Canonical recently made Ubuntu 17.10 available. So I downloaded a copy to take a look. This is the first Ubuntu release since they announced that Ubuntu would switch to the Gnome desktop instead of the Unity desktop that had been the default. So we can take this as a first look at the new Gnome based Ubuntu.
Overall, I like it in a relative sort of way. I do prefer it to the Unity desktop. However, for my own use I will be sticking with openSUSE and KDE.
I’ll comment on installing below. Let’s discuss the installed system.
On first glance, it looks similar to the Unity desktop. There’s a panel on the left (called the “dock”), much as with Unity. It is for “favorite” applications, etc. It starts with “favorites” preselected by the Ubuntu team. But you can add your won and you can remove applications that you don’t want.
If you install Ubuntu on a computer with secure-boot enabled, then it will probably boot. And maybe that’s all you want.
If so, you probably won’t be concerned about what I am describing here.
However, secure-boot is supposed to verify many of the steps in the boot path. And that’s where I see Ubuntu as broken.
I’m basing this on tests that I have done on Ubuntu-17.04 and Ubuntu-gnome-17.04.
First a brief summary of the problems that I am seeing:
- Ubuntu will boot without checking a signature on the kernel.
- Under some circumstances, Ubuntu will complain about a bad signature, and refuse to boot, even though secure-boot has been disabled.
I have already reviewed Ubuntu-17.04. However, the Ubuntu folk (i.e. Canonical) had already announced that, starting with 18.04, they would switch their mainline version from the Unity desktop to the Gnome desktop. So I decided to also test out the 17.04 version of Ubuntu with Gnome desktop.
I installed Ubuntu-gnome in an already existing encrypted LVM. The machine that I used actually has two hard drives, with an encrypted LVM on each drive. So this was a different LVM from the one that I used for the mainline Ubuntu (with unity). Currently, both versions of Ubuntu are installed on that machine.
Ubuntu 17.04 was announced a few days ago. I had already decided that I would install it, and do a little testing. So, once I saw the announcement, I started a download.
To download, I followed the links from the announcement to the download page. From there, I selected the torrent download. I was using the “vivaldi” browser, and it gave me several options with the torrent link. I chose the option to open the file. And that started the download with “ktorrent”.
I also downloaded “SHA256SUMS.desktop” and “SHA256SUMS.desktop.gpg”. Next, I checked the gpg signature with
gpg --verify SHA256SUMS.desktop.gpg SHA256SUMS.desktop
which showed that I had a good download of the checksum file. After the torrent download had completed, I checked its validity with
sha256sum -c SHA256SUMS.desktop
That reported that the downloaded iso file was ok. It also reported that some files did not exist. I ignored that. It was just that the checksum file had checksums for other isos that I had not downloaded.
Ubuntu 16.04, in several different varieties, came out last week. So I decided to give the kubuntu variant a try. I planned to install in an existing LVM. I knew, from previous experience, that this could be tricky. And, to make it more tricky, I wanted “/boot” to be inside that encrypted LVM.
It didn’t quite work out. I am successfully booting it using the grub2-efi from opensuse. I was unable to get the grub-efi from kubuntu to work.
I planned to install this to replace an experimental Tumbleweed. I had originally set that up a year ago, to test using opensuse with “/boot” part of the encrypted LVM. That test is now well past, and the opensuse bugs have been fixed. So that disk space was free for kubuntu.