Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster”: Best New Features

Introducing the latest Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster” release, packed with new features and improvements.

Ubuntu 23.04, code-named “Lunar Lobster”, is the first short-term release of 2023, and it will be supported for nine months until January 2024. This release is about improving Ubuntu’s core backend and progress work by adopting new packages and technology. In a way, many changes are being baselined as a preparation for next year’s LTS release (Ubuntu 24.04).

Ubuntu 23.04 was released on April 20, 2023.

Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster Desktop

Ubuntu 23.04: New Features

New desktop installer

Ubuntu’s new Rust-based desktop installer is finally ready to be experienced in this release. The work was undergone for more than two years. After many obstacles and critical bugs are fixed, it’s now stable enough to be released in the official version. From this release onwards, the good ol’ Ubiquity is replaced by the brand new installer, as shown in the below set of images.

New Ubuntu Installer – main page
Partition summary page
Appearance Changes
User information page

However, as I heard from some sources, the older Uqiuity continues to stay (until next year). But I am not sure entirely how the old installer will kick off. Because the default live medium launches the new installer.

That being said, if you compare it to the older one, a few changes to the new installer. First of all, the look and feel are more modern compared to old ubiquity dialogues and widget controls.

The summary details about partitioning are now present as a separate page instead of a pop-up box.

In addition, Ubuntu 23.04 now asks for the dark/light mode options before installation. I am not sure about the necessity of this since Ubuntu already has some onboarding steps defined in a separate app.

GNOME 44 Desktop

Ubuntu 23.04 desktop version features GNOME 44. This release of GNOME 44 is bringing a bunch of long pending updates. For example, in this release, you experience the image preview in the native file picker dialog. Furthermore, the Files gets the long-awaited missing feature, i.e. expanded folder (or tree view) view natively. You can enable it using the settings shown below.

New expandable folder view
Settings to enable tree view

Other key changes in GNOME 44 include Files now supporting file creation while pasting image data, an improved accessibility settings page for better navigation and a much improved GNOME Web browser.

You can learn more about GNOME 44 release on my feature highlights page: GNOME 44 – best features.

Minimal ISO image

In a surprise move, the Ubuntu team is introducing an official minimal ISO image (less than 200MB) in this release. Once released, you can use this minimal ISO image to create custom Ubuntu Linux. As of publishing this, we are yet to get the daily build ISO for this minimal image.

However, the Xubuntu team already released a minimal ISO image which I tried here. Likewise, all the official flavours are expected to get their own minimal ISO files.

More information to arrive on this in the coming days.

More Snap and less Flatpak

A few Snap and Flatpak-related vital changes are coming up, and you should be prepared for that.

Firstly, the push for more Snap packages is evident as the official Telegram app for desktops is now Snap in Ubuntu.

Furthermore, Ubuntu plans to release a Steam desktop client as Snap, which is currently under testing. Snap desktop client is available as native deb and Flatpak packages today. The Steam Snap is expected to arrive by the end of this year and not in this release.

Alongside this, default Flatpak and Flathub integration is now officially removed from all the supported official Ubuntu flavours. This decision created quite several “discussions” on the web.

So, Ubuntu MATE & Kubuntu won’t ship Flatpak/Flathub by default from this release onwards. However, you can always install it with just a few steps.

New Applications

The default application stack of Ubuntu 23.04 is upgraded as usual. However, some key changes that you might notice.

Firstly, LibreOffice might look a bit different. The LibreOffice team recently changed the default icon themes, and it looks awesome in the Ubuntu GNOME’s desktop context.

The LibreOffice 7.5 included in this release arrives with an improved bookmark module for Writer, new number formats in Calc spreadsheets, new table design styles in Impress and many more.

You can read more about LibreOffice 7.5 features here.

New LibreOffice Icons

Summary of other applications in Ubuntu 23.04:

  • Firefox 111 (Snap)
  • LibreOffice 7.5
  • Transmission 3.0
  • Shotwell image viewer 0.30

Official Flavours

A piece of good news for all educators and students. Edubuntu is officially coming up from the 23.04 release onwards. It’s another addition to the official Ubuntu flavours list. Edubuntu will likely feature a larger ISO file (around 5 GB) with all the education-related FOSS software installed. I will have a separate article for the review of this flavour.

Furthermore, Canonical also announced that Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is becoming an official flavour from this release onwards, which is excellent news.

In addition, all the respective flavours get their below desktop versions.

  • Kubuntu with KDE Plasma 5.27
  • Xubuntu with Xfce 4.18
  • Ubuntu MATE 23.04 with MATE desktop 1.26.1
  • Lubuntu 23.04 with LXQt 1.2
  • Ubuntu Budgie with Budgie desktop version 10.7

Ubuntu Budgie 23.04 is bringing some exciting features such as edge tiling, hot corners, etc.

Kernel & Toolchain updates

As of writing this, the daily build copy has the Linux Kernel 6.1. However, before the Kernel freeze (April 6, 2023) – the current mainline Kernel 6.2 will likely arrive in Ubuntu 23.04. Linux Kernel 6.2 improves support for GPU, CPU, ports, and Rust updates.

At the core, Python 3.11 is now available out-of-the-box in Ubuntu 23.04. You don’t need to install Python 3.11 anymore separately. It’s worth mentioning that Python 3.12 release is due this year and currently undergoing multiple RC testing.

Other toolchain updates are as follows.

  • GCC 13
  • GlibC 2.37
  • Ruby 3.1
  • golang 1.2
  • LLVM 16

New Wallpapers for Ubuntu 23.04

A desktop release never completes with some new cool wallpapers. After the successful wallpaper competition, the winners are selected for default wallpapers featuring the “Lunar & Lobster”.

Here’s the default one. And the rest of them you can find here.

Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster Default Wallpaper

Download & Upgrade

You can download official ISO files from the below table for each flavour.

If you are planning to Upgrade to this release, refer instructions here.

Ubuntu FlavourLink to .iso image(s)
Ubuntu 23.04 Desktop
Xubuntu 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/23.04/release
Ubuntu MATE 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-mate/releases/23.04/release/
Ubuntu Kylin 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntukylin/releases/23.04/release/
Lubuntu 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/lubuntu/releases/23.04/release/
Kubuntu 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/23.04/release/
Ubuntu Budgie 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-budgie/releases/23.04/release/
Ubuntu Studio 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntustudio/releases/23.04/release/
Ubuntu Unity 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-unity/releases/23.04/release/
Edubuntu 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/edubuntu/releases/23.04/release/
Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04https://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntucinnamon/releases/23.04/release/

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the new Ubuntu 23.04 release promises to offer desktop users an even smoother and more seamless experience.

From improved security features to enhanced productivity tools & apps, this update will surely delight Ubuntu enthusiasts & fans. Whether you’re a seasoned user or new to the Ubuntu ecosystem, this release is worth checking out.

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