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Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus now available

Ubuntu 17.04 "Zesty Zapus" is now available for download. (Source: Ubuntu)
Ubuntu 17.04 "Zesty Zapus" is now available for download. (Source: Ubuntu)
The new version brings improved printer support and the option to run the Unity 8 desktop environment, as well as some other small changes.

Ubuntu is an undeniable leader in the Linux desktop development community. Perhaps the most popular Linux distro in the world, Ubuntu has brought several new features to the OS for more than a decade. Canonical, the group behind the distro, hopes to further improve the Linux experience with the release of Ubuntu 17.04, codenamed “Zesty Zapus.” The update is available for download today.

Based on the Linux 4.10 kernel, Zesty Zapus brings some minor improvements over the current 16.04 “Xenial Xerus” release. The biggest change is vastly improved support for printers. While Ubuntu has been able to support various printers in the past, it was typically done through device specific drivers. These could often be a nightmare to set up, and some device manufacturers didn’t provide drivers for their specific printers. Ubuntu 17.04 brings fully integrated support for “printers which allow printing without printer-specific drivers.” Essentially, these are printers that support either the IPP Everywhere or Apple AirPrint standards. Users should be able to use compliant printers via plug-and-play. A list of IPP Everywhere-compatible printers can be found here, and a list of Apple AirPrint compliant printers can be found here.

A few other notable changes include the use of a swap file for new install rather than a swap partition, updates to various included apps (like LibreOffice 5.3), and the option to run a development version of Unity 8. This last piece is interesting, as Canonical recently stated they would be abandoning Unity and reverting back to the GNOME desktop environment for Ubuntu 18.04. As such, the Unity 8 desktop is unfinished and lacks the polish of the default Unity 7, but the updated desktop is there as an option for intrepid Ubuntu users.

Ubuntu 17.04 will receive support for 9 months, ending in January 2018. Users that prefer a longer support window should use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which has a committed 5-year support window. The full changelog and downloadable installs for 17.04 can be found here.


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Sam Medley, 2017-04-13 (Update: 2017-04-13)