Ars Technica's Ryan Paul said: "The new themes and updated color palette are nice improvement for Ubuntu ... After testing the new theme for several hours, I feel like it's a step forward, but it still falls a bit short of my expectations." One aspect of controversy from the new design was the placement of the window-control buttons on the left instead of on the right side of the windows. TechSource's Jun Auza expressed concern that the new theme was too close to that used by Apple's Mac OS X: "I think Ubuntu is having an identity crisis right now and should seriously consider changing several things in terms of look and feel to avoid being branded as a Mac OS X rip-off, or worse, get sued by Apple. I believe the fans are divided right now. Some have learned to love the brown color scheme since it uniquely represents Ubuntu, while others wanted change."
The naming of Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) was announced by Shuttleworth on 2 April 2010, along with the release's goals of improving the netbook experience and a server focus on hybrid cloud computing. Ubuntu 10.10 was released on 10 October 2010 (10.10.10) at around 10:10 UTC. This is a departure from the traditional schedule of releasing at the end of October to get "the perfect 10", and a playful reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, since, in binary, 101010 is equal to the number 42, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything" within the series. It is Canonical's 13th release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 10 April 2012. New features included the new Unity interface for the Netbook Edition, a new default photo manager, Shotwell, replacing F-Spot, the ability to purchase applications in the Software Center, and an official Ubuntu font used by default.
The naming of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) was announced on 17 August 2010 by Mark Shuttleworth. Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal was released on 28 April 2011. It is Canonical's 14th release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 28 October 2012. Ubuntu 11.04 used the Unity user interface instead of GNOME 2 as default. The move to Unity was controversial as some GNOME developers feared it would fracture the community and marginalize GNOME Shell. Ubuntu 11.04 employed Banshee as the default music player, replacing Rhythmbox. Other new applications included OpenStack, Firefox 4, and LibreOffice, which replaced OpenOffice.org. The Ubuntu Netbook Edition was merged into the desktop edition. Jesse Smith of DistroWatch criticized the instability of the release. 
The naming of Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) was announced on 7 March 2011 by Mark Shuttleworth. He explained that Oneiric means "dreamy". Ubuntu 11.10 was released on 13 October 2011. It is Canonical's 15th release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 9 May 2013.
In April 2011, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 11.10 would not include the classic GNOME desktop as a fall back to Unity. Instead, 11.10 included a 2D version of Unity as a fallback for computers that lacked the hardware resources for the Compiz-based 3D version. Shuttleworth also confirmed that Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 would run as a shell for GNOME 3 on top of GNOME 3 libraries, unlike in Ubuntu 11.04 where it ran as a shell for GNOME 2. Meanwhile, users were able to install the entire GNOME 3 stack along with GNOME Shell directly from the Ubuntu repositories. During the development cycle there were many changes to Unity, including the placement of the Ubuntu button on the left Launcher instead of on the top Panel, the autohiding of the window controls (and the global menu) on maximized windows, and the introduction of window controls and more transparency into the Dash search utility.
In May 2011, it was announced that Pitivi would be no longer part of the Ubuntu ISO, starting with Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. The reasons given for removing it included poor user reception, lack of fit with the default user-case for Ubuntu, lack of polish and the application's lack of development maturity. Other changes included the removal of the Synaptic package manager, and removing Computer Janitor, as it caused broken systems for users. Déjà Dup was added as Ubuntu's backup program. Mozilla Thunderbird replaced the GNOME Evolution email client.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) is Canonical's 16th release of Ubuntu and its fourth long-term support (LTS) release, released on 26 April 2012. It is named after the pangolin anteater. While previous LTS releases have been supported for three years for the desktop version and five years for the server version, this release was supported for five years for both versions, and support ended on 28 April 2017. Canonical continued to offer extended security maintenance to Advantage customers for an additional two years.
Changes in this release include cutting the startup time for the Ubuntu Software Center by around 10 seconds, refinements to Unity that included the removal of the "window dodge" feature that made desktop panels hide from windows, and a new head-up display (HUD) feature that allows hot key searching for application menu items from the keyboard, without needing the mouse. Shuttleworth claimed that the HUD will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications. This release also switched the default media player from Banshee back to Rhythmbox and dropped the Tomboy note-taking application along with the supporting Mono framework. It also shipped with IPv6 privacy extensions, a feature introduced in 11.10, turned on by default.
Jesse Smith of DistroWatch reviewed that while many people had questioned Ubuntu's direction, he felt that the "puzzle pieces, which may have been underwhelming individually, have come together to form a whole, clear picture." He wrote that Unity had grown to maturity, was non-traditional but attractive thanks to the HUD feature and reducing mouse travel, while criticizing its lack of flexibility, unsatisfactory performance in a virtual machine, and the HUD not working in many applications like LibreOffice.
