A look at Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

I’m going to preface this review, and say that I liked Ubuntu 17.10 after using it for a few days. However, there were multiple issues with it, that ultimately ruined my experience; however, your mileage my vary.

Ubuntu 17.10, code-named Artful Aardvark, is the latest Ubuntu Linux release from Canonical, and was released Oct. 19.

It’s the first desktop release of the pure Ubuntu flavor, to not feature the Unity desktop, since Ubuntu 11.04. Now, Ubuntu uses the GNOME desktop environment now.

My setup

  • Intel(R) Core (TM) i5-4430 @ 3Ghz
  • 16GB DDR3 @ 1600Mhz
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
  • 7200RPM HDD
  • Three monitors, DVI and HDMI connected to GPU, VGA connected to motherboard

Installation
Error

So, installation of Ubuntu 17.10 did not go as smooth as I had hoped, considering its extremely recent release date, but alas, we don’t always win when playing with recent hardware.

Immediately upon booting, I was brought to the “Try or Install” type screen, where I selected install. I got a couple of screens in, where you are asked if you wish to install updates during installation, and whether you want plugins and codecs installed and then suddenly; it hangs. Entire system lockup when I tried to proceed to the next screen.

So I hard rebooted via button hold. Upon booting up again, I was faced with an error I photographed with my phone, because I couldn’t even boot into the system.

The solution: edit the boot parameters and add ‘nomodeset’ to the kernel line, which tells the kernel to wait to load video drivers and use BIOS modes until X is loaded first. It’s a popular fix when having video card issues at first boot.

So I got back into the installer, and installed the system this time, no problems, went smooth and quick. The Live USB was smooth and fast too on this machine, even while installing.

I rebooted into my new system...Or no, wait, I didn’t. I got stonewalled with another error.

This one would happen the moment I tried to boot into Ubuntu...Until I went into ‘Advanced’ options in my GRUB screen. The confusing part, is that I had to manually select which kernel version I wanted to use, but the only one available, is the one that is used by default...so, I selected it, and voila; I booted. Likely there is something messed up with GRUB that I will need to fix. Regardless, after jumping through these little hoops, I was into my installed Ubuntu system.

Read also:  A look at OpenSUSE based Gecko Linux

The new Ubuntu 17.10

Ubuntu Desktop

As previously stated, Ubuntu now uses GNOME for its desktop environment, although to be honest, it still feels like Unity. The main reason for this I feel, is because the dock on the left hand of the screen that normally is hidden, is always visible in the new styling, and just the way the interface feels, almost makes this feel more like a different version of Unity, albeit, a better one.

My graphics card does not work with the default Nouveau open source Nvidia driver, I need to install the proprietary driver if I want to use my video card for anything, thankfully Ubuntu has a driver tool to make that process easier than doing it by hand.

I did notice however that even with my decently powered system, animations lagged or were choppy, when I did things like open the applications menu. It wasn’t horrendous, but still easily noticeable.

Applications

Ubuntu comes with the pretty standard package of applications, such as:

  • Firefox
  • LibreOffice
  • Cheese
  • Rythmbox
  • Shotwell
  • Thunderbird
  • Transmission-gtk

Nothing really innovative or exciting to me, about the current application selection, but all-around good choices for appealing to the masses needs.

So, how do I upgrade?

Keep in mind, that Ubuntu 17.10 is not a LTS release (long term support), and is more of a stable testing ground for Ubuntu 18.04. That said, if you are running 17.04, upgrading is simple:

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

and then

sudo do-release-upgrade

Ta-Da!

However, if you are running an older version, you will first need to update to 17.04, and then 17.10 after.

Final thoughts

I ran into issues right off the hop with this Ubuntu release, which makes me a little wary, however, I’ve always been known to be able to find bugs where bugs shouldn’t exist, or break things without touching them...So I’m not really surprised, and your mileage may likely vary. Overall, I don’t mind the new Ubuntu, but it’s choppy animations did disappoint me on this machine.

Overall, I’d still say if you’re a fan of GNOME, or Ubuntu, it’s at least worth a look, maybe you’ll love it.

What are your thoughts on the new system?

