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Canonical unveils 6th LTS release of Ubuntu with 16.04

Canonical announced today it will release Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on 21st April, featuring the new ‘snap’ package format and LXD pure-container hypervisor. This is the latest version of the world’s most widely used Linux platform across desktop, IoT and cloud computing.

“The leading cloud-based operations and the most advanced robotics run largely on Ubuntu, and this new release is the basis for the next wave of their innovation,” said Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Canonical. “We are proud to serve the needs of the enterprise, and research, and millions of personal and non-profit users, with one single shared free software platform.”

An Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release is supported and maintained by Canonical for five years, making it the most stable, reliable, secure and cost-effective Linux platform for long-term, large-scale deployments. This is the 6th such LTS release for Ubuntu, and marks the first time that the platform is supported on mainframes, the world’s largest and most powerful Linux systems.

New features in this release enable faster and simpler software delivery and operations. “The addition of ‘snaps’ for faster and simpler updates, and the LXD container hypervisor for ultra-fast and ultra-dense cloud computing, demonstrate a commitment to customer needs that sets Ubuntu apart as the platform for innovation and scale,” said Dustin Kirkland who leads platform strategy at Canonical.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS adds new ‘snap’ application package format, enabling further convergence across IOT, mobile and desktop

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces a new application format, the ‘snap,’ which can be installed alongside traditional deb packages. These two packaging formats live quite comfortably next to one another and enable Ubuntu to maintain its existing processes for development and updates.

The ‘snap,’ format is much easier to secure and much easier to produce, and offers operational benefits for organisations managing many Ubuntu devices, which will bring more robust updates and more secure applications across all form factors from phone to cloud.

Creating ‘snaps’ is simplified for developers with the introduction of a new tool called ‘snapcraft’ to easily build and package applications from source and existing deb packages. ‘Snaps’ enable developers to deliver much newer versions of apps to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS over the life of the platform, solving a long-standing challenge with free platforms and enabling users to stay on a stable base for longer while enjoying newer applications.

The security mechanisms in ‘snap’ packages allow for much faster iteration across all versions of Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives, as ‘snap’ applications are isolated from the rest of the system. Users can install a ‘snap’ without having to worry whether it will have an impact on their other apps or their system. Similarly, developers have a much better handle on the update cycle as they can decide to bundle specific versions of a library with their app. Operationally, transactional updates make deployments of ‘snap’ packages more robust and reliable.

‘Snaps’ mark an important milestone in Canonical’s efforts to create a converged Ubuntu across IOT, mobile and desktop. ‘Snaps’ originate from the world of IOT and ‘snappy’ Ubuntu Core, marking the convergence of Ubuntu’s desktop and IOT efforts, and building on the introduction earlier this year of Ubuntu’s first tablet, which can be turned into a full PC. Supporting ‘snap’ packages on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS unifies the experience for Ubuntu developers, whether they are creating software for PC, Server, Mobile, and IoT Devices.

A World Class Cloud and Container Computing Platform

A key new feature in this release is LXD, the pure-container hypervisor that delivers 14x the density and substantially greater speed for Linux guests compared to established traditional virtualisation. LXD is part of LXC 2.0, the latest release of the Linux Containers project and the basis for almost all PAAS infrastructures in production today. Canonical has led LXC development for several years, with contributions to LXC 2.0 coming from more than 80 companies.

In the latest OpenStack Foundation survey, Ubuntu maintained its number one position as OpenStack platform of choice among the OpenStack user forum for public and private cloud deployments.

“The combination of OpenStack and LXD creates unbeatable performance and economics for private cloud deployments,” said Mark Baker, who leads OpenStack product management at Canonical.

Using LXD as a hypervisor for OpenStack enables greater density of workloads and has lower latency than any other cloud infrastructure in the market today. This offers significant benefits for companies doing time-sensitive work on cloud infrastructure, such as telco network-function virtualisation, real-time analytics of financial transactions, or media transcoding and streaming. It also provides significant improvements to the cost of infrastructure for organisations with large portfolios of idle guest workloads.

Also included in this release is support for ZFS-on-Linux, a combination of a volume manager and filesystem which enables efficient snapshots, copy-on-write cloning, continuous integrity checking against data corruption, automatic filesystem repair, and data compression. ZFS-on-Linux is a mature filesystem based on work published by Sun Microsystems under a free software license nearly a decade ago, and which is widely used in cloud and container operations on Ubuntu.

Continuing the storage theme, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces support for CephFS, a distributed filesystem that provides an ideal platform for large-scale enterprise storage for cluster computing on open technology.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS creates a common platform for cloud and container computing across an incredible range of devices, from embedded ARM devices like the RaspberryPi, to the standard 32-bit and 64-bit Intel/AMD servers, and up to the most powerful IBM Z, LinuxONE and POWER8 systems.

Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016 10:30 AM by David Marshall
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