A new installer, GNOME 45, minimal preinstalled software, and TPM-backed FDE are among the upcoming Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” novelties.
For a long time, Ubuntu has been at the forefront of the Linux ecosystem, known for its commitment to user-friendliness and reliability.
The just-released first beta on the upcoming Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” promises to deliver many new features, improvements, and enhancements to redefine the Ubuntu experience. Here’s what it’s all about.
Ubuntu 23.10 Brings GNOME 45
GNOME 45 was just released a few days ago, and many users are eager to get their hands on its new features. Those who bet on Ubuntu 23.10 will be among the first to try it when the “Mantic Minotaur” sees the light of day on October 12.
The latest desktop update brings new features like a new Activities button, File Manager improvement on both functionality and appearance side, System Setting changes, updated core apps, Quick Settings button to control keyboard backlights, and many more.
The installation process of an OS is often the first point of contact for users, setting the tone for their overall experience. Recognizing this, Ubuntu has consistently strived to make its installer more intuitive and efficient.
With Ubuntu 23.10, the development team has adopted Flutter, an open-source UI software development kit created by Google, for its installer.
On the other hand, Snap, developed by Canonical, is a universal software distribution format that allows applications and their dependencies to be packaged in a single distro-agnostic bundle.
Combining these two technologies into Flutter Snap backed by Subiquity, the Mantic Minotaur release provides Ubuntu with a brand new, consistent, and visually appealing installer.
It minimizes visual clutter while offering picking a dark or light theme from the installer, a refactored keyboard selection screen, the ability to deal with Windows’ default BitLocker encryption, etc.
TPM-backed Full Disk Encryption
For the past 15 years, Ubuntu’s solution to full disk encryption has relied on the well-known Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS), with users authenticated via passphrases.
However, this will change as the upcoming Ubuntu 23.10 introduces an experimental feature, full disk encryption (FDE), using trusted platform modules (TPMs) included in the installer. More on the topic here.
What are its advantages over LUKS? To use LUKS encryption, you must input a passphrase that you created during the installation of the OS and use it as a key to decrypt the contents of your drive on every boot by entering it manually.
The TPM approach completely changes this. The passphrases will no longer be needed, and the secret used to decrypt the encrypted data will be protected by a TPM and recovered automatically only by early boot software authorized to access the data.
Moreover, Ubuntu 23.10 restores ZFS file-system support in its installer as an experimental feature. This brings a whole array of new features that users can use, such as data integrity, copy-on-write (CoW), snapshots, data deduplication, RAID-Z capabilities, dynamic striping, integrated volume management, etc.
Mantic Minotaur Introduces a “Less Is More”’ Philosophy
Look closely at the image above. What immediately strikes you? That’s correct. Aside from the typical OS management tools and the Firefox browser, Ubuntu 23.10 will arrive with no additional software installed on the client side.
This means that relying on this beta release, which largely gives us an idea of the final one, for the first time, users will not get the software in the default installation they have been used to for many years. This includes an office suite, mail client, torrent client, etc.
On the one hand, the novice Linux user may feel slightly confused, having to install additional software that, until now, he has always accepted as an integral part of the out-of-the-box experience.
Conversely, more experienced Linux users will get the impression of a cleaner system that they may enhance with only the components they want. Whether the minimalist approach will be profitable with the Mantic Minotaur release remains to be seen.
Other Ubuntu 23.10 Highlights
In addition to the new features stated above, Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” will bring quite a few others, such as:
- Linux kernel 6.5
- Ubuntu Tiling Assistant GNOME Extensions in the default installation
- Revamped Fultter-based App Center & Firmware Updater tool