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A look at Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
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Our Linux wizard Mike takes a look at the new Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark release of the popular Linux distribution.
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Responses to A look at Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

  1. Mark Hazard October 22, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks for the article Martin. I won't be getting 17.10 myself, as I am waiting for 18.04 LTS.
    You should be able to adjust the desktop with the Gnome Tweak Tool. I read another article about Ubuntu 17.10, and the author had a few minor problems with it, but nothing serious.

    • Anonymous October 23, 2017 at 11:01 pm #

      It's not Martin, it's Mike Turcotte.

  2. Greg October 22, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

    I don't know if anyone else ran into this issue, but after installing 17.10 the wifi refused to connect even when the password was correct. To fix it I needed to update the NetworkManager.conf in /etc/NetworkManager/ folder and add the line below to the bottom save and restart the network service. It should wok after that

    [device]
    wifi.scan-rand-mac-address=no

  3. anon October 22, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

    I had the same hang after selecting install updates and codecs when I tried to install it in to a VM to try it out.

  4. Rotten Scoundrel October 22, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Martin,

    I took a look at 17.10 a week back. Liked it very much but it was very unpolished at that stage, I went back to 16.04. I am not complaining about the state of 17.10, but I think they released it for the number (17.10) and it was nowhere near release ready.

    The only problem I had was a very slow start. Took about two minutes but I tracked that down to a problem with the swap file. Found a solution online and from then on it loaded like the normal Ubuntu should.

    I did like the familiar look and feel. I also have the full GNOME-17 version on my multiple boot drive and go play with it from time to time to try and wean myself away from Unity. But, I think Canonical's decision to go with the more familiar tweak for the Launcher is a good plan. The full-GNOME is a little gnarly to get along with after some years with Unity.

    I will wait and probably switch over to 18.04 when it comes out next year. Hopefully it will be a cleaned up 17.10. :)

  5. Fuzzy McGee October 22, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

    I wish they would have been ballsy enough to do something about the awful colors and the ancient looking theme, they are not going to win over any new fans with this thing. If I want to use the latest GNOME, I choose Solus or Antergos. For an old but stable GNOME, Debian will do just fine. This "new" Ubuntu is nothing more than an old car with a new Wunderbaum air freshener.

    • anon October 23, 2017 at 1:01 am #

      It is ugly looking but I guess some people like it and at least it's easy to change. But then most aren't exactly lookers out of the box.

      • Fuzzy McGee October 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

        That right there is the problem: "easy to change". I don't want easy to change, I want superbly excellently fantastically amazingly beautiful and snappy right out of the box. No wonder Elementary and Solus get new happy users all the time, their products don't look like old man's a**.

    • mario56 October 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

      18.04 LTS is going to have a new theme. There is going to be a community contest for it soon.

    • jean4 October 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

      I've seen many Fedora and Antergos fanboys really worried these days..
      I think they are afraid that the userbase of their favourite "GNOME" distros will start to switch to Ubuntu because it's now default there too.
      Don't worry guys, this is life, distrohopping is not a bad thing haha...

  6. yuri October 23, 2017 at 1:46 am #

    I've been running Ubuntu Gnome from the first release. I've customized it since with extensions and was concerned that Canonical might override them with a pure vanilla version. It turns out that nothing seems to have been changed much other than the 4.13 kernel.

    BTW - alt + f2 brings up a command box for launching apps and distribution updates (gksu update-manager -d)

  7. leanon October 23, 2017 at 2:15 am #

    Always been a fan of buntu however with them slowly droping support for 32 bit I have been looking into alternatives for this old girl. Anyway thanks for the update Mike.

  8. Jon Forrest October 23, 2017 at 2:55 am #

    "considering it’s extremely recent release date" ->
    "considering its extremely recent release date"

  9. lsl October 23, 2017 at 5:56 am #

    sudo apt install gnome-session
    This will add a gnome session to gdm, with Gnome upstream defaults.

    • Fletch F. Fletch October 23, 2017 at 11:40 am #

      Now tell me how to remove Unity AND this new one to just have a clean vanilla Ubuntu GNOME?

