Ubuntu Had A Great Year In Switching To Wayland, Continued Commercial Success
Ubuntu and parent company Canonical had another great year not only on the Linux desktop but continuing its commercial successes around the server, cloud, and IoT sectors too. Ubuntu 21.04 and 21.10 delivered new features across all fronts this year and developers are now busy preparing for the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release next spring.
Ubuntu 21.04 this past spring brought Wayland by default on the desktop as an exciting milestone and is now in great shape ahead of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. Canonical has continued with contributions to GNOME especially around performance for improving its default desktop, they continue investing in Mir for IoT and other commercial use-cases, and this year showed them continuing to invest in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) with lots of potential there moving forward. Ubuntu has found its way onto smart exercise mirrors and many other devices.
In 2021 they still continued pushing Snaps as their alternative to Flatpaks, they continue heavily working on Flutter as their preferred UI toolkit moving forward, and they have also still been working on their new desktop installer. Seeing less activity this year has been around Ubuntu's OpenZFS file-system support that at least from an outside observer perspective their development efforts there have dramatically slowed down and not even referencing it as much in public channels.
With Canonical turning a profit for their past fiscal year and back above 500 employees, the financial health of the organization continues improving ahead of a possible IPO in the years to come.
For 2021 the most popular Ubuntu articles on Phoronix included the following, ignoring all the Ubuntu benchmark articles:
Canonical Has Been Weathering The Pandemic Well: Turned A Profit, Back Above 500 Employees
Thanks to Canonical's distributed workforce with most of their employees working from home even pre-pandemic and the booming Linux ecosystem, the Ubuntu maker performed very well over 2020 and even grew its headcount back above 500 employees and managed to swing from a loss in 2019 to a profit in 2020.
Ubuntu 21.04 Will Try To Use Wayland By Default
Ubuntu is going to be trying to switch over to using Wayland by default for the current Ubuntu 21.04 cycle to allow sufficient time for widespread testing and evaluation ahead of next year's Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release.
Ubuntu 21.10 Released With GNOME 40 Desktop, Many Underlying Improvements
Ubuntu 21.10 "Impish Indri" is now officially available as the latest six-month update to Ubuntu Linux and also serving as the last release prior to the next long-term support cycle, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.
Ubuntu 21.04 Released With Wayland By Default, New Dark Theme
Ubuntu 21.04 "Hirsute Hippo" is now available.
Trying Out Ubuntu's New Flutter+Curtin-Powered Desktop Installer Was Disappointing
An effort going on for a while at Canonical has been to develop a new desktop installer for Ubuntu. With the recent Ubuntu 21.10 release they are still using their classic Ubiquity installer by default but have published a new preview build of Ubuntu 21.10 with their new desktop installer option. Here is a look at Ubuntu's forthcoming new installer.
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Release Schedule Published
While Ubuntu 21.10 isn't being released for another two months, the release schedule for Ubuntu 22.04 has been published that is rather notable in being the next bi-annual long-term support (LTS) release.
The Work Ahead For Ubuntu 21.04 To Switch To Wayland By Default
Last month was the delightful news that Ubuntu 21.04 is aiming to use Wayland by default for non-NVIDIA systems on the GNOME desktop rather than the X.Org session. While there is two months to go until the Ubuntu 21.04 release, there still is more work ahead in making that shift a reality.
Ubuntu 21.10 Likely Sticking To The GNOME 40 Desktop
While Ubuntu normally ships with the very latest GNOME desktop version issued just before release time, with Ubuntu 21.04 they stuck to GNOME 3.38 rather than punting early to GNOME 40. In the Ubuntu 21.10 development packages they since migrated to GNOME 40 but now it looks like they will be sticking to that and not pulling ahead to the near-final GNOME 41.
Ubuntu 21.04 Beta Released For This Linux 5.11 Powered Update With Wayland By Default
The beta of Ubuntu as well as its various flavors/derivatives is out ahead of the official "Hirsute Hippo" launch later this month.
Canonical + DFI Pair Up For An "Industrial Pi" Powered By AMD & Ubuntu
Many will recall DFI motherboards from close to two decades ago for their wildly colored "LANParty" motherboards but in recent years the company has been focusing on IoT and industrial hardware where, of course, Linux has much relevance. DFI and Canonical today announced an AMD-powered Ubuntu-loaded "industrial Pi" single board computer.
Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS Released With New HWE Stack For Better Hardware/Graphics
The second point release to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is now officially released. Notable with Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS is the new hardware enablement (HWE) stack that brings the Linux kernel, Mesa, and related components from Ubuntu 20.10, which means better hardware support that tends to be most notable around better open-source graphics support.
Ubuntu Rethinking Its Initramfs Compression Strategy
While Ubuntu switched from LZ4 to Zstd for compressing its initramfs, they now are finding they were too aggressive in defaulting to Zstd with the highest compression level of 19. Due to speed and memory consumption concerns, they are looking at lowering their Zstd compression level.
Ubuntu 21.04 To Stick With GNOME 3.38 Desktop
While Ubuntu normally ships with the latest GNOME desktop as of release time, April's release of Ubuntu 21.04 will not be shipping with GNOME 40 but sticking to GNOME 3.38.
Canonical Releases "Ubuntu on Windows Community Preview"
Canonical today announced the release of the "Ubuntu on Windows Community Preview" as a specialized build of Ubuntu catering to Microsoft's WSL2.
Ubuntu 21.04 To Turn On LTO Optimizations For Its Packages
On top of aiming to use Wayland by default, another high profile change being worked on for this spring's release of Ubuntu 21.04 is using link-time optimizations (LTO) for all 64-bit package builds.
Ubuntu 21.04 Moves Ahead With Enabling LTO Optimizations For Greater Performance
Ubuntu 21.04 is moving ahead with plans to enable compiler link-time optimizations (LTO) by default for package builds in the name of greater performance.
Canonical Continues To Talk Up Google's Flutter UI Toolkit
Recently Ubuntu maker Canonical committed to using Google's Flutter user-interface toolkit as its "default choice" for their mobile and desktop applications moving forward. There is now an Ubuntu Blog post further detailing their interests in Flutter.
Proof-Of-Concept Work Brings systemd To Ubuntu WSL
Currently when running Linux distributions within Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), systemd isn't used but that could soon be changing at least for Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 21.04 Will Finally Stop Making New Home Directories World-Readable
Ubuntu 21.04 will do away with the existing practice on Ubuntu Linux systems of making new user home directories world-readable.
Ubuntu Developers Figuring Out Dual-Boot Changes Ahead Of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
Due to changes with the upstream GRUB 2.06 bootloader, Ubuntu developers are figuring out how they are going to be managing dual-boot/multi-boot scenarios moving forward with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.