Today is the release of Ubuntu 21.10, an intermediate edition with nine months of support and the first to use GNOME 40 for a desktop computer.
The Ubuntu launch cycle provides a new version of LTS (long-term support) every two years, with the next one on April 22nd in April. This means that 21.10 is a handy overview of features that may not be used until 22.04.
One of the features highlighted by Canonical is actually a Windows feature. “Windows developers will be pleased with the ready-made support for graphical applications in the Windows for Linux (WSL) subsystem, which allows users to enjoy Ubuntu desktop applications without modifications,” the press release said.
The word “developers” suggests that Canonical doesn’t expect this to be something most users will be looking for, despite the new WSL 2 status. as a store app. What is the value of this from Canonical’s point of view, given that Canonical is working specifically with Microsoft to resolve it?
“It’s all about inclusion,” product manager Rob Gibbon told Canonical. The register. “We’re just fulfilling our mission statement.” But how do Linux GUI applications benefit Windows developers who focus primarily on Linux on the server? Gibbon said that easily compiling applications distributed as a source is an advantage. “Maybe you have a scientific application that isn’t easy to run on Windows, maybe you can, but there are some significant compilation steps. With WSLg we’ve solved this problem.”
The first thing users will notice when starting the Ubuntu desktop (not within Windows) is the GNOME 40 desktop – the first of a new generation built on GTK (GNOME Toolkit) 4. GNOME 41 was released last month, but too late for Ubuntu 21.10. This brings a lot of changes, with Canonical highlighting dynamic workspaces and touchpad gestures.
There is also a 5.13 kernel, which includes KFENCE (Kernel Electric Fence), a “memory security error detector” for detecting memory errors, such as unused after use. There is also randomization of the kernel entry point to defeat some classes of privilege escalation attacks. In addition, “we disabled the non-privileged BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) by default on 21.10. Administrators can load BPF programs, but users can’t, although you can reactivate it if necessary, ”Gibbon said.
Firefox in this version is included as Snap, a Canonical packaging system that allows the same package to be used in multiple versions of Linux. “It’s consistent in every edition of Ubuntu,” Gibbon said. It’s a snap contradictedDoes Canonical get discounts from consumers? “I think the numbers speak for themselves,” Gibbon said. “There are 10 million systems that actively use Snap every day … Snap is portable in various distributions, not connected to Ubuntu. You get the benefit of application consistency and user experience in distributions and platforms and versions.”
In this edition, Gibbon said, “our focus is on developers. 21.10 is an intermediate edition. Developers can prepare for the next edition of LTS.” The things that could get their attention are the distribution of MicroK8s Kubernetes, which is convenient for both end use and laptop operation. “The MicroK8s have an additional ecosystem that is growing,” he told us.
The Linux community is more tolerant of Microsoft’s hardware diversity, with its strict system requirements for Windows 11. “Any architecture or platform to which the Linux kernel, libc, gcc, etc. is ported, and for which a port exists on Ubuntu, you can run Ubuntu, “they say System Requirements. This means the Canonical list certified hardware is more limited, involving only a few providers. ®
Expect a review of Ubuntu 21.10 next week