Ubuntu probably isn’t the most popular desktop Linux distribution at this point, but it’s still one of the top options for corporate use, and it serves as the technical foundation for projects like Linux Mint and Elementary OS. Ubuntu always has two major releases per year, and right on schedule, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is now available.
Ubuntu 22.04 is a Long Term Support (LTS) release, which means it will be supported for five years with security fixes and select app updates. That means you can stay on it for years if you don’t want to deal with major updates on a regular basis, or you can update to 22.10 when it becomes available in October (which will not be an LTS release).
The main change is that Ubuntu now uses the Gnome 42 desktop environment, though as OMG Ubuntu noted in its coverage, some apps and features were held back to keep 22.04 as stable as possible. Gnome 42 switches to a horizontal workspace switcher and app launcher, similar to Windows 11 and macOS, and there are some new touchpad gestures for moving between workspaces and windows. Canonical, the developers of Ubuntu, says the new update “can double the desktop frame rate on Intel and Raspberry Pi” systems compared to the last version.
Smaller changes include a new screenshot/screen recording feature, updated colors and a true dark mode in the system theme, and an improved Ubuntu Software app. The default web browser, Firefox, is now a Snap package instead of a traditional APT package. That will likely be controversial, as Snap packages aren’t too popular with most of the Linux community — Linux Mint recently worked with Firefox to keep a non-Snap version available for Mint users.
Ubuntu 22.04 is the first release that works on all Raspberry Pi 4 models when using the full desktop environment, which Raspberry Pi revealed earlier this year. It also includes the Rust programming language, OpenSSL v3, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), Linux kernel 5.15, and Mesa 22 graphics.
Ubuntu 22.04 is available for various AMD-based and 64-bit x86 PCs. Docker, WSL, and other services that offer Ubuntu images are in the process of rolling out Ubuntu 22.04.