On 23 April 2012, Shuttleworth announced Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) as the first of 4 releases that will culminate in LTS 14.04 and refresh the look, with work to be done on typography and iconography. The release takes its name from the quetzal, a species of Central American birds. It was released on 18 October 2012 and is Canonical's 17th release of the operating system. Support ended on 16 May 2014. The Ubuntu Developer Summit held in May 2012 forecast this release to include an improved boot up sequence and log-in screen, "wrap around" dialogs and toolbars for the head-up display, and a vanilla version of Gnome-Shell as an option while dropping Unity 2D in favor of lower hardware requirements for Unity 3D. It would ship with Python 3 in the image and Python 2 available via the "Python" package, the PAE switched on by default in the kernel, Ubuntu Web Apps, a means of running Web applications directly from the desktop without having to open a browser, Nautilus 3.4 as its file manager to retain features deleted from later versions, and a new combined user, session and system menu.
In September 2012, Canonical's Kate Stewart announced that the Ubuntu 12.10 image would not fit on a compact disc. However, a third-party project has created a version of Ubuntu 12.10 that fits on a CD with LZMA2 compression instead of the DEFLATE compression used on the official Ubuntu DVD image.
In the same month, it was announced that the version of Unity to be shipped with Ubuntu 12.10 would by default include searches from Amazon.com for searched terms. This move caused immediate controversy among Ubuntu users, particularly with regard to privacy issues and European Directive 95/46/EC, and caused Shuttleworth to issue a statement indicating that this feature is not adware and labelled many of the objections as Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Regardless, users filed a Launchpad bug report on the feature requesting that it be made a separate lens (mode for the search engine) and not included with general desktop searches for files, directories and applications. The degree of community push-back on the issue resulted in plans by the developers to make the dash and where it searches user-configurable via a GUI-setting dialogue. Despite concerns that the setting dialogue would not make the release, it was completed and is present in 12.10.
In reviewing Ubuntu 12.10 at the end of October 2012 for DistroWatch, Jesse Smith raised concerns that "Canonical reserves the right to share our keystrokes, search terms and IP address with a number of third parties", and criticized the low performance and instability of the release. In early November, the Electronic Frontier Foundation criticized how the release loaded products from Amazon through HTTP, subject to eavesdropping. Jim Lynch gave a favorable review in December while noting concerns of software bloat.
On 17 October 2012, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) would focus on "mobile metrics, things like battery life, number of running processes, memory footprint, and polish the rough edges that we find when we do that." It was released on 25 April 2013, and support ended on 27 January 2014. The Wubi installer for Windows was dropped due to its incompatibility with Windows 8 and general lack of support and development. It included Unity 7, which had many performance improvements, and searching of photos and social media posts from the Dash.
Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander), released on 17 October 2013, is Canonical's 19th release of Ubuntu. Support ended on 17 July 2014. Consideration was given to changing the default browser from Mozilla Firefox to Chromium, but problems with updates to Ubuntu's Chromium package caused developers to retain Firefox for this release. Similarly, the aging X Window System (X11) was intended to be replaced with the Mir display server, with X11 programs to have operated through the XMir compatibility layer. However, after the development of XMir ran into "outstanding technical difficulties" for multiple monitors, Canonical decided to postpone the default use of Mir in Ubuntu. Mir was still be released as the default display server for Ubuntu Touch 13.10.
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu criticized the new Smart Scopes feature, noting that internet search engines turn in more useful and better organized results and recommended selectively disabling individual scopes to reduce the noise factor. Jim Lynch of Linux Desktop Reviews described the release as "boring" and the Smart Scopes feature as "very useful". In its year-end Readers Choice Awards, Linux Journal readers voted Ubuntu as Best Linux Distribution and Best Desktop Distribution for 2013.
Mark Shuttleworth announced on 31 October 2011 that by Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu would support smartphones, tablets, TVs and smart screens. On 18 October 2013, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) would focus on "performance, refinement, maintainability, [sic] technical debt" and encouraged the developers to make "conservative choices". This version, the 20th release of Ubuntu, was released on 17 April 2014. Support ended on 25 April 2019, after which extended security maintenance was available to Ubuntu Advantage customers for two more years. However, in September 2021, Canonical announced that it would extend LTS support for the 14.04 and 16.04 to a total of 10 years, extending ESM support for 14.04 until April 2024.
