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Ubuntu Goes Long Term

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Introduction

Yesterday, Canonical released Jammy Jellyfish otherwise known as Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS. LTS stands for Long Term Release which means this release will receive bug and security fixes for at least the next five years. Ubuntu releases a new version every 6 months, but only releases an LTS version every two years. The LTS version uses more conservative software versions and is generally considered more stable than the other bi-yearly releases. This is the version usually used in data centers to run web servers to ensure they are as reliable as possible.

New Software

Ubuntu 21.10 incorporated version 5.13 of the Linux kernel, this version goes to Linux kernel 5.15 which is a corresponding LTS from the Linux Kernel Organization. The newest released Linux kernel is 5.17, but this isn’t a LTS version and hasn’t received as much testing as 5.15. Similarly all the other software has been updated to newer stable versions such as the Gnome desktop which is now at version 42. The main advantage of Gnome 42 is something called triple buffering which greatly improves performance over previous versions. Similarly all the bundled or easily added software development tools are at newer versions.

The Ubuntu update servers will install the supported and recommended versions for this release, however there is nothing to stop you going to an individual piece of software’s website, downloading and installing their latest release. For instance, today the version of LibreOffice is the latest version, but if LibreOffice releases a newer version and Ubuntu is slow to pick it up, you can install it directly. Although Ubuntu includes an App Store, though all the apps are free, to make installation easier, there is nothing forcing you to use this and you can install anything you wish using the usual Linux mechanisms to do so.

Limited Cross Platform

Linux is cross platform, however Ubuntu only supports Intel/AMD in 64-bits and an ARM version for the Raspberry Pi. Sadly, they discontinued providing 32-bit builds, eliminating some older hardware or running slower due to higher memory requirements. They also don’t provide builds for other hardware architectures like RISC-V, MIPS, PowerPC, etc. Since it’s open source you can always build your own version, but that is a lot of trouble and there are plenty of other distributions that provide builds for these alternative hardware architectures. Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux as are many of these other releases, so they will be familiar to any Ubuntu user. Some hardware vendors will create a special Ubuntu build for their chips or boards, the only problem being that they don’t always update them very often (yes nVidia, I mean you).

Other Stuff

One noticeable change is that the desktop appearance is much easier to customize and there are dark mode equivalents of all items.

Ubuntu has been working hard to fit Linux into corporate environments and a lot of effort has gone into improvements in integrations with Microsoft technologies like Active Directory and NTFS. This is great for corporate users, but not exciting for us hobbyists.

Summary

If you are using the last LTS version, namely 20.04 then this will be quite a good upgrade with improvements everywhere. If you are upgrading from the last non-LTS version, namely 21.10 then the improvements won’t be so noticeable. Today, the upgrade tool hasn’t been released, you need to install a clean new image, but that should be appearing in the next few weeks.

One reason I like Linux is because it stays true to being an operating system that stays out of your way and allows you to easily run applications where the application is the important part, not the operating system. Both Windows and MacOS operating systems have become too intrusive with operating system features getting in the way, rather than helping you be productive. Linux is much cleaner, it doesn’t pop up advertisements and best of all it’s free.

So far my experience with Jammy Jellyfish has all been positive and this looks to be another great release from Ubuntu.

Written by smist08

April 22, 2022 at 11:02 am

Posted in Business, linux

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The Newest Ubuntu Linux 21.10 Impish Indri

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Introduction

When you run the Linux operating system, you aren’t running a single project. The core of Linux is the Linux Kernel which is the core of the operating system that handles memory management, multi-tasking, controlling hardware devices and providing useful services for application programs. A Linux distribution takes the Linux kernel and bundles with it other open source projects including applications, development tools, utilities and a graphical user interface. The Linux distribution provides an installer along with an update mechanism to keep everything up to date. Most distributions provide everything already compiled, so you don’t need to build the whole operating system from the open source code.

