What’s New in Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine,” Available Now

Ubuntu 19.10 Default desktop wallpaper of Eoan Ermine.

Ubuntu 19.10 "Eoan Ermine" features an upgraded Linux kernel, faster boot times, updated themes, and experimental support for the ZFS file system. Whether you upgrade or not, Ermine shows what to expect from the upcoming Ubuntu LTS release scheduled for April 2020.

Should you upgrade?

Ubuntu 19.10 is available for Download today 17 October 2019. Upgrading is not mandatory; in fact, most people stick to LTS (Long-Service Service) versions and upgrade only every two years, when the next is released. The latest version of LTS was Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver."

For some people, if the latest version is not a Long-term support (LTS), the question "should I upgrade?" Is a no-brainer. Canonical estimates that 95% of Ubuntu installations use LTS versions. Ubuntu 19.10 is not an LTS version; it's a temporary release. The next LTS is scheduled for release in April 2020, when Ubuntu 20.04 will be delivered.

If 95% of users stick to LTS versions, those who switch to intermediate versions are very much in the minority. But there will always be users who want the latest news. They will update. Period. The fact that there is a new version is reason enough.

So we have only LTS users in the camp "will certainly not upgrade" and users of the version "give me the new version" which is now in the camp "will certainly upgrade." If none of you are, you must be in the "I could update if there is something imperious about this new version "camp." Here is our quick summary so you can make up your mind.

Updated software

Of course, there is a lot of updated software. Here is a summary of what has been refreshed. Version numbers are given for each package. The version numbers in parentheses are the versions provided with 18.04.

GNOME 3.34.1 (3.32.1)
Core 5.3.0.-13 (5.0.0-8)
Thunderbird 68.1.1 (60.6.1)
LibreOffice (
Firefox 69.0.1 (66.0.3)
Ubuntu Software 33.0.6-2 (33.0.6)
Files 3.34,0 (3,32,0)
GCC 9.2.1 (8.3.0)
glibc 2.30 (2.29)
OpenSSL 1.1.1.c (1.1.1b)


As soon as you start a computer with 19.10, you will see some of the cosmetic changes. The user selection bar is now slightly purple instead of the orange color of previous versions.

user selection screen with purple highlight bar

The "Cancel" and "Sign" buttons on the password entry screen have also been changed. The "Cancel" button is a kind of pinky-magenta and the "Sign In" button is green.

Password entry screen with the Wayland or Xorg menu displayed

The gearbox "Options" remains gray with the two usual options. You can start Ubuntu using either the Xorg or Wayland display server.

the Yaru Theme has been updated, and there are a lot of cool icons. This is not a massive departure from the 19.04 visuals, but users from earlier versions of Ubuntu will see a dramatic change from the default theme of Ubuntu Ambiance.

Yaru icon update in the file window and the dock toolbar

Screen background settings

A series of new wallpapers is expected, but the wallpaper settings have also been improved. When you select a screen background, you are prompted to change the desktop screen background, the screen bottom of the screen locked or both at the same time.

Previously, you had to indicate whether you set the desktop wallpaper or the lock screen wallpaper before choosing the wallpaper. If you want to use the same screen background for both, you have to go through the selection process twice.

screen selection screen with menu displayed

You can choose one of your own pictures as wallpaper. Click the "Add Image" button and you can use a file picker to select an image.

image selector screen background

Once you have added an image to the selection of backgrounds, it will still be available even if you delete the image from your computer. GNOME keeps a copy in the wallpapers folder.

Wallpaper selection dialog with custom wallpaper inserted

night light

The Night Light settings have been moved to their own tab in the "Devices" section of the Settings dialog box.

Nightlight tab in the settings dialog

The functionality remains the same. You can turn the nightlight on and off manually, and choose a "heat" for the hue applied to your monitor when the night light is on. You can also set a schedule for the nightlight to turn on and off automatically.

Dark theme

If you install the GNOME Tweaks application, you can select a dark version of the Yaru theme. It seems to work very well. Some application windows and some screen elements are out of his control, but this should satisfy fans on the dark side.

Dark theme selected in GNOME Tweaks

Grouping of applications

In the application overview, you can drag the icons from the application and drop them on other icons. This will group the icons in the same way you can with your iPhone or Android phone.