The development cycle for this release focused on the tablet interface, specifically the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. Ubuntu 14.04 reintroduced the ability to turn off the global menu system and use locally integrated menus instead for individual applications. Other features included a Unity 8 developers' preview, new mobile applications, a redesigned Startup Disk Creator tool, a new forked version of the GNOME Control Center called the Unity Control Center, and default SSD TRIM support. GNOME 3.10 is installed by default.
In reviewing Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in April 2014, Jim Lynch concluded: "While there are not a lot of amazing new features in this release, there are quite a few very useful and needed tweaks that add up to a much better desktop experience. Canonical's designers seem to be listening to Ubuntu users again, and they seem willing to make the changes necessary to give the users what they want." Scott Gilbertson of Ars Technica stated, "Ubuntu is one of the most polished desktops around, certainly the most polished in the Linux world, but in many ways that polish is increasingly skin deep at the expense of some larger usability issues, which continue to go unaddressed release after release."
On 23 April 2014 Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 14.10 would carry the name Utopic Unicorn. This version is the 21st release, officially characterized as a release that addressed "bug fixes and incremental quality improvements". It was released on 23 October, having only minor updates to the kernel, Unity Desktop, and included packages.
On 20 October 2014, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 15.04 would be named Vivid Vervet. It was released on 23 April 2015. It is the 22nd release of Ubuntu, and used systemd instead of Upstart by default. Jesse Smith of DistroWatch praised the stability of the release, especially amid the switch to systemd. This release also featured locally integrated menus by default, replacing the previous default global menus. This release included modest improvements in Intel Haswell graphics performance and bigger improvements for AMD Radeon graphics cards using the open-source Radeon R600 and RadeonSI Gallium3D drivers.
Shuttleworth announced on 4 May 2015 that Ubuntu 15.10 would be called Wily Werewolf. He initially expressed hope that the release would include the Mir display server, but it was released on 22 October 2015 without Mir. It is the 23rd release of Ubuntu,  and eliminated the disappearing window edge scrollbars in favour of the upstream GNOME scrollbars, a move designed to save developer time in creating patches and updates.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet praised the release for its integration of cloud services, such as the new Ubuntu OpenStack cloud deployment and management tool "OpenStack Autopilot", as well as its server tools, especially Ubuntu's machine container hypervisor, LXD, included by default in 15.10. A Hectic Geek review noted problems with X.Org Server crashes and concluded "If you use Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and if it's working out for you, then there really is no need to switch to a non-LTS release, especially to the 15.10." A review on Dedoimedo identified problems with Samba, Bluetooth, desktop searching, battery life and the smartphone interface and found the release inconsistent.
Shuttleworth announced on 21 October 2015 that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS would be called Xenial Xerus and include an option for Unity 8. It was released on 21 April 2016. In September, 2021, Canonical announced that it would extend LTS support for the 14.04 and 16.04 to a total of 10 years, extending the ESM support date for 16.04 until April 2026. The release adds support for Ceph and ZFS filesystems, the LXD hypervisor for OpenStack, and Snap packages. It uses systemd instead of Upstart as its init system.
This release has online Dash search results disabled by default in Unity 7, does not support the AMD Catalyst (fglrx) driver for AMD/ATI graphics cards, and instead recommends the Radeon and AMDGPU alternatives. It also replaced the Ubuntu Software Center with GNOME Software (rebranded as "Ubuntu Software") and eliminated Empathy and Brasero from the ISO file.
Mark Shuttleworth announced on 21 April 2016 that Ubuntu 16.10 would be called Yakkety Yak. It was released on 13 October 2016. This release includes a faster version of Ubuntu Software, better support for installing command-line-only applications, support for installing fonts and multimedia codecs, paid applications, changelog entries for Personal Package Archives (PPAs) in the Update Manager, user session handling by systemd, and Linux kernel 4.8.
On 17 October 2016, Mark Shuttleworth announced that the codename of Ubuntu 17.04, released on 13 April 2017, would be Zesty Zapus. This release dropped support for the 32-bit PowerPC architecture, following the same move by the upstream Debian project. Other changes include the default DNS resolver now being systemd-resolved, Linux kernel 4.10, and included support for printers. Reviewers noted that this was likely to be the last version of Ubuntu to ship with Unity 7 by default before Ubuntu's switch to GNOME, matching the end of the alphabet in Ubuntu's codename scheme
Artful Aardvark, the 27th release of Ubuntu, was announced via Launchpad on 21 April 2017 instead of on Shuttleworth's blog as had been the case in the past. It was released on 19 October 2017. Critics praised the smooth transition to GNOME and the significance of the release's changes.
