Continuing the gradual improvements towards the next LTS (Long Term Support) release, Ubuntu 21.04 is officially out now to bring some of the latest enhancements to the popular Linux distribution.
Between each LTS release, Canonical puts out one of these production-ready interim releases every six months with all the latest work. The current LTS is Ubuntu 20.04 supported until April 2025 with the next being Ubuntu 22.04 due April 2022. With the Ubuntu 21.04 release today it will provide at least 9 months of updates.
On the desktop the biggest change is probably that it uses Wayland by default which Canonical say is a "significant leap forward in security". Quite a few application have been ported already, while others will be run through XWayland. Although for NVIDIA users, right now you're likely stuck with Xorg until NVIDIA put out their upcoming newer drivers with work merged ready.
Some of the highlights include:
- An enterprise partnership with Microsoft, to bring native Microsoft Active Directory integration with the support for Microsoft SQL server, deployed on-prem or through the Azure Marketplace
- An Active Directory, to help developers manage workstations through configure system settings, directly from an AD domain controller
- A smoother graphics experience and better fractional scaling with Wayland by default – Firefox, OBS Studio and others are built with Electron and Flutter to take advantage of Wayland automatically
- A community maintained dark theme, Yaru, with accessibility improvements in navigation and new file icons
In other recent Ubuntu news, Canonical recently announced that the Community Team has been somewhat revived to directly serve the community with these tasks going forwards:
- Increase the number of contributors and foster future community leadership
- Create a more personable, positive, and supportive community
- Create a more effective community, where people are empowered to make things happen
- Increase collaboration between Canonical employees and volunteers in the community
Their initial plans for the group include "scheduling community office hours (with occasional special guests from the community and other Canonical teams), supporting regular engagement days (e.g. Testing and Bug Days), collaborating on a community roadmap, and advocating for increased community engagement across Canonical".
Tomorrow, April 23, the Ubuntu Desktop Team will also be doing an AMA (ask me anything) with team members and the community at 3PM UTC. You can join in on the Ubuntu OnAir YouTube.