Ubuntu History: Linux Evolves

Posted December 6, 2017 By  Matt Hartley
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    Ubuntu through the years
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    Ubuntu through the years

    A look at how Ubuntu has evolved though the years -- and how it continues to be a leading force in Linux development.
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    Ubuntu 4.10
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    Ubuntu 4.10

    This is the first release of Ubuntu that we’ve all come to know. At the time, this release was destined to be a game changer even though the developers probably didn’t know it yet. The release notes focused very heavily on the fact that this distro offers updates free of charge and is focused on Free Software. Note the last statement about Free Software. Perhaps the most notable aspect to this new distro was the focus on this being a GNOME Debian distro with an easy installation experience. I think this was the real focus for Ubuntu of that time - easy installation and a guarantee of never charging for services. Other distros of this Linspire and Xandros charged for various aspects of service. So Ubuntu was set to break the mold with this.
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    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS
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    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS

    Ubuntu 6.04 was the first Ubuntu distro I tried myself. At the time, I was happy with other distros including Simply Mepis, among others. But I was really impressed with what Ubuntu did with GNOME theming at this stage. This was also the first time the five year support option was provided for Ubuntu. Another feature worth note is the option to run network-manager. This made connecting to network connections much easier, especially with the inclusion of the GNOME friendly applet.
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    Ubuntu 8.04 LTS
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    Ubuntu 8.04 LTS

    Ubuntu 8.04 LTS was the first Ubuntu release to present the “Wubi” Ubuntu installer for Windows users. This creative concept allowed Windows users to try Ubuntu in a native environment, without adjusting their boot record or using a Live CD. This release of Ubuntu also provides us with improvements made to the GNOME network-manager as well, specifically with how it handles roaming networks.
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    Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
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    Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

    Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was filled with some pretty nasty regressions. Other releases had regressions before this one, but 10.04 was especially painful. Installer crashes, slowdowns with the file system, resume from hibernation hassles when using automatic partitioning. There were also I/O issues with ejected CDs and hidden boot options by default. To be clear, this was an Ubuntu release best avoided. Point releases did begin resolving the worst of the regressions, but 10.04 served as a reminder of the value in waiting for point releases before upgrading to a new LTS ISO.
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    Ubuntu 11.04
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    Ubuntu 11.04

    Ubuntu 11.04 was the first Ubuntu release to provide Unity as the default. The previous release (10.10) did offer Unity for the Netbook edition of Ubuntu, however it was 11.04 that first made Unity the de facto choice for regular Ubuntu users. Another controversial change that was made with Ubuntu 11.04 was the inclusion of Banshee over Rhythmbox as the default music jukebox client. One thing was for sure, Ubuntu 11.04 ended up with a lot of mixed press at the time. Its one saving grace was that classic GNOME was made available as a fall-back option for those who disliked using Unity.
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    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
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    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS was a release where things finally felt like Ubuntu was falling into place. Rhythmbox returns as the default music jukebox application, and IPv6 improvements were made over previous releases. Perhaps most importantly, this is when Ubuntu users finally started warming up to Unity as a desktop.
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    Ubuntu 12.10
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    Ubuntu 12.10

    Ubuntu 12.10 was the release that really rubbed users the wrong way with the inclusion of the Amazon shopping lens. First off, the lens was enabled by default. So in addition to pulling up strange shopping results in a Dash search, there were also concerns by some over privacy and telemetry. So even though the 12.10 release is polished enough for everyday use, the Amazon issue was a major mark against the distro at the time. Thankfully, this has since been resolved.
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    Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
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    Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

    In my opinion, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS was the release everyone running Ubuntu was waiting for. This release came with solid point releases that made this LTS version of Ubuntu, even better. Bugs were ironed out, refinement was clearly the key focus with this release. Despite the lack of new features, 14.04 remains solid even to this day. I run multiple local servers and desktops using this version of Ubuntu.
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    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
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    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

    Ubuntu 16.04 LTS was the next Ubuntu release of note. One of the positive changes for this release was the lack of Dash searching the Web to be disabled by default. Additionally, this release saw the Ubuntu Software Center replaced with the GNOME Software Center, which was a step in the right direction for Ubuntu. The only real downside I can note with this release was that the fglrx driver was no longer available.
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    Ubuntu 17.10
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    Ubuntu 17.10

    Ubuntu 17.10 comes with a GNOME desktop, uses Wayland as the default display server with X11 as a fall-back in the login options and feels like a more consolidated direction for Ubuntu as a whole. The move to make Wayland the default display server felt a bit brash upon first pass, however once you accept that X11 is still available it's really not a huge deal. The move to make the GNOME desktop look and feel like Unity used to however, has been met with mixed reactions. But most people who enjoy using Ubuntu seem to be alright with the desktop switch.
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    Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
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    Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

    This release is still in development, however there are some things that we can talk about now. Ubuntu has walked away from the mobile space and while the distro developers claim that they're not walking away from the desktop, this remains to be seen. Perhaps this release is where we begin to see the lines blur some between IoT, cloud computing and the desktop offerings coming from Ubuntu. Only time will tell.

For many Linux users, it’s easy to forget what the Linux landscape looked like before Ubuntu. Back then, newbie centric distros didn’t have Ubuntu as their core. Instead, they relied exclusively on Debian, with the exception of Mandriva (Mandrake). In this spirit of remembrance, I want to take a look back at Ubuntu through the years. With Ubuntu’s shift from the desktop into more of an enterprise future, the timing is fitting to see that at one time Ubuntu was very much a desktop focused experience. In the interest of keeping this article focused, I will be touching on Ubuntu releases that offered something unique and interesting to Ubuntu’s features.</p>



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