Ubuntu 24.04 LTS [Noble Numbat] Release: What's New?

April 2nd, 2024
Ubuntu 24.04 LTS [Noble Numbat] Release: What's New?

After a two-year-long wait, the open-source community is yet again looking forward to another LTS release from Canonical. Ubuntu 24.04 LTS, dubbed Noble Numbat, will be the latest Ubuntu LTS ( Long Term Support ).

In this post, ahead of the release date, I'll be going through what to expect from Ubuntu 24.04 LTS; we will explore the Ubuntu 24.04 roadmap and deep-dive into the new features, including the significant highlight, Ubuntu 24.04 GNOME 46.

When will Ubuntu 24.04 be released?

The Ubuntu 24.04 release date will officially be April 25, 2024, conforming to Canonical's two-year LTS release cycle.

Ubuntu 24.04 roadmap

Here is a summary of the release schedule for Ubuntu 24.04 LTS Noble Numbat:

  • February 29, 2024 - This is the feature freeze phase. Ubuntu will stop the inclusion of new features, packages, and APIs;

  • March 21, 2024 - User Interface Freeze. As the name suggests, there will be no more UI changes;

  • April 4, 2024 - The Ubuntu 24.04 Beta release will be publicly available;

  • April 25, 2024 - Official Ubuntu 24.04 release date. Ubuntu 24.04 LTS will officially be released and made publicly available.

Ubuntu 24.04 LTS features: What’s new?

The much-anticipated Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release will introduce an exciting cocktail of enhancements, performance boosts, and security updates while maintaining the reliability and stability that Ubuntu is renowned for. Let's dive into the new and updated Ubuntu 24.04 features and see what's in store in the latest Ubuntu LTS release.

1. Longer support cycle

Ubuntu 24.04 LTS will be the first LTS to enjoy a whopping 12 years of support. Usually, LTS releases get five years of security and maintenance updates with an additional five years of extended security support, making a total of 10 years of support before reaching EOL (End-Of-Life).

The 12-year support cycle for the Ubuntu 24.04 LTS is undoubtedly an impressive development and will likely outlive your hardware PC!

2. Linux kernel 6.8

Canonical plans to ship Ubuntu 24.04 with Linux Kernel 6.8; surprisingly, it is not an LTS, as many would have expected. The kernel was released on January 8, 2024, coming right on the heels of the release of Kernel 6.6 on October 30, 2023. As expected with any new Kernel, Linux Kernel 6.8 ships with several enhancements and improved hardware support, especially for CPUs and GPUs.

Experimental builds for the latest Linux kernel 6.8 RC ( Release Candidate ) are available in the run-up to the official release of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS on April 25. However, when penning down this guide, Kernel 6.8 is a pre-release version and is not yet available for Ubuntu 24.04 LTS.

However, as Kernel 6.8 is still in the developmental phase, it's not recommended for production environments. Nonetheless, early adopters of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS can still give it a try on their PCs. Currently, Kernel 6.7 is the stable version. The stable version of Linux Kernel 6.8 is estimated to arrive mid-March 2024.

Significant highlights of Kernel 6.8 include:

  • Introduction of the EEVDF CPU Scheduler;
  • Support for intel_idle CPU Idle Time Management Driver for Grand Ridge and Sierra Forest processors;
  • BcacheFS - a new and advanced COW ( Copy On Write ) filesystem for Linux systems;
  • Support for stable Intel Meteor Lake graphics;
  • Numerous performance enhancements for AMD CPUs;
  • KVM virtualization now supports up to 4096 vCPUs;
  • Nested KVM support on ppc64el;
  • Rust abstractions for network PHY drivers;
  • Rust bindings for workqueues;
  • Support for Intel Shadow Stack.

Ubuntu-specific changes include:

  • New Apparmor / Stacking LSM patch set;
  • Ubuntu FAN has been replaced in favor of OVN/OpenVSwitch/MicroOVN-based solutions;
  • Introduction of the latest GCC with frame pointers enabled;
  • The enforcement of Retpoline ABI checks;
  • Deprecation of very old graphic drivers.

3. Revamped installer

Once you start the installation of Ubuntu 24.04, you’ll notice a new and improved installer. Canonical’s design philosophy is evident in its simplicity and ease of use to improve user experience.

The installer provides a simple and intuitive walkthrough of various installation steps that are easy to follow, especially for beginners in Linux.

ubuntu-24.04-installer-choose-languagel

Several changes have been introduced to the installer. For example, accessibility settings now appear on one screen.

ubuntu-24.04-installer-accessibility-settings

You can customize the accessibility options to your preferences. For example, to increase the font size, simply click the ‘Seeing’ option and toggle on the ’Large text’ option.

ubuntu-24.04-installer-accessibility-settings-large-text

The network connection setting has received a facelift and now offers multiple ways to connect your PC to the internet. You can choose to connect to a network via wired or wireless connection. Alternatively, you can opt to connect later.

ubuntu-24.04-installer-connect-to-the-internet

In the installation section, the default selection installs only the minimal components needed to get the system up and running and includes a web browser and basic software utilities. This aims to eliminate bloatware and provides the user with a lighter operating system.

ubuntu-24.04-installer-default-installation

However, if you want the whole package, you can opt for the ‘Full Installation’ selection, which provides additional third-party applications such as LibreOffice and other software packages.

