Canonical delivers Ubuntu 21.10 release with cloud-native features – SiliconANGLE News

Canonical Ltd. today announced a major update to the Ubuntu Linux operating system, with improvements that beef up security, enable cloud-native application development and enhance artificial intelligence and machine learning innovation.

The Ubuntu operating system is one of the most popular versions of the Linux operating system. It has a big presence in the enterprise, where it’s commonly used to run virtual machines, servers and cloud computing services, as well as personal devices and robots.

Many of the new features in the Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri release give a nod to its popularity with application developers and are designed to make their lives much easier. For instance, the release adds support for the PHP 8 programming language and GNU Compiler Collection 11 that includes front ends for the C, C++, Objective-C, Fortran, Ada, Go and D languages, as well as their libraries. Static analysis is also now supported, in a move that Canonical says will improve developer’s security awareness in low-level programming.

Another new addition is Gnome 40. Gnome is a free and open-source desktop environment, and the latest version adds dynamic workspaces and touchpad gestures to boost productivity for busy developers. Also on the developer front, the release adds the newest Firefox browser snap created by Mozilla Corp., which helps to ensure users will also have the latest supported version of the browser available on multiple versions of Ubuntu.

Meanwhile, the Windows Subsystem for Linux — a compatibility layer for running Linux programs natively on Windows – now supports graphical applications out-of-the-box, so Windows developers will be able to run Ubuntu desktop apps without modification.

Another major focus area for Canonical with this release is on ease of installation. The objective is to make Ubuntu a truly cloud-native platform that can run in any environment, cloud or device.

To do this, developers generally like to install software from containerized images that host the components of those apps and can run anywhere. Canonical is making the Ubuntu 21.10 OCI image available on both Docker Hub and the Amazon ECR Public Registry, so developers are reassured they’ll have consistent, trustworthy images for each of Ubuntu’s components.

Canonical also maintains a curated set of application images for useful developer software besides the base operating system, including images for Grafana, Prometheus and NGINX. The Apache Cassandra database is a new addition, as is the Squid caching proxy and Bind9, a full-featured Domain Name System. Each of those images is backed by a 10-year commitment for compliance and security updates, Canonical said.

Canonical also maintains images for MicroK8s, which is the company’s stripped-down, easier-to-use and high-availability version of Kubernetes, the open-source container orchestration software. MicroK8s, which can install Kubernetes with a single command and create a Kubernetes edge cluster with just two commands, is now based on the latest Kubernetes 1.22 release.

With that, it adds support for Kata Containers, which is a secure container runtime with lightweight virtual machines that provides stronger workload isolation using hardware virtualization technology as a second layer of defense. Canonical said Kata Containers can now be activated in MicroK8s with a simple “microk8s enable kata” command.

MicroK8s for IBM Z support is also available in beta, making it possible to run MicroK8s on IBM Corp.’s mainframe hardware.

On the AI development front, the Ubuntu KVM virtualization platform adds support for Nvidia Corp.’s virtual graphics processing units to support computer-aided design and 3-D graphics applications. And MicroK8s adds support for Nvidia GPU operator 1.7.0, making it easier to run AI and ML workloads on Kubernetes.

Finally, Canonical said Ubuntu now supports Kernel Electric Fence. KFENCE, as it’s known, is a run-time memory error detector for production environments that ensures overheads remain low while identifying any common memory errors. Canonical said KFENCE is enabled by default on all new installations.

Analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said it’ s not surprising to see a lot of new functionality on cloud native capabilities and AI / ML in the new release. “It’s also good to see Ubuntu keep delivering on one of its bets, which is Ubuntu on Windows,” he said. “The new release of Ubuntu looks to be a strong alternative for CxOs to build next generation applications.”

Ubuntu 21.10 is the last interim release ahead of the next Ubuntu Long Term Support release, Ubuntu 22.04, that’s due to launch in April 2022 with 10 years of guaranteed support.

Image: Canonical

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