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Canonical to Release Latest Ubuntu Linux LTS This Week

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Canonical has announced the imminent bi-annual release of version 14.04 of the company's LTS (Long Term Support) flavor of its Ubuntu server and desktop line. Component updates in this platform refresh include the latest OpenStack 2014.1 (Icehouse) release and support for ARM 64-bit, as well as support for IBM Power Systems.

Ubuntu LTS versions are primarily focused on stabilizing the platform, limiting the number of new features, and hardening the functionality of existing features. At least that is how Canonical defines LTS version releases in its Ubuntu-LTS wiki.

However, functional support for new server and desktop hardware is fair game and in this release, Canonical announced that Ubuntu supports ARM64, x86, x64 and IBM POWER Systems.

"We are pleased to offer the first ARM 64-bit server-on-a-chip production silicon with full certification for Ubuntu 14.04  LTS, including all the relevant server workloads and tools to allow commercial hyperscale deployments on X-Gene.  The X-Gene plus Ubuntu offering means enterprises can now capture substantial TCO savings for their scale-out data centers," comments Mike Majors, VP at Applied Micro.

Choice of hardware is significant since this update includes an upgrade to Xen 4.4 and the new hypervisor will not support 32-bit only CPUs on x86 architecture. The message from Canonical is "Ensure your host is 64bit capable before upgrading."

A few of the changes coming with this latest Ubuntu server release include:

  • Puppet 3 -- This cross-platform system tool allows IT administrators to manage a system and perform tasks using code, a major version upgrade from previous Ubuntu LTS releases, and includes changes that are not compatible with Puppet 2.7.x.
  • Xen 4.4 -- As noted above, this is a significant upgrade from the previous release of the hypervisor. A note for the future is that the XM (xend) management stack will be removed in Xen version 4.5 and the default toolstack setting (/etc/default/xen) has been changed to xl. Use of Python inside of config files is no longer supported.
  • Ceph -- This is an open source distributed file system capable of managing petabytes of storage and the latest version includes efficient erasure encoding of data for cold storage, tiered storage pooling, and embedded web server functions that will be available with the FireFly version of Ceph.
  • Qemu 2.0.0 -- This machine emulator and virtualization app now supports emulation of ARM64 binaries and supports ARM64 Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) accelerated virtual machines.
  • Open vSwitch 2.0.1 -- A virtual network switch that includes improved TCP connection management, improved attack tolerance, and improved network security.
  • Libvirt 1.2.2 -- An API toolkit that allows for interactive virtualization capabilities and fully supports Ceph and Xen 4.4.
  • LXC 1.0 -- A newly released version of an app used to create an independent operating system level virtual container (called a Linux Container) environment without starting a VM. The latest release supports more secure "unpriveleged" containers that limit direct access to hardware and also includes API bindings for Python 3.0, Go, Ruby, LUA and C languages as well as SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) support.
  • Juju 1.18.1 -- This service orchestration tool for Ubuntu allows for faster deployment of services and applications.
  • strongSwan -- This is an IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) solution that is now officially supported by Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Canonical recommends users migrate in order to maintain official support.
  • MySQL -- Ubuntu 14.04 LTS continues to provide official support for MySQL 5.5 and will likely support the MySQL 5.6 release when it becomes available. Two community supported alternatives of MySQL are MariaDB 5.5, a drop in replacement for MySQL 5.5 and  Percona XtraDB Cluster 5.5, a Galera based Active/Active MySQL solution. All 3 are included with the Ubuntu release.
  • Docker -- Allows the creation of lightweight, portable, self-sufficient containers from any application and provides a way to automate software deployment. Canonical has made the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server images to Docker's upstream repository that can be accessed on Ubuntu.

For more detailed information on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, visit the Ubuntu wiki.

The Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release is scheduled for April 17.