Although the “live” version Ubuntu 23.10 remains temporarily unavailable while Canonical works out problems with hate speech in the Ukrainian translation, we can tell you what you can expect when it’s finally available.
Yesterday Ubuntu released Ubuntu 23.10, Mantic Minotaur, which is loaded down with plenty of new goodies for the enterprise. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that since about three hours after the release you can’t download the ISO of the live version. It seems that some bad actors have somehow managed to put some offensive stuff that some are calling “hate speech” into the Ukrainian translation, so this new edition will be unavailable until they can get everything sorted out.
The folks at Canonical are being transparent about their problems, however, and have published a pretty complete explanation of what’s happening that you can access here.
Ironically, because of this most of the Baby *buntus get to be first out the door this go around, since most of the official Ubuntu spins have by now released their 23.10 version while Ubuntu Prime remains in a holding pattern. This doesn’t mean that Ubuntu 23.10 is completely unavailable, however. If you’re already running an older version of Ubuntu you can have this latest and greatest version running almost immediately by going the upgrade route, which Ubuntu says isn’t affected by this mess.
What’s New in Ubuntu 23.10?
There will certainly be plenty of new stuff in 23.10 for enterprise users when it gets here, if not so much for home users. Most of the new stuff here is under the hood, software to make the distribution more stable and secure, with added support for running the OS on exotic hardware such as SiFive’s HiFive Risk-V boards.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything new for the everyday Linux user too, especially for those who fancy using Snaps, Canonical’s easy-to-install sandboxed app solution, as Ubuntu’s App Center has been upgraded to make it easier to find needed applications. Canonical’s also bragging that its Snap Store has never been more secure, but that’s mainly to counter arguments from most dev-types that Snaps are inherently less secure than Flatpaks.
Canonical’s counter argument is that its in-house Snap technology is more secure because they’re only available through Ubuntu’s Snap Store (in theory, anyway), while Flatpaks are available through a variety of distribution channels.
“The App Center leverages the rich metadata provided by the Canonical Snap Store,” Canonical said in a statement announcing the new release. “All applications published on the Snap Store go through strict security reviews to ensure that only necessary permissions are enabled by default. A robust signature verification process also ensures that the Snaps cannot be modified by anyone but the publisher.”
It’s Mainly for the Enterprise
Again, most of the new stuff in 23.10 seems to be aimed directly at enterprise users, and much of it appears to be in preparation for the release of Ubuntu 24.4, the next long term support release that will be unleashed in April. This doesn’t mean that the new features in this release aren’t stable and ready for prime time, but you never know just how ready your software is until you release it in the wild where it will be used on more hardware configurations than you could ever imagine — which is why in addition to alpha and beta releases we have also have release candidates.
One new feature that Canonical’s security product manager Ijlal Loutfi wrote about in a blog on Monday is restricted unprivileged user namespaces that harnesses AppArmor profiles to selectively allow and disallow unprivileged user namespaces at the application level. Unprivileged user namespaces are used by many common applications, such as browsers, to create secure sandboxes.
Loutfi said that at first the feature will be opt-in and will need to be enabled by users through the command line. “As we collect more feedback from our users, we will then turn it on by default on 23.10, using the SRU [Stable Release Updates] process,” she added.
The release also tries to make life easier on fleet managers — especially those who are running a fleet that includes a combination of Windows, Ubuntu Desktop, and Ubuntu Server — by bringing the declarative Linux networking configuration tool Netplan, which is used in Ubuntu Server, to Ubuntu’s desktop distro.
“For administrators managing combined Windows and Ubuntu desktop fleets, ADsys, the Active Directory Group Policy client available with Ubuntu Pro, now supports machine certificate auto-enrollment from Active Directory Certificate Services,” Ubuntu said in a statement. “To complete the range of improvements to Ubuntu fleet management, the Ubuntu Pro client now provides a simplified Landscape enrollment wizard with additional guidance for bulk Landscape registrations to streamline deployment at scale.”
Life Outside x86
Ubuntu 23.10 is also ready to boldly be installed on architectures outside the x86 monoculture, such as the new Raspberry Pi 5.
“With Raspberry Pi 5 we’ve boosted the power and performance of the worlds’ most popular PC to deliver a fully-fledged developer platform,” Gordon Hollingworth, CTO of software at Raspberry Pi Trading said in a statement. “We’re excited to see how the Ubuntu community leverages this power to create innovative and compelling new experiences.”
The new release will also be able to be installed on the SiFive HiFive Pro P550 RISC-V board when it’s available — which should be any day now since it was supposed to be released the summer.
In addition, Ubuntu 23.10 includes the latest version of Docker 24.0.5 along with two popular Docker plugins, docker-buildx and docker-compose-v2.