Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 Released and What’s Next

The Ubuntu GNOME developers are proud to announce our latest non-LTS release 17.04. For the first time in Ubuntu GNOME’s history, this release includes the latest stable release of GNOME, 3.24.

Although Ubuntu’s release schedule was originally centered around shipping the latest GNOME release, this had not been possible since Ubuntu GNOME’s first release four years ago.

Take a look at our release notes for a list of highlighted changes and improvements.

The future of Ubuntu GNOME

As announced last week by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will include GNOME instead of Unity. Specifically, it will be GNOME (including gnome-shell) with minimal Ubuntu customization. Next year, if you are using either Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS, you will be prompted to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. For normal release users, this upgrade should happen with the release of 17.10.

As a result of this decision there will no longer be a separate GNOME flavor of Ubuntu. The development teams from both Ubuntu GNOME and Ubuntu Desktop will be merging resources and focusing on a single combined release, that provides the best of both GNOME and Ubuntu. We are currently liaising with the Canonical teams on how this will work out and more details will be announced in due course as we work out the specifics.

The Ubuntu community is important to Mark Shuttleworth and he has publicly stated on Google+: “We will invest in Ubuntu GNOME with the intent of delivering a fantastic all-GNOME desktop. We’re helping the Ubuntu GNOME team, not creating something different or competitive with that effort. While I am passionate about the design ideas in Unity, and hope GNOME may be more open to them now, I think we should respect the GNOME design leadership by delivering GNOME the way GNOME wants it delivered.”

The Ubuntu GNOME developers were already members of the Ubuntu Desktop team since both teams shared responsibility for maintaining many parts of GNOME. We will continue to work closely with them and push the visions of Ubuntu GNOME into the main Ubuntu Community.

We started and maintained Ubuntu GNOME with the vision of bringing the most popular desktop experience1 to the most popular Linux distribution. We are excited that we are now able to bring this powerful combination to many more people. If you want an early preview of what this will look like, try Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 today!

On behalf of the Ubuntu GNOME team,
Jeremy Bicha and Tim Lunn

1 GNOME is shipped as the default desktop on a majority of Linux distributions.