The Gnome desktop of Ubuntu 23.10, enhanced by the Dash to panel extension

As planned on October 12, Ubuntu 23.10 has been released under the codename “Mantic Minotaur” and is ready for download. Supported for nine months, this is the last interim version before the release of the next longterm stable (LTS) version 24.04 in April 2024. Traditionally, such a release offers developers the opportunity to roll out all those features that are to have reached their absolute maturity in LTS rollout. So, the ZFS file system makes a comeback in the desktop installer aleady introduced in Ubuntu 23.04 – but still without encryption, which will be added in the LTS version. By default, the installer no longer fetches the full software package, meaning that, for example, a heavyweight like Libre Office is missing. Of course, you can install it yourself – or check the box for the extended installation, in which case the large collection is installed as in earlier releases.

The new App Center, programmed in Flutter like the installer, premieres as a replacement for the lame “Ubuntu Software” application. With this, Ubuntu manufacturer Canonical primarily wants to make finding and installing Snaps, the in-house app format, more attractive. Flatpacks are not supported in the new App Center. Firmware updates, previously a job of Ubuntu software, are now the responsibility of a separate application. The developers decided on this for performance reasons.

With Gnome 45 released just two weeks earlier, Ubuntu brings a particularly fresh desktop this time around. For people who don’t like Gnome, however, there are no fewer then ten Ubuntu “flavors” available, showcasing the desktops KDE, Xfce, LxQT, Cinnamon, Budgie, Mate and Unity.

Under the hood, Ubuntu 23.10 delights with a brand new, stable Linux 6.5 kernel, and the NetworkManager now uses Canonical’s server-derived Netplan tool as its default backend. Still marked as “experimental” is the possibility to perform full disk encryption on computers with Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2), which uses a “secret” stored in the TPM instead of a passphrase. The boot process is then controlled via the Snapd service. Details can be found in a post on the official Ubuntu blog.

By the way, the release of Ubuntu 23.10 did not go as smoothly as usual. The live CD images of Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Budgie were temporarily withdrawn and corrected after it became known that someone had put hate speech in the Ukrainian translation.