Canonical unveils 6th LTS release of Ubuntu with 16.04

  • Introduces “snaps” for new robust, secure app format
  • Introduces LXD pure-container hypervisor with OpenStack Mitaka
  • Supports IBM Z and LinuxONE systems with flat pricing
  • Steps towards converged Ubuntu across IOT, Phone, Desktop and Server
  • Introduces ZFS and CephFS for large-scale cloud storage

LONDON 20th April 2016: Canonical announced today 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 world’s most widely used Linux platform across desktop, IoT and cloud computing.

“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” said Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Canonical. “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 five years, making it the most stable, reliable, secure and cost-effective Linux platform for long-term, large-scale deployments. This is the 6th such LTS release for Ubuntu, and marks the first time that the platform is supported on mainframes, the world’s largest and most powerful Linux systems.

New features in this release enable faster and simpler software delivery and operations. “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 adds new “snap” application package format, enabling further convergence across IOT, mobile and desktop

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces a new application format, the ‘snap’, which can be installed alongside traditional deb packages. These two packaging formats live quite comfortably next to one another and enable Ubuntu to maintain its existing processes for development and updates.

The snap format is much easier to secure and much easier to produce, and offers operational benefits for organisations managing many Ubuntu devices, which will bring more robust updates and more secure applications across all form factors from phone to cloud.

Creating snaps is simplified for developers with the introduction of a new tool called “snapcraft” to easily build and package applications from source and existing deb packages. Snaps enable developers to deliver much 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 for much faster iteration across all versions of Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives, as snap applications are isolated from the rest of the system. Users can install a snap without having to worry whether it will have an impact on their other apps or their system. Similarly, developers have a much better handle on the update cycle as they can decide to bundle specific versions of a library with their app. Operationally, transactional updates make deployments of snap packages more robust and reliable.

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.

A world class cloud and container computing platform

A key new feature in this release is LXD, the pure-container hypervisor that delivers 14x the density and substantially greater speed for Linux guests compared to established traditional virtualisation. LXD is part of LXC 2.0, the latest release of the Linux Containers project and the basis for almost all PAAS infrastructures in production today. Canonical has led LXC development for several years, with contributions to LXC 2.0 coming from more than 80 companies.

In the latest OpenStack Foundation survey, Ubuntu maintained its number one position as OpenStack platform of choice among the OpenStack user forum for public and private cloud deployments.

“The combination of OpenStack and LXD creates unbeatable performance and economics for private cloud deployments” said Mark Baker, who leads OpenStack product management at Canonical.

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.

Also included in this release is support for ZFS-on-Linux, a combination of a volume manager and filesystem which enables efficient snapshots, copy-on-write cloning, continuous integrity checking against data corruption, automatic filesystem repair, and data compression. ZFS-on-Linux is a mature filesystem based on work published by Sun Microsystems under a free software license nearly a decade ago, and which is widely used in cloud and container operations on Ubuntu.

Continuing the storage theme, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduces support for CephFS, a distributed filesystem that provides an ideal platform for large-scale enterprise storage for cluster computing on open technology.

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.

Comments from customers and partners

Mozilla

“We strive to offer users a great experience and make Firefox available across many platforms, devices and operating systems. We are proud to be the default browser and partner of choice for Ubuntu. Thanks to the introduction of snap into Ubuntu, we are able to continually optimize Firefox, providing users the most up-to-date features,” said Nick Nguyen, Vice President of Product, Firefox at Mozilla.

Sky

“The Long Term support model Canonical offers with Ubuntu 16.04 and Mitaka really fits in with the needs of Sky as we continue to build out our Ubuntu OpenStack Cloud to deliver the most innovative media services available today.” said Matt Smith, Cloud Platforms Manager,Sky. “We can’t wait to start testing and deploying 16.04 with ZFS and LXD as we are confident it will help us transform our business.”

IBM

“As more enterprises adopt hybrid cloud, they are looking for new platforms that run Linux with efficiency and flexibility,” said Ross A. Mauri, general manager, IBM z Systems and LinuxONE. “With the release of Ubuntu 16.04, IBM will be able to offer our LinuxONE, z Systems and Power Systems clients a simple, affordable high-performance Linux distribution that will better equip them to take advantage of hybrid cloud.”

Microsoft

“Our relationship with Canonical showcases our deep commitment to customer choice and flexibility for cloud workloads. With Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, customers can take advantage of the powerful combination of Canonical’s latest release of Ubuntu with Microsoft Azure,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise division.

Nexenta

“Canonical’s Ubuntu 16.04 LTS moves Open Software-Defined Storage (OpenSDS) into the mainstream of cloud computing by the inclusion of ZFS on Linux,” said Tarkan Maner, CEO & Chairman at Nexenta. “In addition, with the integration of NexentaEdge with Juju, we are providing customers with the advanced and enterprise-ready scale-up and scale-out solutions, service and support they need for effective private cloud storage solutions for businesses using Ubuntu.”

Cavium

“Canonical’s release of Ubuntu 16.04 is a major milestone for the ARMv8 server market delivering support for key data center applications, cloud infrastructure with OpenStack and optimized deployment tools that are critical to large scale server installations,” said Larry Wikelius, Vice President Software Ecosystem and Solutions Group at Cavium. “With Ubuntu certification on ThunderX®, Cavium’s ARMv8 workload optimized processor, Cavium’s customers will benefit from Canonical’s well established software packaging, upgrade and support expertise. Ubuntu 16.04 provides optimized open source applications for end users in areas that include scale out storage, data analytics and web serving which fully utilize ThunderX features such as 48 cores, dual socket configurations, hardware accelerators, and integrated I/O.”

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