This is the first release of Ubuntu to use the GNOME Shell interface, and the first release to replace X11 with the Wayland display server. In May 2017, Ken VanDine, a Canonical Software Engineer on the Ubuntu desktop team tasked with the switch to GNOME, confirmed that the intention is to ship the most current version of GNOME, with very few changes from a stock installation. This release also dropped 32-bit desktop images; other images' 32-bit versions remain.
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver, the seventh LTS release, is a long-term support version that was announced on 24 October 2017 on Shuttleworth's blog and released on 26 April 2018. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS had normal LTS support for five years until May 2023 and has paid ESM support available from Canonical for an additional five years until April 2028. New features include colour emoticons, a new To-Do application preinstalled in the default installation, the "Minimal Install" option in the system installer, which only installs a web browser and system tools, and a branded command-line system installer. This release employed Linux kernel 4.15, which incorporated a CPU controller for the cgroup v2 interface, AMD secure memory encryption support and improved SATA Link Power Management.
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS's default display server was returned to Xorg for more stability; Wayland was still included as part of the default install. For the first time some bundled applications were delivered by default as snaps.
Plans to include a new theme, Communitheme (now Yaru), created by the Ubuntu community, were announced on 5 February 2018. However, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS did not include it, citing "outstanding bugs, a lack of broader testing, as well as ongoing gaps in corner-case usage." The new theme was available as a Snap package instead.
Shuttleworth announced Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish on 8 May 2018. It was released on 18 October 2018. Installation speeds are faster due to the use of a lossless compression algorithm known as Zstandard. Startup speeds of pre-installed Snap applications were also improved.
Ubuntu 18.10 includes a new theme, Yaru, as the default theme, along with its accompanying icon theme, Suru.
Ubuntu 19.04, codenamed Disco Dingo, was released on 18 April 2019. It incorporates Linux kernel 5.0, which adds support for AMD FreeSync technology for liquid-crystal displays, Raspberry Pi touchscreens, Adiantum encryption, Btrfs swap files as well as many USB 3.2 and Type-C improvements and several other new hardware. It uses GNOME 3.32, which includes a new icon set, night light intensity control, advanced application permissions, favoriting files, and a new header bar as well as 'find' and 'read only' modes in the default terminal emulator. Version 19 of the open-source graphics drivers Mesa is natively available in this version of Ubuntu. Furthermore, the Grub menu now allows a 'safe graphics' mode in case of issues with graphics cards or graphics drivers. Geoclue integration and fractional scaling in the GNOME Shell for HiDPI displays are also included. Improvements for running Ubuntu on a VMWare virtual machine include integration of open-vm-tools within Ubuntu, allowing for bi-directional clipboard and file sharing.
Ubuntu Server 19.04 updated QEMU to version 3.1, allowing for creation of a virtual 3D GPU inside QEMU virtual machines. libvirt was updated to version 5.0 and Samba was updated to version 4.10.x. Samba and its dependencies were updated to Python 3, with the exception of tdb, which still builds a Python 2 package, namely python-tdb. Ubuntu Server 19.04 includes the latest OpenStack release, Stein, and has vSwitch version 2.11.
Ubuntu 19.10, codenamed "Eoan Ermine" (//), was released on 17 October 2019. It uses Linux kernel 5.3 which, among others, introduces compatibility for third-generation Ryzen CPU motherboards and associated Intel Wireless devices as well as AMD's 7 nm Navi GPUs. Experimental support for the ZFS filesystem is now available from the installer. NVIDIA-specific improvements were made. Proprietary Nvidia graphics drivers are now bundled with the installer in place of the open-source Nouveau drivers. Support for the Raspberry Pi 4 platform was added. The installation media now uses LZ4 compression which, compared to the previously used compression algorithm, gzip, offers faster installation times. This was decided following benchmarking of a variety of compression algorithms conducted by the Ubuntu kernel team. Kernel load and decompression times were tested and LZ4 was found to offer decompression as much as seven times faster. Ubuntu 19.10 uses GNOME 3.34 which, among others, adds the ability to group application icons into folders, introduces a background settings panel and a separate Night Light tab as well as improves upon performance and smoothness. A new Yaru light theme was introduced with this release as well.
In a November 2019, Ars Technica review by Scott Gilbertson, he concluded, "Ubuntu 19.10 is unusual for an October Ubuntu release in that I would call it a must-have upgrade. While it retains some of the experimental elements Ubuntu's fall releases have always been known for, the speed boosts to GNOME alone make this release well worth your time."
Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, codenamed Focal Fossa, is a long-term support release and was released on 23 April 2020. As an LTS release, it will provide maintenance updates for 5 years, until April 2025. This release is based on the Linux kernel 5.4 LTS which adds support for new hardware including Intel Comet Lake CPUs and initial Tiger Lake platforms, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 and 855 SoCs as well as AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs. It also enables support for the exFAT filesystem, the open-source WireGuard VPN, and integration with Livepatch which allows for reboot-free kernel updates. A new Linux Security Module named Lockdown, disabled by default, was introduced in this kernel release and aims to prevent high-privileged root accounts from interacting with the underlying kernel by restricting certain kernel functionality, disallowing execution of arbitrary code and enforcing kernel module signatures among others. An updated toolchain offers glibc 2.31, OpenJDK 11, Python 3.8.2, php 7.4, perl 5.30 and Go 1.13. Python 2 is no longer included by default. This release uses GNOME 3.36 which brings improvements to the user interface including a revamped login screen and refreshed Yaru theme. Improvements have also been made to the system menu and the installation screen, which now shows a graphical drive checking routine. The OEM logo is now displayed during boot.
The Ubuntu Software Center will now install packages from the Snap Store and provide an option for selecting the desired release channel to install from. This release also ended all support for the 32-bit architecture.
Reviewer Joey Sneddon noted in OMG Ubuntu, "tradition dictates that Ubuntu LTS releases play things safer than the interim so-called "short-term releases" by only including features that Ubuntu developers can commit to maintain for at least five years. Focal doesn't buck that trend. But while this means there are few "omg!" changes in 20.04 there are a number of iterative improvements, usability and user interface refinements, and some much needed updates, spread throughout the whole of the system."
Dave McKay, writing for How-To Geek, concluded, "Ubuntu 20.04 Is a Great Release. This is a polished, good-looking, and fast release from Canonical."
Writing in It's FOSS, Abhishek Prakash wrote, "Since it's an LTS release, stability is of the utmost importance. Canonical team is not going to try any radical changes here. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users would surely notice the visual changes and performance improvements but I don't think you’ll see many changes between 19.10 and 20.04."
In a review in DistroWatch, Jesse Smith detailed a number of problems found in testing this release, including boot issues, the decision to have Ubuntu Software only offer Snaps, which are few in number, slow, use a lot of memory and do not integrate well. He also criticized the ZFS file system for not working correctly and the lack of Flatpak support. He concluded, "these issues, along with the slow boot times and spotty wireless network access, gave me a very poor impression of Ubuntu 20.04. This was especially disappointing since just six months ago I had a positive experience with Xubuntu 19.10, which was also running on ZFS. My experience this week was frustrating - slow, buggy, and multiple components felt incomplete. This is, in my subjective opinion, a poor showing and a surprisingly unpolished one considering Canonical plans to support this release for the next five years."
In a 29 May 2020 review in Full Circle, Adam Hunt concluded, 20.04 was a "virtually flawless release".
Ubuntu 20.10, codenamed Groovy Gorilla, was released on 22 October 2020. This release is based on the Linux kernel 5.8 which introduces support for several modern hardware devices and protocols. Notable features include support for USB4, AMD Zen 3 CPUs and Intel Ice Lake and Tiger Lake graphics as well as initial support for booting Power10 processors. GNOME 3.38 brings enhancements to the core GNOME apps and tweaked the app grid, among other user experience improvements. Ubuntu 20.10 is the first release to feature desktop images for the Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB and 8GB models) and the Compute Module 4. Older Pi models with less memory may still be able to boot but they are not officially supported.
An updated toolchain set includes glibc 2.32, OpenJDK 11, rustc 1.41, GCC 10, LLVM 11, Python 3.8.6, ruby 2.7.0, php 7.4.9, perl 5.30 and golang 1.13. In addition to these, nftables is now the default firewall backend, replacing iptables.
In an October 2020 review in How-To Geek, Dave McKay concluded, "we recommend that most people stick with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for stability. Ubuntu 20.10 doesn’t offer any huge improvements. Rather, it just shows that Ubuntu is still a solid platform, making good progress toward its next LTS release in 2022 ... Canonical estimates that 95% of Ubuntu installations are LTS versions. If that’s true, then plainly interim builds won’t appeal to many people who use Ubuntu. Even if Canonical’s figures are slightly off, it’s obvious the vast majority prefer stability and guaranteed long-term support over the incremental benefits of interim builds."
Tim Anderson of The Register concluded, "...this is not the biggest of Ubuntu releases but keeps the momentum going for Canonical's distribution, hugely popular for server use on public cloud and becoming more polished for desktop users too."
