Linux and Ubuntu, in particular, have been on the up and up these past few years. Today marks the release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, a major milestone in the releases for this massively favoured Linux distribution.
LTS stands for Long Term Support in the release cycle world of software development. It marks a version that is usually safe to use and will be supported for a long time to come. You could almost equate it to a big release in the Windows (Service Packs/Red stone releases) or MacOS world (High Sierra/Mojave/Catalina etc.)
LTS releases come around every 2 years or so with the intention of a long supported development cycle that will ensure your software gets updates for the next 5 years (at least). You can read more about Ubuntu’s release history here.
While there is a lot to go through, some of the highlights I found interesting include:
- New graphical boot splash (integrates with the system BIOS logo).
- Refreshed theme.
- Developer-centric improvements
- Python3 is now the default (RIP Python 2)
- PHP 7.4 support out the door
- Ruby 2.7
- Ruby on Rails 5.2.3
- Apache, TLSv1.3, client cert auth
- OpenSSH improvements
- PostgreSQL 12
- Network configuration / management improvements
- Snap store
- The Snap Store (snap-store) replaces ubuntu-software as the default tool for finding and installing packages and snaps.
- Linux kernel 5.4
- Boot speed improvements.
- Significant power-saving improvements.
- Numerous USB 3.2 and Type-C improvements.
- Support for raspberry pi (Pi 2B, Pi 3B, Pi 3A+, Pi 3B+, CM3, CM3+, Pi 4B)
- Includes support for new hardware including Intel Comet Lake CPUs and initial Tiger Lake platforms, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 & 855 SoCs, AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs, Arcturus and Renoir APUs along with Navi 12 + Arcturus power features.
- Support for AMD Rome CPUs, Radeon RX Vega M and Navi GPUs, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and other ARM SoCs and Intel Cannon Lake platforms.
- Support has been added for the exFAT filesystem
- Built-in support for the Wireguard VPN.
- ZFS 0.8.3 file system
- Big improvements to the already snappy ZFS file system such as hardware-accelerated Native Encryption and performance improvements.
I personally found the previous Ubuntu LTS release (18.04) to be quite solid and but this release looks to take things to the next level in exciting new ways.
Why Ubuntu? Why now?
Ubuntu is a well established, well recognized name in the Linux community. It’s well used, well documented and is extremely stable and easy to use without compromising on more advanced features one may require.
Ubuntu is perfect for the following groups of people; open-source developers and web developers, people looking to use a free, solid operating system alternative to Windows, elderly who pretty much just want to use the internet to browse, schools looking to teach students about real-world development challenges/computers, open-source enthusiasts, people who are donating older hardware and want a non-complicated operating system, business people and over the past few years, even gamers (Steam now has over 6000+ Linux games).
The beauty of Ubuntu is that it runs well on high-end hardware, but runs extremely well on older hardware, to the point where it can breathe new life into old machines. There is a reason developers love and enjoy Ubuntu, it’s fast, stable, to the point and extremely customizable to please even the most hardcore of developers.
Uses for Ubuntu
- Use is as a Kodi/Plex media streaming server.
- Give back by running a Folding@Home server.
- Use it as a web development server to build/test/run web applications or if you are looking to learn web development, Python development or server management.
- As it’s super user-friendly, install it on your parents/grandparents machines and say goodbye to viruses/malware for the most part.
- Software compatibility includes; Chrome, VLC, Skype, Spotify, GIMP, Inkscape, Dropbox, Steam, Visual Studio Code as well as a host of other software.
- Hassle-free – perfect for education campuses, schools, learning centres or donated hardware looking for a free operating system.
Ubuntu installable image files can be downloaded from here.