Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 08:12

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" Beta 1 released few days ago. This Beta 1 is the first pre-release version designed for testing to prepare the final release next April. I have installed Beta 1 and this short review covers where to download Bionic Beta 1, what applications available, how the desktop looks, how much RAM it takes, and more links and information about it. In short, Bionic Beta 1 brings GNOME 3.27 and Linux Kernel 4.15, with LibreOffice 6.0 and bunch of GNOME Applications, and with Firefox Quantum beside the improved Ubuntu Software. Finally, this article is for all of you wanting to know Bionic in brief without installing it. I hope you enjoy it!

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1. Download & Info

You can download Ubuntu Bionic ISO image here:

Also, you can read Bionic Release Notes (although it's still changing), release schedule, and announcement of Beta 1, plus GNOME release schedule here:

2. About

Ubuntu 18.04 is a Long Term Support (LTS) version supported for 5 years (2018-2023) and codenamed "Bionic Beaver". Read the naming of Bionic Beaver from Mark Shuttleworth (the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical Ltd). We can call Ubuntu 18.04 as Ubuntu Bionic or simply Bionic. Last but not least, this Bionic Desktop is only available for 64 bit.

3. Desktop

The desktop appearance is still the same as Ubuntu 17.10 with GNOME 3.27, left vertical panel, top panel, bottom-left menu button, top-right system tray, and, on each window: top-right control-buttons. On Beta 1, the wallpaper is still the same as 17.10's one. However, because GNOME 3.28 will be released at 14 March 2018 while Bionic is at 26 April, we can expect Bionic to have GNOME 3.28.

This is the window overview (press Super+W):

This is the opened desktop menu (press 3x3 dots button):

The vertical panel on left is replaceable to bottom or right by using System Settings like this:

4. LibreOffice & Applications

Ubuntu Bionic Beta 1 brings LibreOffice 6, precisely version with bunch of improvisations (read Release Notes 6.0 and 6.0.2).

The about dialog of Writer 6.0.2 looks like this:

This is the about dialog of Firefox 57:

More applications installed in Bionic Beta 1:

  • Mozilla Thunderbird (email client)
  • Rhythmbox (audio player)
  • Totem (video player)
  • Shotwell & EOG (image viewer)
  • Remmina (remote desktop)
  • File Roller (archive manager)
  • Disk Usage Analyzer
  • Disk Utility
  • Transmission
  • Gedit (text editor, and fortunately now it's 3.27!)
  • GNOME Calendar
  • GNOME Calculator 
  • GNOME Todo
  • GNOME Control Center (system settings)
  • Cheese
  • Terminal
  • System Monitor
  • DejaDup (backup manager)
  • Evince (PDF reader)

5. System Details

Ubuntu Bionic Beta 1 uses Linux Kernel version 4.15 and GNOME version 3.27.92.

6. Resource Usage

Once installed, I immediately run System Monitor there, and it shows Bionic Beta 1 takes 1.3GiB of RAM at idle time. This is exactly the same as Ubuntu 17.10 memory use, and also the same as the last version of Ubuntu GNOME last year. If you have only 2GB of RAM you better avoid 18.04, or simply switch to flavor like Kubuntu 18.04 instead.

This is the all processes list while idling with gnome-shell (182MiB) as the biggest one, gnome-software (65MiB) running automatically, evolution-something processes (37+37+37MiB), and Xorg (24MiB):

7. Software Installation

In Ubuntu Bionic, it's easy to install applications by using Ubuntu Software. Just open it, let it download some MB of data for some minutes, and it will be ready to get you many applications. Below is how Ubuntu Software installs Inkscape program.

And this is a nice thing now Ubuntu Software shows license in more precise way, with clearer description of "Free" as in Freedom and not as in Gratis, with explanation what license a software brings + link goes to SPDX or Ubuntu Licensing. If a software is Proprietary, it says "Proprietary" clearly, with the explanation links goes to Wikipedia. This improvisation is what I like the most of this new Ubuntu Software (although I think it needs more enhancements).

A real example, for Inkscape, when you click the "Free" button you see explanation what the term Free means (that is freedom), and that Inkscape is licensed under GPL-2.0 license.

8. File Manager

Ubuntu Bionic Beta 1 brings Nautilus version 3.26.2. There is no special difference to 17.10's, but if you come from Ubuntu version before 17.10, it's very different you better read Nautilus intro.

9. GNOME Shell Extensions

Bionic Beta 1 supports G.S.E. and you can install them using the same way as in Artful. For example, I installed both Netspeed (my favorite one) and Time ++ extensions and they run smoothly.

Both Netspeed (above) and Time ++ below) work well on Bionic:

10. Sources.list

The format of Bionic sources.list is also similar with previous release, except the codes $release, $release-updates, $release-backports, $release-security changed into bionic, bionic-updates, bionic-backports, bionic-security respectively.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.