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Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS released Wednesday—here’s what’s new

Enlarge / Wherever possible, we recommend most users stick to LTS releases. Today’s 18.04.4 update makes that possible for newer hardware, like HP’s Dragonfly Elite G1.

Jim Salter

This Wednesday, the current Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Service) release—Bionic Beaver—launched its fourth maintenance update.

Ubuntu is one of the most predictable operating system distributions in terms of its release cycle—a new version is launched in April and October of each year. Most of these are interim releases, supported for nine months from launch; but the April release of each even-numbered year is an LTS, supported for five years. LTS releases also get maintenance releases as necessary, typically about every three to six months during the support cycle of the LTS.

Today’s release, 18.04.4, is one of those maintenance releases. It’s not as shiny and exciting as entirely new versions, of course, but it does pack in some worthwhile security and bugfix upgrades, as well as support for more and newer hardware—such as the bleeding-edge Intel WiFi chipset in HP’s Dragonfly Elite G1 laptop, which we reviewed last month.

18.04.4 fixes several potential minor irritants in installation, most notably a bug that sometimes prevented clean shutdown or restart from the installer environment. There were also some minor bugfixes to upgrade installations, but the most important class of fixes affect the system itself. There are far too many fixes and upgrades to list more than a few of the most interesting here:

  • Nvidia proprietary drivers provided by Ubuntu got several updates which cover newer graphics cards
  • Gnome-software got several UI fixes
  • The thunderbird email client got a new version from upstream
  • WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) environments will now properly detect, install, and start X11 and PulseAudio for Windows
  • Canonical’s package containerization system, snapd, received a new version from upstream
  • The much-unloved Amazon Web launcher, scheduled to disappear in this year’s upcoming LTS (20.04 Focal Fossa), gets removed from 18.04 with this release

If you’re already running Ubuntu 18.04, you don’t need to do anything special to get these fixes—your system will get them automatically during normal system updates, either manually (apt update ; apt dist-upgrade on the command line, or via the Software Update GUI) or automatically, if you’ve enabled automatic system updates. New users can download 18.04.4 directly from ubuntu.com.

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