Canonical has made available the latest release of Ubuntu, version 17.04 codenamed Zesty Zapus, the 26th of the distribution, which has been around since 2004. With it being non-LTS (Long-Term Support), 17.04 will only be supported for nine months. As of Ubuntu 17.04, the distribution is still using the Unity desktop despite announcing a switch to GNOME as the default desktop environment.
Commenting on the new version, which includes updates to cloud components, Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical's founder said:
The breadth and pace of open source innovation has made it the center of gravity in technology today, and the Ubuntu community has once again delivered the most reliable way to consume that innovation. While containers are the name of the game in cloud today, I would also highlight the speed at which snaps are enabling developers to deliver the very best bits to Linux machines on Ubuntu and other distributions, from the desktop to the cloud and beyond, at the edge of computing.
There are some features that users might notice in this release, the first of which is the inclusion of swap files. New installs of Ubuntu 17.04 no longer require a swap partition that's at least twice the size of RAM, instead, Ubuntu 17.04 uses a swap file by default and uses less space that swap partitions. This change was prompted by the larger amounts of RAM available in computers today.
The release ships with Linux Kernel 4.10, which has support for AMD Ryzen and Intel Kaby Lake systems. Gamers will also notice benefits from the inclusion of MESA 17.0.2 and X.Org Server 1.19.2.
As for bundled applications, 17.04's GNOME apps have been bumped to GNOME 3.24, LibreOffice has been bumped to 5.3 (featuring a ribbon interface), with Firefox and Thunderbird being on version 52 and 45 respectively. Despite GNOME apps being updated, the Nautilus file manager and Terminal emulator have remained on version 3.20.
You can download Ubuntu 17.04 from the Ubuntu website, or upgrade using the software updater if you're using 16.10. Those on Ubuntu 16.04 will probably want to stay on the release until 18.04 LTS is out next year, as it'll be more stable and is supported for five years.