Today we have enabled upgrade notifications from 14.04 LTS to the first point-release for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, versioned 16.04.1. The first point release for an LTS comes out 3 months after the initial release and then every 6 months until the next LTS is released. Upgrade notifications happen a short while later after some more QA testing.
A point release is an opportunity for us to roll up all the fixes and improvements which have been pushed out via the normal update mechanisms into a new ISO image. When you install from the updated ISO there will be fewer updates to download once you’re up and running. LTS point releases also include support for selected new hardware.
Some desktop highlights for this point release include:
Numerous improvements and bug fixes to the Ubuntu Software store front
The Ubuntu Software store is directly based on GNOME Software which is a new flexible software storefront. We have been working on including support for Snaps as well as upstreaming more general bug fixes. The stability and features are significantly improved since the initial 16.04 release and we will continue to add new features to keep inline with what’s new in the Snap world and making sure send as many fixes and improvements upstream as we can.
Improved printer driver support
Linux Standard Base or LSB is intended to provide a stable base onto which developers can build with a degree of confidence that it will run on compliant Linux distributions. Debian took the decision to drop LSB support around September 2015 and Ubuntu naturally followed suit in November 2015. However, in order to continue to support certain printer drivers which are distributed in LSB format (perhaps the only good example of an LSB package in wide use) and the automatic downloading of printer drivers from the OpenPrinting site we have reintroduced the LSB compatibility packages.
For more information see this bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/lsb/+bug/1536353
Low graphics mode
An interesting improvement for users of older hardware, those who might access their machines over a remote-desktop connection or users of virtual machines. We have been working on improving the optimisations for lower powered graphics hardware or software backed rendering. The Unity 7 desktop makes use of modern graphics hardware to display desktop components such as the dash and to provide visual enhancements to the daily operation of the desktop. In order to speed up the rendering of the desktop on less powerful machines we have reduced or removed a lot of the animations and blur effects. Low graphics mode has always been included in Unity 7 but we are now a being a bit more aggressive when it comes to disabling some of these effects. Unity 7 will automatically detect if your hardware is supported for the full experience and if not it will enable low graphics mode. Users can also manually enable low graphics mode but those instructions are beyond the scope of this post and will be followed up in a separate post. Keep an eye on the usual social media channels for more information.
How to upgrade
If you are already running 16.04 LTS you will have been receiving updates incrementally and there is nothing more for you to do. If you’re installing afresh then you should download the 16.04.1 ISO image from the Ubuntu website, the web team will be updating the default download links as soon as the images are published.
If you are upgrading from a previous LTS release then the first point release of the new LTS is the point at which time the upgrade manager will start telling you that there is a new version of Ubuntu available and will handle the upgrade for you by downloading the correct packages. Thanks to the Ubuntu QA team and community support, we extensively test LTS to LTS upgrades to make sure that this process works properly.
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