Ubuntu 16.04.1 is out with improvements to software installation and low-graphics mode

Canonical will support Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with updates until 2020.

Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus installer splash image
Credit: Ubuntu

Canonical just released Ubuntu 16.04.1, the first point release in the Ubuntu 16.04 “Xenial Xerus” series. All the changes made to Ubuntu 16.04 have been combined into a new installer image, which you can now download.

What’s a point release?

If you’re already using Ubuntu 16.04, you don’t need to do anything special to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04.1. Just install the updates available in the Update Manager application and your system will be upgraded to the latest software.

Point releases like this one are primarily useful for new installs. They bundle together the latest security updates, bug fixes, and other improvements. If you have an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS live CD or live USB drive you use, you’ll want to replace it with Ubuntu 16.04.1 to ensure you have the latest security updates.

Some point releases include new “hardware enablement stacks”—new versions of the Linux kernel and graphical X server backported from less stable Ubuntu releases to make Ubuntu work better on new hardware. This one doesn’t, but Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, which will be released in February 2017, will.

What’s new since 16.04

Aside from a large number of important security patches and bug fixes, Canonical has made some notable changes to the Ubuntu 16.04 desktop. These changes arrived in updates, so you’ll already have them if you’ve been using Ubuntu 16.04 and keeping it updated.

Ubuntu 16.04’s new Software installation application, based on GNOME Software, has seen some improvements. It now allows you to search for and install Snap packages in the graphical interface. It was also updated to allow installation of third-party .deb packages, like the ones you can download to install Steam, Google Chrome, and Skype.

The Unity desktop has seen some tweaks, and it uses less fancy animations in “low graphics mode.” If you’re running Ubuntu 16.04 in a virtual machine or on an older computer without an accelerated 3D graphics driver, Unity will now be easier on your hardware and perform better.

For more detailed technical information, you can consult the list of release notes and security notices on Ubuntu’s website. The Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS release includes all patches for security notices up to and including July 19. Newer patches can be downloaded from the Update Manager after you install it.

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