1. You Get to Try Out Unity 8
Ubuntu 16.10 offers a sneak peak at the current state of Unity 8. You can select the preview as an alternate session when signing in. Just don’t expect to spend much time there. Unity 8 currently only handles basic web browsing and little else. Here’s a peak provided by OMG! Ubuntu!.
2. Updated GNOME Apps
Canonical does make changes to these programs in order for them to properly integrate with the Unity desktop. As a result, this software lags behind the versions you see in other distros.
Now all GNOME applications are at least version 3.20.
3. Newer Software
Every Ubuntu release comes with newer versions of your favorite applications. When you boot up Yakkety Yak for the first time, Mozilla Firefox 49 will be your gateway to the web. Thunderbird 45 will handle your mail. LibreOffice 5.2.2 will be the office suite for your next assignment.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Of course the apps are newer, why is that worthy of a mention?” Simple — this will probably be the single biggest reason many people embrace 16.10. Long-Term Support releases like 16.04 offer more stability and a longer shelf life, but application updates are slow to arrive, if ever. Making the transition to Yakkety Yak will keep your experience feeling more fresh.
4. Linux Kernel 4.8
Ubuntu 16.10 comes with the latest Linux kernel, 4.8. Why should you care? A big draw of kernel updates is expanded support for more devices and accessories. For example, this kernel supports the Microsoft Surface 3’s touchscreen.
The kernel has gained support for mode-setting on new NVIDIA Pascal cards using the Nouveau driver. Plus AMD GPU owners can now overclock using the free AMDGPU driver.
5. Newer Versions of Other Desktop Environments
Unity may not see much love these days, but it’s not the only way to enjoy Ubuntu. Kubuntu has taken KDE from version 5.5 to 5.7. Ubuntu GNOME gives you those core GNOME apps without Canonical’s changes. Ubuntu Mate has leapt from 1.12 to 1.16.
Not every flavor has an updated desktop environment. Xubuntu still runs XFCE 4.4. Not much has changed with Lubuntu either. But these alternative flavors remain an important part of the Ubuntu ecosystem, and you might find them more appealing than the core experience.