The name of this release, Artful Aardvark, was announced via Launchpad on 21 April 2017, instead of on Shuttleworth's blog as had been the case in the past. It was released on 19 October 2017.
This was the first release of Ubuntu to use the GNOME Shell interface, and replaced X11 with the Wayland display server. In May 2017, Ken VanDine, a Canonical Software Engineer on the Ubuntu desktop team tasked with the switch to GNOME, confirmed that the intention is to ship the most current version of GNOME, with very few changes from a stock installation.
This release also dropped support for 32-bit desktop images but a 32-bit system can still be installed from the minimal ISO.
Writer J.A. Watson of ZDNet said, "I have not been much of an Ubuntu fan for a long time now, but this release includes a lot of significant changes, many of which might address some of my most serious objections about Ubuntu. So I think I should take a closer look at it than I normally do." He noted on printer configuration, "I got a notice that our wireless printer had been successfully configured. I hadn't even thought about trying to set up a printer yet, so that was a very nice surprise – and a good thing to point out to those who are still going around spouting 5+ years out of date information about how difficult it is to use printers with Linux."
Reviewer Scott Gilbertson of Ars Technica wrote, "Ubuntu 17.10 is a huge departure for Ubuntu, but one that sees the distro seemingly getting its footing back. The transition to GNOME, while not without its pitfalls for some users, is surprisingly smooth. Unity did have some features you won't find in GNOME, but Canonical has done a good job of making things familiar, if not identical. More important than individual features in 17.10, this release sees Ubuntu starting over to some degree. The long development process of Unity 8 was threatening to turn it into Godot, but now Ubuntu is free of Unity 8. Its users no longer have to wait for anything."
The first point release, 17.10.1, was released on 12 January 2018. It fixed a problem that prevented the firmware of some Lenovo computers from booting.