Separate icons for LibreOffice applications in the application overview

For example, dragging LibreOffice icons and dropping them onto the same icon creates an Office group. However, we have not found a way to rename this group.

LibreOffice icons grouped together in the application overview

Request to do

There is a new ToDo application. It allows you to create task lists that you can check while you perform them. You can also set due dates for tasks with deadlines.

Main window of the ToDo application with calendar displayed

Document scanner

Simple Scan has been updated and renamed. He is now called Document Scanner.

It contains bug fixes, better translations and a new look.

Document Scanner App with Displayed Menu

LZ4 compression for faster starts

The initramfs file system is loaded when starting Ubuntu. The work of this temporary root file system is to initialize enough items so that your actual root file system, as well as the rest of the operating system, can start to boot. The initramfs file system is compressed.

The faster the decompression can be, the faster the startup time. A set of performance tests have been executed to see which compression / decompression algorithm worked best.

LZ4 compression is a winning release and will be the method used in Ubuntu for the foreseeable future.

NVIDIA closed source drivers in the ISO image

Hold your hats. NVIDIA and Linux have become a little more comfortable. Using NVIDIA graphics cards could be a bit of a hassle in the past, especially if you were stuck installing Ubuntu without an Internet connection.

NVIDIA drivers are now included in the installation images so that they can be installed directly from the Live CD. The new graphics drivers are still the default drivers, but this will make the end user experience a lot smoother for a lot of Ubuntu users and, most importantly, for the new ones. arrivals.

No more flickering for Intel and UEFI users

A particular group of users saw some flicker or "flicker" on the screen when booting in Ubuntu. If your computer uses Intel graphics and you started it with UEFI enabled, you've probably experienced it before.

As long as your Intel graphics are reasonably modern, new code added to Ubuntu 19.10 should solve this problem for you.

Experimental support for the ZFS file system

the ZFS file system is an advanced file system who is from Sun Microsystems. It is exceptionally fault-tolerant and combines features that provide a file system grouping, cloning and copying, and RAID type functionality, natively.

ZFS originally represented "Zettabyte File System ", but it can currently store up to 256 Zébibytes.

Warning: You have to treat this as an alpha software. The implementation of Ubuntu has not even started yet. It is included in 19.10 to allow tests to be performed by the curious, fearless, and intrepid. Under no circumstances should you install on production computers. We recommend that you do not place it even on home computers without a robust backup system in place. It's really something that concerns only the "spare, I do not care" hardware, and only virtual machines.

The ability to use the ZFS file system appears when you are on the screen of the partition options. Note that Canonical put the word "EXPERIMENTAL" in capital letters and the word "Warning" in red. And they do not laugh.

This option appears only on the desktop installation. It is not even installed in the server yet.

ZFS option on the partition selection screen

This is the only chance to use it.

File System Selection Menu

If you select the "Something else" option and choose to create your own partitions, you will not be able to choose ZFS from the file system menu.

The mkfs version provided in 19.10 also does not offer a ZFS option. ZFS became available in Ubuntu repositories in Ubuntu 16.04, but it was never integrated into the installer in this way.

RELATED, RELATED, RELATED: Which Linux file system should you use?

What did not make a difference?

The power management utility TLP originally had to be included, but it was not done. TLP provides a wide range of settings for the subsystems of your computer. You can adjust them to maximize the battery life on laptops and reduce power consumption on desktops.

You can install TLP with this command:

sudo apt install tlp

sudo apt install tlp in a terminal window

In addition, GSConnect did not succeed. GSConnect allows you to integrate your Android phone into your GNOME desktop. With this one, you can transfer files, control your phone from your desk, see notifications from your phone on your desk, etc.

RELATED, RELATED, RELATED: How to wirelessly transfer Android files to a Linux desktop

To upgrade or not?

Some of the above are appealing enough to warrant an upgrade. Or you can not wait to be released from a bug or bug in the version of Ubuntu you are currently on.

Whether you're upgrading or not, it's interesting to see Ubuntu 19.10 as a stepping stone to the next version of LTS, 20.04, and see the direction taken by Canonical.

Despite the scary warnings this time for the ZFS file system, it would be good to finally see it as a viable default file system in future iterations of Ubuntu and in the vast domain of Linux.

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