      • MdN October 23, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

        There's an article about how to do this on OMG! Ubuntu! today.

      • Fletch F. Fletch October 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

        @MdN Only half of what I wanted. The "new" look interface has to go as well, as in all traces of it gone completely. Eradicated, never to return.

  10. notAUser October 23, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Hi,
    There's important thing which people always forget about. Ubuntu 17.10 has Linux kernel 4.13. This kernel has BFQ build-in io scheduler. BFQ is disabled by default but it's compiled as the kernel module and we can load it on Ubuntu loading and enable it. You can find in internet how you can do it easy (i think that my comment can be blocked automaticly if I post link on external resource).

    BFQ prevent old linux desktop system's 12309 bug with writing a lot of files to slow disk. For example my laptop became slow when I tried to write a lot of files to USB disk. And yes, I know that theoretically io 12309 bug was fixed in linux kernel 4.10, but it's not true at least for my. And to fix 12309 bug I can use doubtful configurations of Ubuntu swap to prevent this problem or I can use BFQ.

  11. Atia Isaac October 23, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    I have been using Ubuntu 17.10 for about 4 days now and I really like the new look and feel. However the animations are a bit sluggish. Nothing too extreme but is still noticeable especially when switching between windows.
    There's this setting where you can hide the dock when any window goes full screen. When you move the mouse over to where the dock should be it reappears but I can literally see and feel the lag.
    In all its not bad and I might stick with it awhile longer

  12. greg October 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    I haven't been able to get ARtful to install. I keep running into a failure to install Grub. I can install the previous Ubuntu just fine. Was a bug introduced in ARtful? Anyone else experiencing this?

  13. Stefan October 24, 2017 at 3:23 am #

    The only problem i find in Linux is all these needs of 'fooling around' in a terminal. Why aren't this a graphical UI yet ? Come on, You have had years to evolve an easy UI to do the same, and still nothing......

    • Aurora October 24, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

      Have you been in Linux in the past 15+ years cause I've been using it as my main OS for months now (on my current setup) and I never have to open up the terminal to do anything to tweak the system.

  14. Surya October 24, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    My experience is much different from yours. System is AMD FX 6300, Nvidia 730 GT, 8 GB RAM, 2 TB HDD, ASUS M5A78L-M PLUS motherboard.
    Fresh install, dual booted with Windows 10. Install was perfectly smooth and after install, I installed the Nvidia and AMD proprietary drivers. No issues at all and system is perfect.

  15. Spera October 25, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    Issue for me - I can no longer edit my Sources via the usual process - no way to check the boxes, or to apply my changes to deactivated sources ? I had had that a few years back, need to remember what I did to fix it ?

  16. ellen November 6, 2017 at 4:50 am #

    Ubuntu should have just moved to Gnome which works pretty good, instead they did this hybrid thing which is difficult to navigate. The menu is extremely sluggish and perhaps I will use classicmenu-indicator again to make it useable as it worked fine for me in unity before. Also Ubuntu doesn't work well with wine, unetbootin and gufw firewall. Wine repositories seem to be outdated, I am testing Opensuse and wine just works. Unetbootin and gufw windows are not working properly in Ubuntu. I have found an online solution to gufw firewall, apparantly it is because of Wayland. To make it work one has to type into terminal: xhost +si:localuser:root and then launch the application again. I don't know what it does, but at least I got GUFW going again.
    My final thought is that 17.10 is not what I want. It is just slow and hard to work with. Better wait for Ubuntu 18, this upgrade will just frustrate.

  17. scott November 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

    I must say I miss unity but it is far from a show stopper, the much bigger issue is Wayland, not so much per se but rather is places the spotlight on the shortcomings of the app developers. For to long they have just given themsleves root permissions and off they go, something that cannot be done in the Wayland environment, I feel Wayland in this regard is superior to Xorg. At the moment, rather than do as the previous poster (xhost +si:localuser:root) I just run Xorg at login (click name>gear icon>select Xorg session) which is then set as default for future logins. Xorg is necessary to run (in my case) the majority of the GUI apps because of poorly written apps which don't work in a Wayland environment. It does however obviate any advantages of having a Wayland graphical environment lol.

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