Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: Should You Upgrade? 8 Reasons

Christian Cawley Updated 21-10-2019

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” is the current Long Term Support release of Ubuntu. This makes it the number one choice for anyone considering Ubuntu. Still need convincing? Here’s why you should upgrade to or install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on your Linux PC or laptop.


Ubuntu 19.10 vs 18.04: What You Need to Know

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (codenamed “Bionic Beaver”) was released in April 2018. As with all Ubuntu releases, the date of release (year and month) is related in the version number.

This is an important version of Linux OS. Every two years a Long Term Support (LTS) release is issued, with five years of support from Canonical. This means you can use Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with support until 2023.

At the time of writing, Ubuntu 19.10 is set for release. However, like other non-LTS releases, Ubuntu 19.10 does not have the same level of support as Ubuntu 18.04. Updates will stop after two years, rather than the five on offer from an LTS.

Keeping this in mind, if you’re wondering if you should upgrade from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the answer is “soon”. Support for that LTS release will end in 2021.

In many ways, Ubuntu 18.04 is the core version of the operating system, while Ubuntu 18.10, 19.04, 19.10, and other non-LTS releases can be treated as a mix of interim update and advanced beta.


Want to know more? Ubuntu is a special Linux distribution Is Ubuntu Special? 6 Things That Set Canonical's Linux Distro Apart Ubuntu is probably the most famous Linux desktop distribution. But why is this? What makes Ubuntu different from other distros? Read More . Here are eight reasons why you should be using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

1. Security Enhancements

Primarily, you should upgrade your current Ubuntu version regularly in order to benefit from the latest security patches. These might be for the operating system, drivers, or even (in the case of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs Meltdown and Spectre Leave Every CPU Vulnerable to Attack A huge security flaw with Intel CPUs has been uncovered. Meltdown and Spectre are two new vulnerabilities that affect the CPU. You ARE affected. What can you do about it? Read More ) the underlying hardware.

It’s worth pointing out here that this is true of all operating systems, whether Linux-based, Windows, or macOS. Regular updates will improve your computer’s security What's the Most Secure Way to Handle OS Upgrades? Don't think you need to update your operating system? Here's why you need OS updates and how you should install them. Read More . This is why Windows XP users are regularly encouraged to upgrade or switch to Linux Switch from Windows to Linux and Get Up and Running in Minutes Switching from Windows to Linux might seem complex, but it's easy! Here's how to your get important data and programs from one OS to the other. Read More .

However, there is a potential security concern that you should be aware of. With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Canonical intends to collect data from your computer. But there is nothing personally identifiable in this data.


Instead, it is to establish your computer’s hardware components, what version of Ubuntu you’re running, your location (based on your choice when setting up Ubuntu) and a few other things.

This marks a change from Canonical’s previous attitude to this sort of data collection but is understandable given how flakey figures are for Linux usage around the world. Crucially, this data collection can be opted out of; if you’re upgrading from a previous version of Ubuntu, meanwhile, you can also opt in.

2. GNOME Arrives on the LTS Release

Ubuntu GNOME LTS desktop
Perhaps the biggest news of the LTS release is GNOME 3.28. Since GNOME replaced Unity in Ubuntu 17.10 (although Unity isn’t quite dead 5 Projects That Prove Unity Is Far From Dead Struggling to come to terms with Unity's abrupt end? You're in luck. These projects will help you get the most from Canonical's abandoned desktop environment for years to come! Read More ) GNOME has been the default desktop environment (pictured above on Artful Aardvark).

Of course, you don’t have to go with GNOME. Other Ubuntu desktop environments are available, such as MATE MATE Explained: A Look at One of Linux's Most Enduring Desktops Unlike commercial operating systems, Linux lets you change your desktop environment. One of the most popular is MATE, but how good is it, and should you install it on your Linux PC? Let's find out. Read More .


GNOME on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS marks the first appearance of the new Unity-esque customized GNOME 3.0 desktop on a long-term support release. And it’s a great reason to upgrade Ubuntu to version 18.04.

