Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta was released today, bringing quite a few changes, like locally integrated menus (LIM) by default, upstart was replaced with systemd by default as well as various other improvements and fixes. Let's take a look at what's new!

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Changes in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta comes with quite a few menu changes. Firstly, LIM (locally integrated menu) is now the default menu type:

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Locally integrated menus are displayed in the window's titlebar for unmaximized windows, instead of the previous default Unity approach, which was to always display the menu on the top panel. LIM was introduced with Ubuntu 14.04 as an alternative to Unity's Appmenu (global menu), but it's not used by default in either Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10.

LIM uses autohide by default however, there are some new options which allow you to change its behavior. Most importantly, you can now disable the autohide feature for both LIM as well as the previously used default Unity global menu. This option is available via Dconf Editor: com > canonical > unity and enabling "always show menus".

Furthermore, LIM was tweaked and it now allows accessing the menus of unfocused windows, a feature that wasn't avaialble until now. Thanks to this, you can directly open the menu of an unfocused window by clicking on it. If you don't like this behavior, you can disable it via Dconf Editor: com > canonical > unity > integrated-menus > unfocused-windows-popup.

If you prefer the old default global menu (Appmenu), you can easily switch back to it, by going to System Settings > Appearance and on the Behavior tab, under "Show the menus for a window", enable "In the menu bar".

Yet another menu improvement in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is the addition of JAyatana by default - this provides AppMenu support for Java Swing applications:

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Other Unity and Compiz changes include:
  • Dash, HUD and the logout dialogs now work over fullscreen windows;
  • tweaks to animations for faster startup and shutdown experiences;
  • fixes for various problems that occur with the nVidia proprietary driver (mostly blank or black windows);
  • many bug fixes and small improvements.

Another change, not visual but a very important one nevertheless, is that Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet switched to booting with systemd by default, replacing upstart. This change affects Ubuntu desktop along with all Ubuntu desktop flavors as well as cloud/autopkgtests (snappy was already using systemd).

This change occurred on March 9 and back then, Martin Pitt said that the plan is to use systemd for a few weeks and if "there are too many or too big regressions", Vivid will be reverted to boot with upstart by default. So the final Ubuntu 15.04 release will most probably boot with systemd by default, but there's still a (minor) chance it won't.

I'm using Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet for a couple of weeks and I didn't encounter any issues with systemd, though some users have reported issues with it, like a very long boot time, but hopefully everything will be fixed for the final release. What I can tell you from my test is that my laptop not only boots just as fast with systemd as it did with upstart, but the shutdown process is now very fast - around 2-3 seconds, while before this change, it sometimes took more than 8-9-10 seconds.

And finally, Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta ships with various theme improvements, like support for GTK 3.14, better CSD apps integration (though THIS bug still occurs) and more:

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

... as well as a new default wallpaper:

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Applications / packages

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta ships with the following default applications: Nautilus 1:3.14.2, Firefox 36.0.1, Thunderbird 31.5.0, LibreOffice 4.4.1, Ubuntu Software Center 13.10, Gedit 3.10.4, Totem 3.14.2, Rhythmbox 3.1, Empathy 3.12.8, Transmission 2.84, Deja Dup 32, Shotwell 0.20.2, Brasero 3.12, Evince 3.14.2, GNOME Terminal 3.14.2, GNOME System Monitor 3.15.91 and Eye of GNOME 3.14.3, on top of Unity 7.3.1 (+dailybuild) and GTK3+ 3.14.9. 

Here are screenshots with a few of the core GNOME apps that were updated to version 3.14 in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet:

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet screenshots

Under the hood, Vivid final beta ships with Mesa 10.5.0, Xorg server 1.17.1 and the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 3.19.0, based on the upstream 3.19.2 Linux Kernel.

Vivid final beta ships with GTK 3.14.9 and not the latest 3.16 (and mostly GNOME 3.14 apps as you can see from the list above) because GNOME 3.16 was just released and Ubuntu 15.04 had its feature freeze on February 19th. However, at least some important applications were updated to version 3.14, like Nautilus (Ubuntu 14.10 has Nautilus 3.10), GNOME Terminal (Utopic has an ancient version: 3.6.2) and Totem (Utopic has version 3.10.1).

Also, GNOME Shell 3.14.4 is available in the repositories (and available by default in Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta, obviously), along with the 3.14 version of GNOME Control Center, GNOME Settings Daemon, GDM and most GNOME apps like Maps, Weather, Clocks, Bijiben, Music, Photos, Boxes as well as GNOME games like Mines and Sudoku.

Download Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta

Before downloading it, remember that Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is in beta, so you may encounter issues, especially with the recent switch to boot with systemd!

Ubuntu flavor downloads/release notes:

Ubuntu 15.04 (stable) will be released on April 23rd and it will be supported for 9 months.

Are you using Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet? What's your experience with it so far?