Ubuntu 15.04 released: What’s new?

ubuntu 15.04
ubuntu 15.04

The latest version of the Ubuntu operating system, version 15.04 “Vivid Vervet” was recently released. It’s a non-LTS release which means that it’s only supported for 9 months after release. However, despite it’s short lifespan, it still contains many improvements with regards to apps, UI features and hardware support:

Menus

There’s a new option to display application menus without having to hover your cursor over the title bar or top bar. This goes hand-in-hand with the option to display app menus either on the top bar or on the app window’s title bar.

always show menus
App menus displayed in the title bar

To enable this feature, open Terminal and enter the following:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity always-show-menus true

To disable, just change the “true” option to “false”. This feature should become more easily accessible via Settings>Behaviour in the next release of Ubuntu.

Application Updates

The various default applications that ship with Ubuntu have been updated in this version. None of them have any major improvements worth mentioning but contain the usual bug fixes and stability improvements:

  • Firefox 37
  • LibreOffice 4.4
  • Thunderbird 31.6
  • Evince 3.14.2
  • Shotwell 0.20.2
  • Nautilus 3.14.2
  • Rhythmbox 3.1
  • Totem 3.14.1
  • GNOME Terminal 3.14

How to upgrade

To upgrade from Ubuntu 14.10, either wait for the notification or enter the following in terminal:

sudo do-release-upgrade

To upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, you will have to:

Open ‘Software & Updates’, Click on the ‘Updates‘ tab, Select ‘Notify me of a new Ubuntu version‘.
In the drop-down menu choose the ‘For any new version‘ option instead of the default ‘For long-term support versions’

LTS Upgrade
14.04 LTS to 15.04 upgrade settings

New kernel

Ubuntu 15.04 ships with version 3.19 of the Linux kernel instead of version 4.0 which is the latest version. However, Ubuntu 15.10 should contain this version when it’s released in 6 months time.

Recommended apps

Ubuntu 15.04 contains a good collection of default applications. However, there’s a several additional apps that can be installed either to replace the default apps or to add additional functionality to Ubuntu. Here’s my list of recommended apps:

  • Google Chrome to replace Firefox
  • Geary instead of Thunderbird
  • VLC media player
  • Steam (gaming platform)
  • Telegram (instant messaging client)
  • Skype
  • Dropbox

Downloads

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet can be downloaded from Ubuntu.com or from a South African mirror.

Conclusion

Ubuntu 15.04 is a worthwhile upgrade even though it’s not an LTS release. I’ve used it for a couple of days as my main OS and it’s proven to be remarkably stable. However, LTS users don’t necessarily have to upgrade since most of the essential 15.04 features have been back ported to 14.04 LTS.

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