3. Ubuntu 18.04’s Brand New Icon Set

Ubuntu GNOME icon set

Despite hopes to the contrary (and a dedicated community project), Ubuntu 18.04 does not boast a fresh new look. However, while the Ambiance theme is hanging around (despite looking a bit tired), some new icons are included in Ubuntu.

Open source icon project Suru has been incorporated into Ubuntu 18.04. These icons were originally seen in the abandoned Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system (now under the control of


As noted on the Suru web page (where you can take a look at what’s to come), “Original mobile application icons have been repurposed to theme their GNOME counterparts. Folder and file type icons have been added, based on an unreleased Suru concept. Plus a complete symbolic icon set has been created, with many icons based on the original Suru system icons.”

4. Color Emojis

Ubuntu GNOME smileys and emojis
Sick of Ubuntu leaving you with embarrassing black and white emojis? Upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS delivers full color emojis to your Ubuntu desktop by default.

You’re stoked, right? I can tell.

The emojis you’ll find in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS are the same open source emojis as found on Android.

5. Ubuntu 18.04 Uses the 4.15 Linux Kernel

Sitting at the heart of every Linux-based operating system is the kernel. This is basically the component of the operating system that talks to the hardware.

As we move away from the release date of Ubuntu 18.04, the v4.15 kernel becomes outdated. To keep things up to date, you might consider updating the Ubuntu Linux kernel How to Easily Upgrade Ubuntu's Linux Kernel With Ukuu Upgrading the Linux kernel isn't easy, but if you're running Ubuntu and want the latest kernel, there's now a simple tool you can use to download the update: Ukuu. Read More .

6. Community-Sourced Default Features and Apps

Take the time on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to review the collection of community sourced features and apps. Announced in April 2017, the call for suggestions has had tremendous results. Look out for improved NVIDIA GPU and touchpad gesture support, as well as BlueZ implementation for improved Bluetooth functionality.

But it doesn’t end there. The Ubuntu community also suggested new apps to be bundled with the operating system. Consequently, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS includes choices such as Mozilla Firefox, LibreOffice, Kdenlive, and GNOME Calendar.

These tools will not be available in the operating system by default, however. Rather, you’ll have the option to install them as you install Ubuntu.

7. Xorg Display Server Returns to Ubuntu 18.04

Ubuntu GNOME login
Prior to 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu had a tough time, losing both Unity and the mobile variant, Ubuntu Touch. One of the biggest sticking points was the switch to the Wayland display server in Ubuntu 17.10.

While it continues to be earmarked as the display server of the future, the lack of app support for Wayland resulted in users switching back to Xorg.

As a result, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with Xorg restored as the default display server. However, it’s simple enough to switch back to Wayland, via a cog icon on the login screen.

8. Long Term Support Means Ubuntu 18.04 Is Reliable

With new versions of Ubuntu released every six months, it’s important to have a stable option. Long Term Support releases only come around every two years, but they’re vital for many.

Whether you’re a student, business, or gamer, an LTS release of Ubuntu brings with it a degree of stability. You can count on this version of Ubuntu in a way that isn’t possible with interim releases. As a result, LTS versions are more popular, and you’ll find plenty of support for the OS online.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS offers the reliability you’re looking for in an operating system. That’s worth a lot—yet this operating system is completely free.

Great Reasons to Upgrade Ubuntu Today

So, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is coming, and you have plenty of reasons to upgrade. To recap:

  1. Security enhancements
  2. GNOME on LTS
  3. Brand new icons
  4. Color emojis
  5. New Linux kernel
  6. Community-sourced features
  7. Xorg display server
  8. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is reliable

Want a better understanding of how this all fits in with Ubuntu? Check our Ubuntu startup guide Getting Started With Linux and Ubuntu You're interested in switching to Linux... but where do you start? Is your PC compatible? Will your favorite apps work? Here's everything you need to know to get started with Linux. Read More . And if you’re ready, it may be now time to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04 5 Reasons to Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" Considering an upgrade (or complete switch) to Ubuntu 19.04? Here are the top reasons to embrace the latest version of Ubuntu. Read More .