Bogdan Popa, writing for Softpedia, noted of this release, "Ubuntu was, is, and will probably remain the leading Linux distribution out there, at least as far as the number of users is considered."
A review in Full Circle magazine concluded:
While Ubuntu 20.10 is a really solid release, it has surprisingly few new features for a release that initiates a new Ubuntu development cycle. In many ways this is probably a good sign, though. After 33 releases over 16 years, Ubuntu [is] a very mature Linux distribution and it gets almost everything right. There is not really a lot that needs changing, beyond updating the hardware support for the next generation of computers and also updating the default applications, both of which this release does. These days most Ubuntu users run the current LTS release and only upgrade when a new LTS version comes out. This standard release offers very little to entice most Ubuntu users to switch, especially since it has only nine months of support.
Ubuntu 21.04, codenamed Hirsute Hippo, was released on 22 April 2021.
Ubuntu 21.04 uses the 5.11 Linux kernel, which introduces smartcard authentication and support for Intel's Software Guard Extensions and improves support for AMD CPUs and GPUs. Wayland is now used as the default on hardware, other than those that have Nvidia graphics processors. Support for drag and drop from the file manager to the desktop was also added.
This release was to have used the new GNOME 40 release, but a developer decision was made to retain GNOME 3.38 instead, the same version used in Ubuntu 20.10. This decision was made to give time to address questions about the stability of the GTK4 toolkit, a major GNOME interface redesign and the unknown impact on GNOME extensions and Ubuntu's default Yaru GTK theme.
In a review, Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu, wrote, "Ubuntu 21.04 isn’t a game-changing release. Despite the hirsute moniker there’s little nothing hair-raising included, perhaps save for the switch to Wayland — but even that isn’t as prickly as it used to be! But it’s not a release totally devoid of value. Ubuntu 21.04 features a striking new dark theme and makes a raft of smaller UI tweaks that add up to an impressive, polished whole. There are also new installer features, a new desktop icons experience, and (of course) a new wallpaper."
Dave McKay wrote in How-To Geek, "the Hirsute Hippo behaved well in testing and feels like a solid, stable build. What it lacks in surface glitter it makes up for with many significant changes beneath the hood—even without GNOME 40. The 5.11 kernel, refreshed applications, and system-wide bug fixes and security enhancements are all advantageous. The change of permissions on the home directories is a welcome change, too. It’s nothing that you couldn’t do by hand in other releases, but how many actually bothered?"
A review in Full Circle magazine note, "So far in this development cycle we have seen very few substantive changes. Perhaps the most important is the use of Wayland by default. Even though that is a developer accomplishment, it is pretty much 'user-transparent'. So far the next LTS release, 22.04, is shaping up to be very similar to the last LTS release, 20.04, and that is actually a good thing. In a mature distribution that already works well, like Ubuntu, wholesale changes are not needed and would cause a lot of user unhappiness. Ubuntu users today largely like how Ubuntu looks and works and don’t think much in the way of changes are needed. People who don’t like Ubuntu are probably already using something else."
Ubuntu 21.10, codenamed Impish Indri, was released on 14 October 2021.
Ubuntu 21.10 uses the 5.13 Linux kernel, which introduces rudimentary support for Apple M1 chips, FreeSync HDMI support for AMD GPUs, a new ‘Landlock‘ security module and support for several new hardware among other changes and improvements. This release transitions from GNOME 3.38 to GNOME 40, introducing a horizontal workspace switcher and an improved Activities Overview design. The Ubuntu Dock remains vertically placed on the left of the screen and now features separators between pinned and running applications as well as a persistent trash can icon and USB drive shortcuts. A change was made in the default GNOME 40 behavior so that after logging in, the user will be shown the desktop instead of the Activities Overview. Despite Ubuntu 21.10 shipping with GNOME 40, a few GNOME 41 apps are available. A Firefox Snap is now installed by default on Ubuntu 21.10 instead of the deb package, which remains available for the time being.
Furthermore, the Nvidia proprietary drivers now support Wayland sessions. The default Yaru theme was also updated with new icons and Zstd compression was enabled in the main archive, making installations faster.
Joey Sneddon wrote in OMG! Ubuntu!, "for me what makes this release most appealing isn’t a specific one-thing, it’s the aggregate total; the combination of new apps, new kernel, new GNOME Shell, new look, and new installer (though not default for now) make the Impish Indri a particularly inspiring iteration of this iconic distro."