4. GNOME 46

A major highlight of Ubuntu 24.04 is GNOME 46, with its release scheduled for March 20, 2024. Although the overall look is similar to GNOME 45 and its previous releases, GNOME 46 introduces new UI refinements to improve the overall user experience.

Some of the improvements include touchscreen support and enhancements in animations geared toward providing a fluid and immersive desktop experience.

In the ’Settings’ window, the ’Privacy’ menu option has been renamed to ’Privacy and Security’. In this section, you can find settings such as ’connectivity troubleshooting’, ’ screen lock settings’, ’ location’’, ’File history & Trash’, and ’Diagnostics’.

ubuntu-24.04-gnome-privacy-and-security

In addition, the ’Region & Language’, ’Date and Time’, and ’Users’* sections have been moved to a new menu option called `’System’. Additional sections include ’Remote Desktop’ and ’SSH ( Secure Shell )’.

ubuntu-24.04-gnome-system

5. Improved notifications

In Ubuntu 24.04 LTS, notifications provide better insights and invoke an action to be taken. For example, when you take a screenshot using a screenshot tool, a pop-up will appear notifying you of a possible action you can take, in this case, pasting the image from the clipboard.

ubuntu-24.04-improved-notifications

In the Nautilus file manager, notifications appear at the bottom of the window to notify you of a successful file transfer operation when copying and pasting a file.

ubuntu-24.04-notifications-nautilus-file-manager

GNOME 46 also provides a polished Quick Settings menu that allows you to select the preferred network connection type ( Wired or Wireless ) and enable features such as Night light, Dark mode, and Power mode. In addition, you can monitor the battery level, take a screenshot, lock the system, and poweroff/suspend/restart the system.

ubuntu-24.04-quick-settings-panel

6. Newer software versions and tech stacks

With the latest Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release, developers will be eagerly awaiting the new software versions, key among them being Python, Ruby, Perl, and the latest toolchains such as LLVM, GCC, and glibc to enhance development. At the time of writing, we didn't have the exact version numbers of the software versions, but we'll update this review once Canonical officially releases Ubuntu 24.04 LTS on April 25, 2024.

7. Software Center is now AppCenter

The Software Center app has received a huge update and is now called ’AppCenter’. It provides a refreshing experience with a modern and sleek touch.

At the top left corner, you’ll find quick links to help you navigate features apps and main app categories, such as ‘productivity’, ’development’, and ’games’’.

ubuntu-24.04-app-center

The ' Manage' section gives you an overview of the installed and updated software. You can also check for pending software updates and update all the installed applications.

ubuntu-24.04-app-center-manage-section-update-apps

8. New wallpaper and desktop backgrounds

As with any new Ubuntu release, Ubuntu 24.04 ships with a new wallpaper and an array of stylish and elegant desktop backgrounds.

ubuntu-24.04-default-wallpaper

9. Thunderbird as a snap package

Ubuntu 24.04 will switch from offering Thunderbird as a snap rather than a DEB-based package. Note that the minimal installation selection, the default installation option, does not include Thunderbird. Users must select 'Full Installation', which includes other software applications such as LibreOffice suite, etc.

If you opt for the 'Minimal Install', you can install Thunderbird from the Beta channel using the following command:

bash snap install --beta thunderbird

Those who choose the Full installation can remove the Thunderbird snap and install a DEB package from a PPA or install a Flatpak from the official Thunderbird Flatpak on Flathub.

Other noteworthy improvements and changes in Ubuntu 24.04 include:

  • Lots of performance tweaks and enhancements;

  • Lots of UI refinements and new visual elements;

  • Extended support for disk encryption;

  • Memory usage optimization;

  • System Monitor ported to GTK 4;

  • Advanced features for the ZFS file system;

  • Improved container and cloud integration.

Conclusion

With the Ubuntu 24.04 release in April 2024, Canonical continues with its philosophy of delivering a robust, secure, and user-friendly operating system that caters to a vast range of users. Whether you are a regular desktop user, software developer, or systems administrator, there's something in Ubuntu 24.04 LTS for everyone.

The latest offering provides new features that enhance hardware compatibility, user-friendliness, and system security. With constant improvements and the addition of new features, Canonical is committed to offering an immersive and modern computing environment for everyone in the open-source community.

Winnie is a seasoned Linux Systems administrator, currently specializing in writing technical Linux tutorials. With over seven years of experience in deploying and working with major Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, OpenSUSE, and ArchLinux, she has written detailed and well-written "How to" Linux guides and tutorials. Winnie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Masinde Muliro University, Kenya and resides in Nairobi, Kenya. She is an expert in authoring Linux and DevOps topics involving Docker, Ansible, and Kubernetes. She currently works as a freelance technical writer and consultant. In her previous roles, she worked in the capacity of an IT support specialist and Linux administrator. Her key roles included offering level 1 and 2 support to both in-house and remote staff and managing and monitoring Linux servers.

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