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Neha
    October 30, 2019 at 8:31 am

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  2. Dragonmouth
    October 29, 2019 at 7:37 am

    So instead of writing anything useful, you craptastically edit an old article about a version of Ubuntu pre-18.04 that compared it to 18.04 in order to "update" it? The edits make this article unintelligible and hard to follow the train of thought. Stop being lazy and actually write a coherent and cohesive article instead of hack-editing existing stuff to fit some sort of narrative.

  3. dragonmouth
    October 25, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    "This is an important version of Linux OS."
    NO! It is an important version ONLY for UBUNTU OS. Ubuntu versions have absolutely no bearing or effect on the rest of the Linux universe. Ubuntu IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT, the alpha and omega of Linux. It is only one distro among literally hundreds of other Linux distros, many of which look and work better than Ubuntu.

    "3. New Icons & 4. New Emojis"
    Big, Fat, Hairy Deal! Simple things for simple minds.

    "5. Ubuntu 18.04 Uses the 4.15 Linux Kernel"
    So do many other distros unrelated to Ubuntu. However, 4.15 kernel is ancient. The current LTS kernel is 4.19.80 and the latest kernel version is 5.3.6.

    "8. Long Term Support Means Ubuntu 18.04 Is Reliable"
    No. It only means that Canonical will provide updates till 2023. Whether it is reliable is only to be hoped.

  4. Mike Walsh
    October 23, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Never see the point in switching from an LTS to the '9-month wonders'. If you keep doing that, you're stuck in a rut of upgrading every 6 months. Who needs all that hassle?

  5. Adi
    October 22, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    We are considering to switch from Windows 10 to Linux (Ubuntu) for the use of our machine computer.
    This computer needs to work with several devices (USB), such as fingerprint reader, RFID, etc.
    Does anyone here have experience with such usage and how common are drivers for Linux? Do you think that in such intended use the Linux would fit?

  6. John IL
    July 23, 2018 at 2:18 am

    So I never disliked Unity but I have to say 18.04 with Gnome 3 is acceptable replacement so far. I just hope Ubuntu developers decide to just stick with it for awhile.

  7. Cesar Xavier
    July 17, 2018 at 1:04 am

    I have been using kubuntu 14.04 since its inception. It is working perfectly since then; it is on zfs root, awesome ! I have in it hoards of programs, including, Altera's quartus for hardware description language programming. I have install two versions of the Enlightenment desktop, gnome shell, and the rest of linux desktops. Now, I have tried both kubuntu 16.04 and 18.04. The changes don't justify the incredible difficulties and work of not only installing on zfs root but reinstalling, compiling, tuning, etc. etc. all the software. I have it running 6 consoles with 9 virtual desktops a different wallpaper each, something missing since 16.04. All in all, I think kubuntu has regressed a lot, I only see cosmetic changes in appearance, perhaps to fit smart phones and tablets; but as a desktop it simple does not convince me. I will stay with 14.04 and wait for the many bugs and incompatibilities of 18.04 to be resolved, including the big problem of importing zfs pools created with version of zfs 0.6.5 and the version in 18.04 which is 0.7.5-9. Lastly I want to say the the problems are not because zfs because I have installed 16.04 and 18.04 in ext4 file system and LVM. I would appreciate a response to this comment. Thanks

  8. Mike LaPlante
    June 7, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    You kids and your emojis...... adorable. I NEED Msft integration to work flawlessly. Period. Otherwise, I keep reaching for my Win10 rig. I'm still repairing it from the April update! ....don't get me started.

  9. BenDaMan
    May 12, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Linux has lost it's identity. Instead of releasing new versions fix the ones that are out already. Get on board with wine and get it working with new Microsoft software. Stop leaving stones un-turned. Make it easier to install software without using the command line. Make sure the software store works and is able to upgrade installed apps to the latest version even if it's not located on your servers. Fix the video problems that happen when using more than one monitor.

