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Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla): What’s New

Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is finally out. Canonical Ltd released it yesterday on October 22, 2020. The Groove Gorilla is just about a few minor changes rather than being about groundbreaking features as many users might have imagined. However, the build does not have support in the long term, so is it worth it to upgrade to Groovy Gorilla?

Canonical releases new versions of Ubuntu every six months and three interim releases follow every LTS release. The minor fixes and improvements made along the way pave the way for the next LTS version.

The April 2020 release of version 20.04 also known as ‘Focal Fossa’ was the latest version before the now released Groovy Gorilla. The only changes made in the Groovy Gorilla release are minor fixes and tweaks here and there and that is it. Ubuntu 20.10 is a stable and smooth build and looks great.

ZFS Less Experimental

The procedure for installing Ubuntu 20.10 is the same as that of installing Ubuntu 20.04. The black disk-checking screen is not any different from Ubuntu 20.04.

One key feature is in the ‘Advanced Features’ dialog box where the ZPS file system is not “Experimental” anymore. As such, it does not have the word EXPERIMENTAL beside it.

Canonical is increasingly confident about the readiness and durability of implementation of the ZFS as a file system for everyday use.

After installing Ubuntu 20.10, you sign in and then you will see Groovy Gorilla. Ubuntu has positioned it in the purple hues of the Ubuntu Color palette.

Upgraded GNOME Desktop

The Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) uses GNOME 3.38.0 which is the latest version of the graphical desktop environment that the desktop Ubuntu desktop experience uses. The developers made applications look like they are part of a smooth cohesive whole.

Calendar Notifications

The calendar tool has also received an update. You can see notifications on the calendar entries at the bottom of the pane.

Shortcuts Movement in the Applications Grid

Previously, there were two views on the ‘Applications’ Grid. One was ‘Frequent’, showing the most popular applications, and “All”, that showed all applications on the system. On GNOME 3.38.0, there is a single view that is customizable.

You can drag and then reorganize the order of icons whichever way you wish. Ubuntu no longer enforces alphabetical sorting on the list of applications. Once you drag and place an icon on the grid and place it on your desired location, it will never move from that location.

Screen and resolution awareness of the grid has also received an update. It is scale sensitive and adjusts to sensible icon proportions and the grid layout in line with the screen mode and resolution of your monitor.

Dragging an icon on top of another will make a stack or a group of icons just like it happens on your regular smartphone.

Breaking a group of icons is possible by dragging an icon out of a group by opening the group and clicking and then drop the icon onto the application grid. You may occasionally need to move the icon around for around five seconds before the group closes. In the official Ubuntu 20.10 release, this might be smoother.

Settings Dialog Tweaks

The settings box has undergone renaming as follows:

  1. “Universal Access” is renamed “Access”
  2. “Screen Displays” renamed as “Displays”
  3. “Device Color profiles” renamed as “Color”.
  4. “Language and Region” renamed as “Region and Language.”

System Menu Reorganization

A ‘Restart’ option is also available on the system. The ‘Restart’ option was previously only visible once you have selected the “Power Off” option and this was counterintuitive in some way.

Software Versions

The numbers of the versions of some of the major packages are as follows.

  • Thunderbird 78.3.1
  • Firefox: 81.0.1
  • LibreOffice
  • OpenSSL 1.1.1f
  • Files 3.38.0-stable
  • Gcc: 10.2.0

The developers of Ubuntu 20.10 also did a visual revamp to some applications such as the Screenshot program that now looks like it is an integral part of the Ubuntu experience.

Easy Wi-Fi Hotspot configuration

The Wi-Fi tab in Settings enables your laptop to use as a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you can scan the QR code with a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone then you are able to connect to your hotspot.

Kernel 5.8

Ubuntu 20.10 comes with Linux kernel version There many new features in the Kernel like better support for hardware devices of recent times. The following are the improvements made to the kernel.

  1. Improvements on the Graphics driver and improvements added for Qualcomm Adreno, Intel Tiger Lake, and Radeon.
  2. AMD Energy drivers.
  3. AMD GPU Trusted Memory Zone support.
  4. Intel Tiger Lake System Agent Geyserville (SAGV) support.
  5. Improved support for ARM System on a Chip (SoC) support.
  6. Support for Intel Tiger Lake Thunderbolt 4 for Intel’s Gateway SoCs.
  7. Initial support for booting with POWER10 processors.
  8. Fixes added for the EXT4 file system.

ix)           Improvements for the Btrfs file system. Some major distributions (such as Fedora 33) are going to be defaulting to Btrfs in future releases.


For stability, we advise that you stick with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, as there are not any substantial improvements. Ubuntu is still making progress as they are preparing to provide the next LTS release by 2022.

However, if Gorilla is the first time you have used Linux, then stick to it as you will really enjoy the experience.

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