Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 17:10

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" is planned to be released on this April 26, 2018. Here's a short review to the beta 2 version (aka al beta): it has a new user interface compared to the previous 16.04 LTS, it needs ~1.2GiB of RAM at idle time, it brings latest LibreOffice and Firefox, and it still uses Ubiquity graphical installer. This review brings you the screenshots and information after I installed the daily ISO image on my Acer Aspire One laptop. It feels very smooth on 4GB of RAM and it's very exciting for us to wait the final stable release!

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Read also Bionic Beaver beta 2 reviews for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, and Lubuntu Next.

1. Wallpaper & Desktop

This is the default wallpaper from beta 2 version of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

The desktop is GNOME 3. It has been designed to look like Unity (previous desktop you found at 16.04 LTS), and for you unfamiliar with it, here's some screenshots:

The desktop menu looks similar to Unity with full-screen view and icons spreaded:

The search functionality is improved. It can find you your files alongside your applications, but now it looks different to the search feature on 16.04, like this:

And the control panel is now Settings (original name: GNOME Control Center) with different appearance but with similar set of settings. In 18.04, you will control everything like your wifi connection or notification option within Settings.

2. Desktop Comparison to the Previous 16.04 LTS

As you know, the previous LTS version before 18.04 is 16.04. Between these two LTSes there are big differences in the desktop appearance. The 16.04 uses Unity while the 18.04 uses GNOME. For whoever doesn't follow Ubuntu history closely, here's a summary of 18.04's desktop:
  • No global menu
  • No HUD
  • No icons on desktop 
  • Different virtual desktop style (16.04 uses 2x2 screens, 18.04 uses vertical screens)
  • Menu button is at bottom
  • Left panel is still there
  • Pin icons on panel is still there
  • System tray is still at top-right of screen
  • Extensible via extensions and customizable via GNOME Tweaks

2. Memory Usage

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on beta 2 version takes around 1.2GiB of RAM at idle time after freshly installed on my laptop. Compare this to the Official Flavors of 18.04 in beta 2: Kubuntu (~370MiB), Lubuntu (~230MiB), and Lubuntu Next (~260MiB).

3. File Manager

Nautilus got a new appearance with dark color on its left panel. It's clearer, more focused for users often repeatedly change directory. Have a look, it's very cool now, right? And, also have a look, the Trash is now called Rubbish Bin. Remember, these changes haven't applied in the Beta 1 version. Personally I like this change very much!

4. LibreOffice 6.0, Firefox 59, and Built-In Applications

The set of applications is not different. It includes same set but with never versions: Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0 (Writer, Calc, Impress), Thunderbird mail client, GNOME Applications 3.28 (Calendar, Todo, File Roller, Settings, Terminal, Disks, Baobab), and System Monitor 3.26.

However, behind the scene, Ubuntu 18.04 uses Linux kernel 4.15, snap 2.32, and packagekitd 1.1.9.

5. Software Installation

Ubuntu 18.04 uses Ubuntu Software as its application store. Using this, you can search, find, and install any application you want on Ubuntu. In the previous LTS, Ubuntu uses Ubuntu Software Center, a different program with different appearance. The Bionic's Ubuntu Software is based on GNOME Software and it's easier to use now.

Here's Ubuntu Software while installing Calibre e-book reader program:

And here's Ubuntu Software showing applications available under Audio & Video category:

6. System Installer

It's still Ubiquity and not yet changed to Calamares on Beta 2. This could be changed in a near time but at least for now it's still Ubiquity. This means the steps to install Ubuntu 18.04 is still the same with the previous versions. You don't need to learn anything new to do it.


I find Ubuntu 18.04 beta 2 runs smoothly after I installed it on my Acer Aspire One 756 16GB SDCard with 4GB of RAM. It includes the same set of software we --the users-- already accustomed to, same graphical installer, but with a new and fresh user interface. I can assume it will be smoother on a normal HDD and of course on an SSD. We need to wait until the planned April 26, 2018. We will wait. We want it.


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.