Dave McKay of How-To Geek wrote in his review, "If you’re an existing user and any of the hardware support or security features of the kernel are going to have a positive impact on your particular use case, then go ahead and update. If you don’t have an issue that is going to be resolved by upgrading, it’s hard to justify the effort—and risk—of an upgrade. Certainly, there’s nothing here to compel an avid LTS user to leave that safe haven and move to 21.10."
Ubuntu 22.04, codenamed Jammy Jellyfish, was released on 21 April 2022, and is a long-term support release, supported for five years, until April 2027.
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Desktop uses the 5.17 Linux kernel, with the 5.15 HWE rolling kernel for hardware that does not support the newer kernel, while Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Server uses the 5.15 Linux kernel, and Ubuntu Cloud and Ubuntu for IoT uses an optimized kernel based on the 5.15 Linux kernel. It updates Python to 3.10 and Ruby to 3.0. The init system is systemd 249.11 and the desktop is a mix of GNOME 41 and 42 applications. The default web browser, Firefox is available as a snap package and the release repositories no longer provide an alternative .deb package. This release offers users two Yaru themes, light and dark, but with a choice of ten different accent colors for customization.
In his review of this release, Steven Vaughan-Nichols noted in an article for ZDNet, "all-in-all, I think the new Ubuntu 22.04 is an excellent Linux desktop. Beyond that, it's also a great Linux distribution for almost any purpose."
Joey Sneddon of OMG Ubuntu! termed the release "pretty rad".
Writing for The Register, Richard Speed stated, "those upgrading from 20.04 LTS will find a number of changes to the environment; as well as accent colors that are easier to set and inevitable dark mode enhancements, the arrival of GNOME 42 (and its screenshotting improvements) have made for a slicker, if not revolutionary, desktop appearance."
DistroWatch reviewer Jesse Smith was critical of the release, writing:
"I think the launch of Ubuntu 22.04 is a clear sign Canonical is much more interested in publishing releases on a set schedule than producing something worthwhile. This version was not ready for release and it is probably going to be a costly endeavour to maintain this collection of mixed versioned software and mixed display server and mixed designs for a full five years. It's a platform I would recommend avoiding."
Ubuntu 22.10, codenamed Kinetic Kudu, is an interim release and was made on 20 October 2022.
The release uses the 5.19 Linux kernel, which improves the power efficiency on Intel-based computers and supports multithreaded decompression. It also upgrades the GNOME desktop environment to version 43, with support for GTK4 theming.
Ubuntu 22.10 also adds support for MicroPython on microcontrollers such as the Raspberry Pi Pico W, as well as support for RISC-V processors. It also adds rshell, thonny, and mpremote to the Ubuntu repositories.
In a review in OMG Ubuntu, writer Joey Sneddon stated, "if anything, the Kinetic Kudu is not as energetic as its codename intimates. As interim releases it is a passably interesting yet largely iterative issue. Formulaic? That's not a bad thing. Releases like this are sure-footed foundations on which more ambitious changes can later rest."
Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster is an interim release, out on 20 April 2023 and supported for nine months until 20 January 2024.
This release incorporates GNOME 44, Linux kernel 6.2, Mesa 23.0 graphics drivers, a new Flutter-based installer using Subiquity including a new slide show, an improved Quick Settings menu, a new Mouse & Touchpad menu in Settings and improved Snap package support that allows downloading open applications in the background and installing them when the application is closed. The release also provides support for Microsoft Azure Active Directory, which allows users with Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans to authenticate the Ubuntu desktops using common credentials.
Reviewer Joey Sneddon of OMG! Ubuntu, wrote, "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."
Ubuntu 23.10 Mantic Minotaur will be an interim release, scheduled for 12 October 2023 and supported for nine months until July 2024.
