Ubuntu 19.10 "Eoan Ermine" features an updated Linux kernel, faster startup times, updated designs and experimental support for ZFS file systems. Whether upgrading or not, Ermine shows what to expect from Ubuntu's upcoming LTS release in April 2020.
Should you upgrade?
Ubuntu 19.10 is available for download today. An upgrade is not mandatory. In fact, most users stay with the LTS (Long Term Service) releases and only upgrade every two years when the next one is released. The last LTS version was Ubuntu 1
If the latest release is not a Long Term Support (LTS) version, the question "Should I upgrade?" Is child's play. Canonical estimates that 95 percent of Ubuntu installations use LTS versions. Ubuntu 19.10 is not an LTS version. it is a preliminary release. The next LTS will be released in April 2020 when Ubuntu 20.04 ships.
When 95% of LTS releases stay, those who upgrade to intermediate versions are in the minority. But there will always be users who want the latest, shiny things. They will upgrade. Period. The fact that there is a new version is reason enough.
So we have the LTS only users in the camp, who definitely do not upgrade, and the users who give me the new version now, the camp will definitely be upgraded. If you are neither, you must be in the camp "I could upgrade " if there is anything convincing about this new release. Here is our short overview, so that you can decide.
Of course, there is a lot of updated software. Below is a summary of the updates. The version numbers are given for each package. The version numbers in brackets are the versions that came with 18.04.
- GNOME 3.34.1 (3.32.1)
- Kernel 5.3.0.-13 (5.0.0-8)  Thunderbird 68.1.1 (60.6.1)
- LibreOffice 188.8.131.52 (184.108.40.206)
- Firefox 69.0.1 (66.0.3)
- Ubuntu Software 33.0.6-2 (33.0.6)  Files 3.34.0 (3.32.0)
- GCC 9.2.1 (8.3.0)
- glibc 2.30 (2.29)
- OpenSSL 1.1.1. c (1.1.1b)
When you start a 19.10 computer, you will see some cosmetic changes. The user selection highlight bar is now light purple instead of the orange color of previous versions.
Cancel and Sign In options The buttons on the password entry screen have also been fixed. The Cancel button is a kind of pinky magenta, and the Sign In button is green.
The gear "Options" remains gray, with the two known options. You can start Ubuntu either through the Xorg or Wayland display server.
The Yaru design has been updated and there are many new icons. It's not a massive departure from the 19.04 releases, but users coming from previous versions of Ubuntu will notice quite a change to the Ubuntu Ambiance standard theme.
As expected, there are a number of new background images, but the background settings have also been improved. When you select a background image, you are prompted to change the wallpaper on the desktop, the wallpaper on the lock screen, or both at the same time.
Previously, you had to specify whether you have set the desktop wallpaper or the wallpaper of the lock screen in advance to select the wallpaper. If you want the same background image on both sides, you had to go through the selection process twice.
You can select one of your own images as wallpaper. Click the "Add Image" button and use the file picker to select an image.
After adding a picture to the Wallpapers selection, it is always available even if you remove the image from your computer. GNOME keeps a copy in the "Backgrounds" folder.
The night light settings have been moved to a separate tab in the Devices section of the settings dialog.
The functionality remains unchanged. You can manually turn the night light on and off and select a "heat" for the hue that will be applied to your monitor when the night light is on. You can also set a schedule to automatically turn the nightlight on and off.
When you install the GNOME Tweaks application, you can choose a dark version of the Yaru theme. That seems to work very well. Some application windows and screen elements are beyond his control, but it should satisfy fans of the dark side.
In the Application Browser, you can see application icons dragged and dropped onto other icons. This groups the icons in the same way as you can with your iPhone or Android phone.
For example, drag and drop the LibreOffice icons. The same icon creates an Office group. However, we could not rename this group.
There is a new task application. You can use it to create lists of tasks that you can check off during execution. You can also set due dates for tasks that have appointments.
The simple scan has been updated and renamed. It is now called Document Scanner.
It contains bug fixes, better translations and a new look.
LZ4 compression for faster starts  The file system
initramfs is loaded when booting from Ubuntu. The task of this temporary root file system is to initialize things enough to get your real root file system-and the rest of the operating system-up and running. The file system
initramfs is compressed.
The faster the decompression can take place, the faster the start time. A series of performance tests was performed to find out which compression / decompression algorithm performed best.
LZ4 compression has emerged victorious and will be the method used in Ubuntu for the foreseeable future.
Closed source NVIDIA driver in ISO image
Hold your hats tight. NVIDIA and Linux are a bit more comfortable now. Handling NVIDIA graphics cards has been a bit tricky in the past, especially if you could not install Ubuntu without an Internet connection.
The NVIDIA drivers are now included in the installation images so they can be installed directly to the Live CD. The Nouveau graphics drivers are still the default, but this will greatly enhance the user experience for a large number of Ubuntu users, especially novices.
End of flickering for Intel and UEFI users
A A certain group of users found some flickering or "flashing" of the screen when booting Ubuntu. If your computer uses Intel graphics and booting with UEFI enabled, you probably experienced it.
As long as your Intel graphics are reasonably modern, the new code added to Ubuntu 19.10 should fix this for you.  Experimental Support for the ZFS File System
The ZFS file system is an advanced file system that comes from Sun Microsystems. It is exceptionally error-tolerant and combines features that natively provide file system pooling, cloning, copying, and RAID-like features.
ZFS originally stood for "Zettabyte File System", but can currently store up to 256 zebibytes.
Warning : You must treat this as alpha software. The Ubuntu implementation is not even in beta. It is included in 19.10 to allow tests to be conducted by the curious, the intrepid, and the fearless. In no case should you turn on production computers. We recommend that you do not even install it on home computers without having a robust backup system installed. This is really something for "it's free, I do not care" hardware and virtual machines.
The ability to use the ZFS file system appears when you are on the partition options screen. Note that Canonical wrote the word "EXPERIMENTAL" in capital letters and the word "warning" in red. And they are not kidding.
This option appears only during desktop installation. It is not even included in the server installation.
You can only use it.
If you select the "something else" option and create your own partitions, you can not select ZFS from the file system menu.
The version of
mkfs provided in 19.10 also does not offer ZFS as an option. ZFS was already available in Ubuntu repositories in Ubuntu 16.04, but has never been integrated into the installation program.
RELATED: Which Linux file system should you use?  What did not work?
The power management utility TLP was originally intended to be included, but failed. TLP offers a variety of settings for the subsystems of your computer. You can optimize them to maximize battery life on laptops and minimize power consumption on desktops.
You can install TLP with the following command:
sudo apt install tlp
Also GSConnect did not make it. With GSConnect you can integrate your Android phone into your GNOME desktop. It lets you transfer files, control your phone from your desktop, view phone alerts on your desktop, and more.
CONNECTED: How to wirelessly transfer Android files to a Linux desktop
Upgrade or not?
Some of the above options may be attractive enough to justify an upgrade. Or you can not wait to be free from defects or mistakes in the version of Ubuntu you are currently in.
Whether you're upgrading or not, it's interesting to see Ubuntu 19.10 as a springboard for the next LTS version, 20.04, and to see which direction Canonical is moving.
Despite warnings this time for the ZFS file system, it would be great to see it as a working standard file system in future iterations of Ubuntu, and in the broader Linux area.