  10. JimW
    April 11, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I also thought icons and emojis were 'reaching' for ideas to share about the new Ubuntu Release. I could care less about the icons or the emojis. Gnome not the best environment. I haven't used Linux for several years. My work requires me to use MS apps on a windows desktop... I think the KDE environment would make a better choice. Even though I'm not an active linux user... I do keep abreast of the linux world. I was using linux back in the day when there wasn't a GUI and all you had was the linux terminal with line commands. When Gnome was first released it was very popular, but I was drawn to the KDE Desktop and it seemed to me back then, (over 20 years ago), that either were good GUIs. I think from what I've read that K has streamlined their environment much better than Gnome. Currently, I'm looking forward to retiring and have been looking forward to more time with linux and its latest apps. Nothing in this article, except security features, would persuade me to go with the new Ubuntu.

  11. Olaf
    March 29, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    To me the switch from Unity to Gnome Shell is a counter-feature of 18.04 and the reason why I won't upgrade to the next LTS release on release day for the first time in a decade.

    Unity is very a very polished, productive and space efficient DE. Each time I test GS I find it slower, clunkier and generally less polished than Unity.

    I get it, many people had a bad first impression when Canonical first introduced Unity years ago and I hate the global menu (luckily I could always switch to local menu and that became even easier over time).
    But that was years ago and Unity 7 improved a lot. GS OTOH is still mostly the same clunky inefficient mess as when Unity first arrived (in my perception).

    I hope Unity survives and that the Unity option in 18.04 doesn't bit rot over the next 2 years.
    I understand that Mark Shuttleworth got tired of throwing his money at convergence - but the switch to GS is a sad day for Ubuntu IMHO.


  12. Gary Dauphin
    March 28, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    "Brand new icons
    Color emojis"

    Why do I feel like you were reaching for reasons here....?

    • Troll
      March 28, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      The same marketing of Apple stuffs LOL

    • Jim
      March 30, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Hate Gnome 3. Don't care if it uses Xorg or Wayland. Have never used an emoji in my life. I like the old icons. Will wait for Ubuntu Mate 18.04 LTS to be released to upgrade.

    • emoji-less
      April 3, 2018 at 11:53 pm

      I'm afraid emojis aren't even one of my considerations when I choose an OS or DE.

  13. Simon Quigley
    March 28, 2018 at 2:48 am

    17.10 was so awful I switched to CentOS which I have never used on my desktop because it always used to be so awful. I've been running Ubuntu since 6.x or 7.x. Just sad. Unity was awful and gnome 3 is almost worse. Why doesn't alt tab work? Why is it now alt escape or ctrl escape or something? Why keep breaking things? Just because Microsoft keeps renaming and moving things doesn't mean everyone else has to.

    • drhappy13
      March 28, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Totally agree. Plus, this was a pretty poorly written article.

    • dragonmouth
      March 28, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      "Just because Microsoft keeps renaming and moving things doesn't mean everyone else has to."
      Not everyone, just Canonical. Canonical is a MS wannabe. Monkey see, monkey do.

      • emoji-less
        April 3, 2018 at 11:59 pm

        "Not everyone, just Canonical. Canonical is a MS wannabe. "

        I completely agree with this. Shuttleworth wants Canonical to be the Microsoft of the Linux world with Ubuntu being its Windows and him being its Bill Gates.

    • emoji-less
      April 3, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      Alt-Tab doesn't do what it should? I thought the function of that key combo was carved in bedrock somewhere...never to be changed.

      • Simon Quigley
        April 4, 2018 at 12:00 am

        It should be written in stone. They changed it so that it switched between apps, instead of windows. Ie you have 2 Firefox windows and the calculator open.. Use the calculator, go to Firefox, go to the other Firefox window. Alt tab now switches to the calculator instead of the first Firefox window. It's even worse when you are trying to work with a bunch of terminal windows.

        • Nikila
          July 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm

          YES! It is the absolute worst!