|Version||Code name||Release date||Standard support until||Extended security
|Initial kernel version|
|4.10||Warty Warthog||2004-10-20||Old version, no longer maintained: 2006-04-30||—||2.6.8|
|5.04||Hoary Hedgehog||2005-04-08||Old version, no longer maintained: 2006-10-31||—||2.6.10|
|5.10||Breezy Badger||2005-10-13||Old version, no longer maintained: 2007-04-13||—||2.6.12|
|6.06 LTS||Dapper Drake||2006-06-01||Old version, no longer maintained: 2009-07-14||Old version, no longer maintained: 2011-06-01||—||2.6.15|
|6.10||Edgy Eft||2006-10-26||Old version, no longer maintained: 2008-04-25||—||2.6.17|
|7.04||Feisty Fawn||2007-04-19||Old version, no longer maintained: 2008-10-19||—||2.6.20|
|7.10||Gutsy Gibbon||2007-10-18||Old version, no longer maintained: 2009-04-18||—||2.6.22|
|8.04 LTS||Hardy Heron||2008-04-24||Old version, no longer maintained: 2011-05-12||Old version, no longer maintained: 2013-05-09||—||2.6.24|
|8.10||Intrepid Ibex||2008-10-30||Old version, no longer maintained: 2010-04-30||—||2.6.27|
|9.04||Jaunty Jackalope||2009-04-23||Old version, no longer maintained: 2010-10-23||—||2.6.28|
|9.10||Karmic Koala||2009-10-29||Old version, no longer maintained: 2011-04-30||—||2.6.31|
|10.04 LTS||Lucid Lynx||2010-04-29||Old version, no longer maintained: 2013-05-09||Old version, no longer maintained: 2015-04-30||—||2.6.32|
|10.10||Maverick Meerkat||2010-10-10||Old version, no longer maintained: 2012-04-10||—||2.6.35|
|11.04||Natty Narwhal||2011-04-28||Old version, no longer maintained: 2012-10-28||—||2.6.38|
|11.10||Oneiric Ocelot||2011-10-13||Old version, no longer maintained: 2013-05-09||—||3.0|
|12.04 LTS||Precise Pangolin||2012-04-26||Old version, no longer maintained: 2017-04-28||Old version, no longer maintained: 2019-04-26||3.2|
|12.10||Quantal Quetzal||2012-10-18||Old version, no longer maintained: 2014-05-16||—||3.5|
|13.04||Raring Ringtail||2013-04-25||Old version, no longer maintained: 2014-01-27||—||3.8|
|13.10||Saucy Salamander||2013-10-17||Old version, no longer maintained: 2014-07-17||—||3.11|
|14.04 LTS||Trusty Tahr||2014-04-17||Old version, no longer maintained: 2019-04-25||Older version, yet still maintained: 2024-04-25||3.13|
|14.10||Utopic Unicorn||2014-10-23||Old version, no longer maintained: 2015-07-23||—||3.16|
|15.04||Vivid Vervet||2015-04-23||Old version, no longer maintained: 2016-02-04||—||3.19|
|15.10||Wily Werewolf||2015-10-22||Old version, no longer maintained: 2016-07-28||—||4.2|
|16.04 LTS||Xenial Xerus||2016-04-21||Old version, no longer maintained: 2021-04-30||Older version, yet still maintained: 2026-04-23||4.4|
|16.10||Yakkety Yak||2016-10-13||Old version, no longer maintained: 2017-07-20||—||4.8|
|17.04||Zesty Zapus||2017-04-13||Old version, no longer maintained: 2018-01-13||—||4.10|
|17.10||Artful Aardvark||2017-10-19||Old version, no longer maintained: 2018-07-19||—||4.13|
|18.04 LTS||Bionic Beaver||2018-04-26||Old version, no longer maintained: 2023-05-31||Older version, yet still maintained: 2028-04-26||4.15|
|18.10||Cosmic Cuttlefish||2018-10-18||Old version, no longer maintained: 2019-07-18||—||4.18|
|19.04||Disco Dingo||2019-04-18||Old version, no longer maintained: 2020-01-23||—||5.0|
|19.10||Eoan Ermine||2019-10-17||Old version, no longer maintained: 2020-07-17||—||5.3|
|20.04 LTS||Focal Fossa||2020-04-23||Older version, yet still maintained: 2025-04-23||Older version, yet still maintained: 2030-04-23||5.4|
|20.10||Groovy Gorilla||2020-10-22||Old version, no longer maintained: 2021-07-22||—||5.8|
|21.04||Hirsute Hippo||2021-04-22||Old version, no longer maintained: 2022-01-20||—||5.11|
|21.10||Impish Indri||2021-10-14||Old version, no longer maintained: 2022-07-14||—||5.13|
|22.04 LTS||Jammy Jellyfish||2022-04-21||Older version, yet still maintained: 2027-04-21||Older version, yet still maintained: 2032-04-21||5.15|
|22.10||Kinetic Kudu||2022-10-20||Old version, no longer maintained: 2023-07-20||—||5.19|
|23.04||Lunar Lobster||2023-04-20||Current stable version: 2024-01-20||—||6.2|
|23.10||Mantic Minotaur||2023-10-12||Future release: TBA||—||TBA|
After each version of Ubuntu has reached its end-of-life time, its repositories are removed from the main Ubuntu servers and consequently the mirrors. Older versions of Ubuntu repositories and releases can be found on the old Ubuntu releases website.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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