Ubuntu developers have confirmed that Ubuntu 17.10, the Artful Aardvark, has now reached the feature freeze stage and from now on will mostly see bug fixes rather than new features.
As the timeline goes, Ubuntu 17.10 will most likely be released in mid-October and while the work from here on will mostly be getting the OS to a stable state, there is a possibility that some new features might be added
Ubuntu 17.10 is definitely a big release considering that it will be transitioning away from Unity 7 to a modified GNOME Shell environment. Further, Ubuntu 17.10 will also be switching from the X.Org Server to Wayland and from LightDM to GDM. Chances are that the OS will be released with Linux 4.13 kernel.
As for the remaining timeline, we have opt-in beta release for participating flavors on August 31, followed by a UI freeze on September 14, the final beta release on September 28, the kernel freeze on October 5, and the anticipated official release on October 19.
Refining GNOME Shell Theme
Ubuntu developers are busy tweaking the GNOME Shell theme as well as the GDM log-in manager theme. Some of the highlights can be found via insights.ubuntu.com while more can be found via Didier Roche’s blog, the Canonical developer doing a lot of the GNOME desktop work this cycle
There’s been continued work on captive portal detection for Ubuntu 17.10, QPDF/CUPS package upgrades, and a lot of theming work happening this past week for the next Ubuntu release, which has transitioned from the Unity 7 desktop to GNOME Shell. And yes, Wayland still plans to be the default.