Ubuntu 22.04.2 is as predictable as an operating system can be… and that's a good thing

The latest iteration of the Ubuntu Long Term Support release has arrived. Although it might not include much in the way of a wow factor, it's got everything you need for a desktop OS.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
The default Ubuntu 22.04.2 desktop.
Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

When the latest point release of Canonical's Ubuntu desktop operating system was made available, it made me realize that this particular take on Linux (as well as the mother of all distributions… Debian) is totally antithetical to much of society.

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Let me illustrate this by way of a mobile phone metaphor. For a very long time, anyone who designed, created, and manufactured smartphones understood that every release had to have a serious "wow" factor. Without that, no one would pay attention. Why? Because society wants to be wowed, wooed, and impressed. Society is always looking for the "latest and greatest," the thing that makes the biggest splash and has the most impressive set of new features.

Those who embrace technology came to expect projects to come out with new features that would blow them away. They wanted pomp, circumstance, and cake (because who doesn't want cake?).

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For a long time, Ubuntu fell in line with such ways. I remember distinctly when Canonical unleashed the new Unity desktop. It was big and it was bold. That was the kind of change people wanted.

Or, so they thought.

The truth is, the majority of people just want their technology to work. They want to rely on the software they use, and know that their operating system will not randomly crash, lose data, or be susceptible to malicious attacks. And, more importantly, they want software that will help them be productive and creative, entertained and enlightened.

Canonical gets that and it has for some time. If you've followed the trajectory of Ubuntu desktop releases, you've probably spotted a trend -- a rather boring one. Each new release of the Ubuntu desktop bears a striking resemblance to the one before it. 

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I would go so far as to say that the last time an Ubuntu Desktop release had me twitchy with excitement was… was… well, I can't remember. 

However, with every iteration of Canonical's desktop operating system, my first general reaction is, "Well, that's safe." What I mean by that is Canonical has yet to release an instance of the Ubuntu desktop operating system that a) took too big a chance and b) failed to impress me. This has become so predictable that it never fails to remind me of the adage, "Slow and steady wins the race." The tortoise-like pace of the Ubuntu desktop evolution has gone off like a stopwatch caught in slow-mo. 

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My friends, I say that's a good thing. For years, Ubuntu desktop has been a remarkably consistent operating system. "It just works" has been apropros to this open-source operating system for as far back as I can remember. And 22.04.2 is no exception. This latest point release is as familiar as any release has been since around 16.04. That's an impressive track record.

What's in 22.04.2?

The latest desktop release from Canonical doesn't offer any in-your-face new features. In fact, it's pretty typical of a point release. In other words, it's all about bug fixes, though that doesn't mean there isn't anything new. 

However, even the newness is under the hood. For example, with 22.04.2 comes a new hardware enablement stack (HWE) with kernel 5.19, Mesa 22.2.5, libdrm 2.4.113, and GNOME 42.5.

I told you it was boring. 

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But it's not. What those updates amount to are better performance and reliability. And given how well Ubuntu 22.04 already performed, that's impressive. 

You'll also find LibreOffice and Mozilla Firefox 110. And for those who'd like to view the entire release notes of 22.04.2, you can read them on Canonical's website.

My impression of 22.04.2

To sum up my impression of Ubuntu desktop 22.04.2 can be done with a single word: predictable. That word has two meanings in this context. First off, it was very easy to predict that this point release would be mostly bug fixes and security patches (they almost always are). 

On the other hand, the latest update can be seen as a predictable operating system that you can count on to help make your desktop experience more reliable, productive, and enjoyable. No matter how deeply I dove into the OS, I couldn't find fault in it. It's Ubuntu, so it's synonymous with reliability.

Point releases are never fancy. They are as low-key as you can get with a new iteration but, at the same time, they are necessary. The days of the big, splashy release from Canonical are long since gone. Today's releases are more about familiarity, reliability, security, and ease of use, and Ubuntu has nailed those things for a very long time. Ubuntu 22.04.2 does not, in any way, disappoint. 

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If you're ready to take the plunge into the Linux waters, you cannot go wrong with Ubuntu. This latest release would be a great launching point for users of any skill level. Download an ISO image of Ubuntu desktop 22.04.2 from the official release server.

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