Canonical has launched its latest distribution of Linux, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, dubbed 'Bionic Beaver', offering a number of new features for both desktop and server users.
LTS - meaning long-term support - represents a version of Ubuntu that offers five years of patches and security fixes. There will be more iterations of the operating system in the coming months, but each, although stable, will only be supported for nine months, giving users the option to either keep updating or go to the LTS stream.
One of the big draws will be improved AI support - most notably, integration of Kuberflow - the Tensorflow for Kubernetes, Google's cloud containerisation platform. Kubernetes is, of course, supported under the CDK moniker (Canonical Deployment of Kubernetes).
"Having an OS that is tuned for advanced workloads such as AI and ML is critical to a high-velocity team," said David Aronchick, product manager of Cloud AI at Google.
"With the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Canonical's collaborations to the Kubeflow project, Canonical has provided both a familiar and highly performant operating system that works everywhere.
"Whether on-premise or in the cloud, software engineers and data scientists can use tools they are already familiar with, such as Ubuntu, Kubernetes and Kubeflow, and greatly accelerate their ability to deliver value for their customers."
Nvidia graphics cards will also enjoy GPU acceleration integrated into Ubuntu - including work bolstering workloads from Kubernetes and bare metal. With GPUs now being used for everything from intelligent cars to supercomputing, Linux support will mean that it's even easier to work on projects in Linux, with far more power than CPUs alone.
Canonical's OpenStack deployment will see what it describes as significant savings over VMware with a "modern, developer friendly UI".
The LXD container hypervisor is perfect for legacy containers, offering complete Ubuntu instances inside a container, so if you're applications aren't ready to move, you can carry on.
For the desktop, there's the prospect of the first LTS release that returns to the Gnome interface, after the decision to stop work on Unity. That followed Canonical's decision to pull out of tablet and phone development.
'Snaps' are accelerating, and with 3000 offered already from Spotify, Skype, Slack and Firefox, they are fast becoming an attractive way for users who want to switch away from Windows with their favourite apps. Moreover, Snaps remain available to any Linux distro - not just Ubuntu.
But that's not all - the Microsoft/Linux love-in continues, with Hyper-V optimised versions of Ubuntu 18.04 rolling out with the April Update of Windows 10 (whenever that is) built in association with Microsoft who promise it will be a "first-class guest".
"In our upcoming OS release this spring, Hyper-V's Quick Create VM Gallery will now include an image for the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, officially stamped straight from Canonical," said Craig Wilhite, program manager at Microsoft.
"This Ubuntu VM image will come pre-configured to offer clipboard functionality, drive redirection, dynamic resizing of VM console window, and much more as we look to provide a great Hyper-V client VM experience for Linux on Windows."
Updates are going to be made easier - as Microsoft has promised, more of Ubuntu 18.04 will be updated online, so there will be less downtime when new elements emerge.
As ever, there's loads more and, if you're a bit "Linux curious", a new LTS is a great time to create a partition on the desktop or to sling a chip hard-disk drive or SSD into the PC, with the installer doing the hard work for you.
It's available for free download now from the Ubuntu website.
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