Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Released

Canonical announced that 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 most widely used Linux platform across desktop, IoT and cloud computing.
Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Canonical, states,
“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. 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 the last five years, hence making it the most stable, reliable, secure and cost-effective Linux platform for long-term, large scale deployments. This is the 6th LTS release for Ubuntu, and it marks the first time that the platform is been supported on mainframes, the world’s largest and most powerful Linux systems.
Image Source: design.ubuntu.com
The new features which have been released enable faster and simpler software delivery and operations.
Dustin Kirkland who leads platform strategy at Canonical, states,
“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 has introduced a new application format, the ‘snap’ which can easily be installed along with the traditional deb packages. These two packaging formats “live quite comfortably next to one another” and it enables Ubuntu to maintain its existing process for development and updates.
The snap format is easier to secure and even easier to produce, and it offers operational benefits for organizations managing many Ubuntu devices, which would be a more robust update and more secure application across all form factors from phone to cloud.
Creating snap is simplified for developers with the introduction of the new tools known as “snapcraft” which help to build and package applications from source and existing deb packages. Snap enables developers to deliver 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 faster iteration across all versions of Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives, as snap applications are isolated from the other systems. Users can now go on to easily install a snap without having to worry whether it will have any impact on their apps or in the system. In a similar manner, developers will now have a better handle on the update cycle as they can easily decide to bundle specific versions of the library with their app. ‘Operationally, transactional updates make deployments of snap packages more robust and reliable.’
The company states,
“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.”
One of the main features in this release is the LXD, the pure-container hypervisor which delivers 14x the density and substantially greater speed for Linux guests, in comparison to the established traditional virtualization. LXD is part of LXD 2.0, the latest release of the Linux Containers project and the basis for almost all PAAS infrastructures in production, at the moment.
Mark Baker, who leads OpenStack product management at Canonical, states,
“The combination of OpenStack and LXD creates unbeatable performance and economics for private cloud deployments.”
The company states,
“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.”
In this release the company also included support for ZFS-on-Linux, a combination of volume manager and filesystem, which enables efficient snapshots, copy-on-write cloning, and continuous integrity checking against data corruption, automatic filesystem repair, and data compression.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces support for CephFS, a distributed filesystem which provides an ideal platform for large-scale enterprise storage for cluster computing on open technology.
The company states,
“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.”