Ubuntu 22.10 Kinetic Kudu Enhances Linux Desktop for Business Apps, Adds New User Experience

The Ubuntu Linux distribution has a long history of colorful names, but that doesn’t stop the operating system’s serious business potential.

The new Ubuntu 22.10 Kinetic Kudu release became generally available today and marks the second major release for Ubuntu in 2022. The new release provides users with an incremental update that brings features designed to help embedded and internet of things (IoT) use cases. The Kinetic Kudu also offers a new desktop user environment that will help improve enterprise productivity.

“We are totally into Gtk 4.0 theme and it’s much slicker than previous releases,” Oliver Smith, product manager for Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu WSL at Canonical, told VentureBeat.

The Linux desktop is important to Ubuntu users

The desktop edition of Ubuntu 22.10 is the one where users will notice the biggest differences visually from previous releases.

Unlike Microsoft Windows or Apple’s macOS, Linux distributions can choose from an unlimited number of different desktop environments that provide the core set of functionality for file management, tools, and menus for desktop operations. The standard for many enterprise-oriented versions of Linux, including Ubuntu, has long been gnome.

In Ubuntu 22.10, the Gnome 43 release is integrated, giving users an improved management ability to view different windows and files together more easily. The integration of an updated Quick Settings dialog into the new desktop is intended to give users access to the most commonly used settings, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and power.

Overall, the aim is to make it easier and more visually appealing for users to work on the desktop, including with often-overlooked but essential tools such as file manager.

“File manager isn’t usually the most exciting app, but it has some very nice dynamic scaling,” Smith said.

Applications are getting spicier

As is the case with desktop environments, Linux users can also choose from several different approaches to application package management.

Ubuntu users largely use the snap package format by default, which it created in 2014 and has been replicating since. Smith said that desktop snapping performance has been improved in the 22.10 update with an improved compression algorithm.

“We actually enabled multithreaded squashFS decompression, which was not available in our previous version 22.04,” said Smith. “That means we should see a performance improvement on some multicore machines as well.”

Snap also allows an application developer to include code dependencies for versions of software libraries that may not be native to the Ubuntu system.

For example, Smith said there are situations where an application might need the latest version of a software library. That state-of-the-art version may not have been included in the main version of Ubuntu as it is not considered stable enough to run. So snap allows the specific application to use one version of a library, while the rest of the OS can continue to use another, perhaps more stable version to maintain system uptime.

More Raspberry Pi please!

Ubuntu is also often deployed in embedded technologies, including the small form factor RaspberryPi.

Smith noted that there have been hardware shortages for the full-size Raspberry Pi over the past year, although there are still the smaller Raspberry Pi Pico boards that are widely available. The difference with the Pico is that it is not a complete system, but a so-called microcontroller board that can be embedded in an environment.

“We’ve invested quite a bit of work in supporting Raspberry Pi Pico,” Smith said. “So we’re starting to give developers the tools to develop on microcontrollers.”

One of the tools in Ubuntu 22.10 is the micro Python development stack that allows developers to write code that runs on microcontrollers, including the Raspberry Pi Pico.

More business connectivity to Azure AD is coming

Not all features initially in development for Ubuntu 22.10 made it to the final release.

One such feature is support for Azure AD (Active Directory), Microsoft’s cloud service for directory and user authentication. Smith explained that Ubuntu has supported Active Directory integration for several years, but only for the on-premises versions.

“Now we see that customers want to move to the cloud-based Active Directory and that’s a very different architecture,” Smith said. “I think that’s going to be a big deal for a lot of customers, because support on Linux is one of the friction points for them moving completely to a cloud-based identity management service.”

While Azure AD support is not included in Ubuntu 22.10, Canonical now plans to integrate it into the next incremental release with 23.04, due out in April 2023.

A colorful history

Ubuntu is an open source effort led by canonical, which provides commercial support and tools. Ubuntu runs on all types of devices ranging from embedded devices, with a purpose built distribution called Ubuntu Core, to desktops and also in the cloud.

Since its first release in 2004, which was known as the “Warty Warthog”, Ubuntu has used a naming convention where there is an African animal name preceded by an adjective. A kudu, in case you were wondering, is a type of African antelope.

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