Ubuntu Linux is a popular Linux distribution that releases a new version every six months. If you’ve run Linux, you know that everything is updated fairly regularly, so what are these six month releases about? The continuous updates tend to be minor point releases with security and bug fixes. The six month releases include newer full version releases. This is where a newer version of the Linux kernel is included along with newer versions of all the applications and desktop GUI interface.

Ubuntu Linux is derived from the Debian Linux distribution. All these distributions are open source, so anyone can take a distribution, modify it and release it as a new distribution. Debian Linux is where the apt package management system originates, which is used for building, installing and updating software. Many distributions are based on this and then several distributions like Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Pop!_OS and Zorin OS are based on Ubuntu Linux.

Each Ubuntu version is named after an animal, in this case the Indri Lemur from Madagascar. We last reviewed the Groovy Gorilla release and the previous release was Hirsute Hippo. Notice how the alphabetic letter increases by one with each release.

New Linux Kernel

Linus Torvalds releases a new Linux Kernel every two to three months. These six month releases provide an opportunity to go to a newer kernel release. The Linux kernel 5.14 just released at the beginning of October which was a bit too new for this release, so the included Linux kernel is 5.13. This is still quite a new kernel and a couple versions higher than the 5.11 in the 21.04 release.

The main thing this gives you is new hardware support. Hardware vendors are always checking in new updates to better support their newest wares. Often older kernels will work with newer hardware, but won’t take advantage of any of the newer features until the support is added to the kernel. Other work in the kernel includes performance improvements and security improvements. Sadly, as security problems have been discovered in newer CPU chips, the fixes have been hurting performance, since some of the more advanced features can’t be used. This has been offsetting other work to improve code performance including using higher compiler optimization levels.

Gnome 4.0

Gnome is the window manager most people using Ubuntu use. You can switch to other Window managers like KDE or Xfce. The improvements to Gnome are subtle but they make the Linux experience a bit better with each release. There is nothing extraordinary about this update, everything works as before. However some of the features make better use of the screen real estate and tasks get a little more intuitive and easy.

Installation and Updates

Linux has a reputation for being hard to install. This is partly because no one ever installs Windows or MacOS, they come with the computer and most people never see the installation experience. There are a few computer manufacturers that ship Linux pre-installed such as Dell and System76; however, most Linux users start by installing Linux over something else.

The various Linux vendors have been working hard to make the installation process as painless as possible. Ubuntu has alway led in this regard and with this release is a newer installer that allows you to get up and running with fewer questions. Most settings are auto-detected and I found the installation painless.

Linux is very good at supporting hardware and chances are you can install this newest release on hardware long out of support from Windows or MacOS. Chances are if you install Ubuntu over Windows on an older computer, it will end up running far faster than you expect.

Lots of Extras

Linux distributions come with a lot of applications for free, including LibreOffice which has been updated to the newest 7.2 release. Of course you can install new versions of applications yourself, but most people don’t and just follow what the distribution gives them. A lot of times the main changes people notice are in the applications.

Not a Long Term Release

This release of Ubuntu isn’t a long term release, meaning it will only be supported for 9 months, after which you are expected to upgrade. You don’t need to upgrade and can use this version forever, you just can’t get direct support from Ubuntu and they won’t keep releasing bug fixes and security patches.

Ubuntu releases a long term release every two years. The next release in April, 2022 will be a long term release which will be supported for at least five years. Many people only run the long term releases as these are perceived as more stable and there is no pressure to upgrade. Personally, I like the half year releases and upgrade to them whether they are long term or not. I like running the newest releases and have found these Ubuntu releases to be quite stable.

Summary

Ubuntu is a great release and its release is noteworthy as many other distributions are based on it. I’ve always liked Ubuntu and find it does the jobs I need doing. I’m a software developer, so easily running development tools and libraries like for machine learning is important to me and I find these are usually supported in Ubuntu first, often before Windows, Mac OS and other Linux distributions.

If you are running mission critical server applications, then sticking to the latest long term release is the correct thing to do, but for personnel use, I recommend staying up to date with the latest half yearly release.

Written by smist08

October 23, 2021 at 1:58 pm

Posted in linux

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