Introducing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) (Updated)


Finally, Canonical have decided to announce the release date for the much awaited Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the 6th Long Term Support built of the most popular linux based open source operating system Ubuntu.

If you’ll like to install Ubuntu for your day to day use, we recommend you download the stable versions of Ubuntu and you can find step by step guide on how to install Ubuntu 15.10 for beginners here.

In this post, we’ll covering things you need to know about the operating system and at the same time, what changes to expect from it.

Introducing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Code Name

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is code named Xenial Xerus. 

According to Mark Shuttleworth the founder of Ubuntu, he said;

Apache Hadoop, Spark, IPython modelled with Juju are coming together to form a kind of magic, and Ubuntu is the fastest path to all sorts of magic. And that magic will go by the codename… xenial xerus!

He further explained the meaning of Ubuntu in the same post;

What fortunate timing that our next LTS should be X, because “xenial” means “friendly relations between hosts and guests”, and given all the amazing work going into LXD and KVM for Ubuntu OpenStack, and beyond that the interoperability of Ubuntu OpenStack with hypervisors of all sorts, it seems like a perfect fit.

And Xerus, the African ground squirrels, are among the most social animals in my home country. They thrive in the desert, they live in small, agile, social groups that get along unusually well with their neighbours (for most mammals, neighbours are a source of bloody competition, for Xerus, hey, collaboration is cool). They are fast, feisty, friendly and known for their enormous… courage. That sounds just about right. With great… courage… comes great opportunity!

The Release Date

According to Ubuntu Wiki page for Ubuntu 16.04, the official release date of the final release is 21st of April 2016. Although the so many beta versions have been released over the time including the RC version that was released on the 14th of December 2015. You can still lay your hand on the daily build release of Ubuntu from our download page, but note that you may experience bugs as you use.

ubuntu 16.04 release date
Image from OMG Ubuntu

Features to Expect in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

1. Powered by Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS

The Ubuntu developers recently announced that

“Our Xenial master branch remains based on Wily’s v4.2 kernel, currently at v4.2.3. Xenial master-next is at v4.3 and we’re still getting DKMS packages cleaned up against v4.3 before we upload to the archive. Our unstable repo is tracking the latest v4.4-rc2 release in parallel. We’ll eventually rebase both our Xenial master/master-next branches to v4.4 since that is our target kernel version for 16.04,”

2. Ubuntu Software Center to be replaced with GNOME Software Center

The Ubuntu Software center has been a great place to get Ubuntu software and to confess, it has been one of the best features of the operating system. However, in recent time it has become stagnant, without any noticeable update, no development and no required attention, making the Ubuntu software center far behind when compared other Linux software center.Ubuntu Sofware Center

Application developers are not happy with the way Canonical handled the paid application aspect of the software center, the ‘paid app’ was taking down without notifying the developers of the development, this had led to most developers abandoning the Ubuntu software center for other alternatives.

Introducing GNOME Software Center

gnome software on fedoraIn order to meet the popular demand of its users in forums, Canonical have decided to opt for a more sophisticated and regularly updated and developed GNOME software Center. According to Canonical developers, they feel that the GNOME Software Center will serve the Ubuntu Community better than the neglected Ubuntu Software Center.

“We are more confident in our ability to add support for Snaps to GNOME Software Center (sic) than we are to Ubuntu Software Center. And so, right now, it looks like we will be replacing [the Ubuntu Software Center] with GNOME Software Center with plugins to support Snaps, and the archive, and the ratings, and the comments from the Ubuntu Software Center.”

For those who have used Fedora, you will be familiar with GNOME Software Center. This will give Ubuntu 16.04 LTS a more stable, maintained Software Center with better support compared to its predecessors. In addition, the Ubuntu development team will have one less thing to worry about and focus the energy used to developing and maintaining the Ubuntu Software Center to making the Operating system itself better.

gnome software screenshot on fedora


3. Users to chose between Unity 7 and 8 Desktop

Unity is the graphical user interface that enable easy access and operation of the Ubuntu System, this has become very popular among users because prior to the time of a graphical interface for Ubuntu, only the advanced users were able to use the OS, but since the launch of a user interface like that of Windows and Mac, many users have ported to Linux Ubuntu because its free and has so many great features, coupled with the fact that they don’t have to run commands to perform day to day tasks.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS comes with Unity 8 graphical interface, this will replace the popular Unity 7. There would still be some lovers of Unity 7 who would rather stick to their all reliable Unity 7 and Ubuntu 16.04 is giving them the privilege to choose among this two wonderful graphical interfaces for Ubuntu.

4. Local Search won’t be sent Over the Web

ubuntu local search

In this edition of Ubuntu, one of the most significant changes is that the default search that includes both your local pc and the web will now be 100 percent local and won’t go over the web for searches.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is more focused on privacy protection and an excellent user experience. Unlike in the previous version of the Operating system where local searches is sent over the internet and products from Amazon and other stores are included in your search making a simple search to become a complex and complicated because it could be annoying.

This feature will be available to users of Unity 7 and 8.

5. Movable Unity Launcher in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

movable unity launcher ubuntu 16.04 lts

I personally think this should be the number one item on the list because it is one of the most requested feature from the Ubuntu Community. Many have been accustom to the traditional position of the Windows start menu and quick launcher position, at the bottom of the screen, these users therefore don’t feel comfortable with the left position of the Ubuntu unity launcher which many feels is uncomfortable compared to the bottom position.

Many users can’t get used to the new Unity environment because of the position of the launcher, they would prefer to move the Unity panel to the screen bottom just like the default position of Windows Operating System.

Before now, they have settled for a plugin named Compiz, it let users move the Unity 3D launcher from the left hand side to the bottom of the screen.

Kudos to the developers as they have shown how important the people are to the development of Ubuntu, finally the Xenial Xerus will be launched with a movable Unity Launcher, a feature that will not only satisfy the incoming Windows users, but will also show how flexible and tweak-able the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will become.

6. Direct Firmware Upgrade

Another big change! Since Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will be shipped with the popular GNOME software, then we are to enjoy what the GNOME users have been enjoying for sometime. It is a great relief to know that Ubuntu users can now upgrade their operating system directly. Though much information have been released concerning this feature, so we don’t know yet if the BIOS will also be upgraded through the GNOME software.


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