Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Twice a year, Canonical releases a new version of Ubuntu. With Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” now available to download, you might be wondering whether to upgrade, or keep things as they are.
Ten top new Linux Ubuntu features are on offer. Read on to find out what they are and how Ubuntu 19.04 might just surprise you!
Here’s Why You Should Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04
Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” was released in April 2019. We can tell this from the version name: 19.04. Ubuntu is released in the fourth and tenth months of the year. As a result, the previous version was numbered Ubuntu 18.10.
Prior to that, Canonical released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. As a long-term support release, Ubuntu 18.04 is the version you should install if you need more reliability. LTS releases are regularly updated for security, which is why you should be already using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
As if updating for security and stability purposes wasn’t enough, we have 10 reasons to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04. We’ve split these into two groups; five main reasons, and a quintet of cool, smaller tweaks.
First up, five key improvements you’ll find using Ubuntu 19.04 for the first time:
- Linux Kernel 5.0
- New desktop theme
- Smartphone-style application permission control
- Live patching
- Mesa 19 GPU driver
If that wasn’t enough, we have five smaller tweaks to share with you:
- Tabbed terminal
- Night light granula controls
- New audio settings
- Desktop animations
- GNOME search improvement
Let’s spend a few minutes looking at what’s new in Ubuntu 19.04.
1. Linux Kernel 5.0 Included
Most importantly, Ubuntu 19.04 uses Linux Kernel 5.0. This is the latest version of the kernel to be widely used and delivers superior hardware support and performance.
Features in Linux Kernel 5.0 include improved graphics card support too, including Nvidia Xavier and AMD Radeon FreeSync. Laptop drivers for x86 machines have been updated, and power management is improved. Both are particularly useful for anyone running Ubuntu on a laptop; power management can be difficult for Linux laptop users.
There’s also Fscrypt Adiantum for fast data encryption on low-end devices.
Of course, you don’t have to update to Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” to enjoy the benefits of Linux Kernel 5.0. Here’s how to upgrade your Linux kernel in Ubuntu without updating.
2. New Theme: Yaru
Okay, so it’s not totally new, but in Ubuntu 19.04 the Yaru theme has better support than in Ubuntu 18.10. It has a superior look in “Disco Dingo”, with better integration for third party application icons.
Overall, Yaru is slick and modern, and in keeping with previous Ubuntu themes, relies on that maroon color scheme.
Yaru runs on the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment, although keep in mind that on Ubuntu, GNOME is heavily customized. This means that some features of GNOME 3.32 are unavailable in Ubuntu (such as HiDPI fractional scaling).
3. Application Permission Control
One feature that GNOME 3.32 brings to Ubuntu 19.04, however, is smartphone-style application permissions. You’ve probably had to alter permissions on a smartphone app after installation. Previously, such tweaking was only available on a system-wide basis, but in Ubuntu 19.04 it can be done per app.
This means that you can prevent an app from displaying notifications, for example, as well as determine what file types it has access to.
Application permission control in GNOME-based Linux distros is expected to improve with subsequent releases.
4. Live Patching
Live patching in Ubuntu has previously been available to server administrators; Ubuntu 19.04 extends this to desktop users.
A new Livepatch tab is now visible in the Software & Updates screen. If patches are available, these will apply kernel updates without restarting your computer.
Livepatch is free to use with an Ubuntu One account, although business users will need to pay for the service.
5. Mesa 19 Open Source GPU Driver
AMD graphics users will find that the Mesa 19 open source GPU driver is available in Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo”.
Mesa is an open source OpenGL implementation, consisting of hardware and software drivers. The Gallium3D component adds video acceleration and compute support. Ultimately, if you run the latest games in Linux, or edit video, the Mesa 19 driver will be a welcome addition to your Ubuntu set up.
Again, this feature is thanks to the inclusion of the Linux Kernel 5.0.
5 Cool Smaller Tweaks in the New Ubuntu
In addition to these key five developments in the latest Ubuntu release, a further five useful enhancements are included.
1. Tabbed Terminal
Running multiple terminal sessions can be a pain, if not confusing at times. Ubuntu 19.04 features a new tabbed terminal interface, making it easier to control various bash apps, commands, and SSH sessions.
For bash addicts, this is a major productivity boost.
2. New Look Audio Settings
Similarly, the audio settings have a new look, with better controls more suited to a modern multimedia PC. Access any audio device connected or set up on your system and adjust the settings as required.
3. Desktop Animation Improvements
GNOME 3.32 brings some smoother desktop window animations into the mix. These help to enhance the Yaru desktop theme. Thanks to updated graphic drivers, scrolling looks superb on almost any resolution.
4. Night Light Granula Controls
While not a new feature, Night Light has new granular controls, helping you to set the brightness based on time. Different color temperatures can be set based on the time of day, with preset Sunset to Sunrise and manual options.
5. Faster GNOME Search
Finally, another GNOME improvement is retained for Ubuntu 19.04. The GNOME search feature relies on improved file indexing, making it faster than ever. Will this end the drawn-out search for mislaid files and folders? Only time will tell!
Upgrade for New Linux Ubuntu Features Today!
Although some new features were introduced in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 18.10, they’ve been improved for Ubuntu 19.04. As such, it’s worth checking out the latest version, if only to see if these features improve your experience.
If you don’t already use Ubuntu or you want to install from scratch, simply download the Ubuntu 19.04 disk image.
Meanwhile, if all of this seems interesting but you don’t use Linux, check our Linux beginners guide.