Canonical officially released new version of its widely used Ubuntu Linux operating system on April 21, 2016. The latest version Ubuntu 16.04, dubbed Xenial Xerus, is supported for 5 years with critical security, bug and app updates from Canonical.
Ubuntu 16.04 is the new recommendation for desktop and server use. Beside an LTS (Long Term Support), it uses a long-term supported Linux kernel, version 4.4, and includes lot more new features.
Linux Kernel 4.4
Ubuntu 16.04 is built on the 4.4 series of Linux Kernels which will also receive security updates and bug fixes for a few more years. It brings more improvements to system stability, performance, power efficiency and file system handling.
The systemd Init System
Since Ubuntu 15.10 or Debian Jessie, systemd is the default init system like major other GNU/Linux distributions. On Ubuntu, systemd supplants Canonical’s Upstart.
Ubuntu 16.04 supports the ZFS filesystem, an advanced filesystem originating in the 2000s at Sun Microsystems and currently developed for Open Source systems under the umbrella of the OpenZFS project. It includes a native kernel module for ZFS, combining the traditional roles of a filesystem (like ext4) and volume manager (like LVM), and offering many compelling features.
Packaging, Software Distribution, and Containers
Ubuntu 16.04 upgrades apt (Advanced Package Tool) to apt 1.2 which includes additional features and some security improvements. The
apt are similar commands where
apt-get is considered as lower-level and “back-end”, and support other APT-based tools while
apt is designed for end-users (human). apt command can be used in place of the traditional apt-get and apt-cache for many package management operations.
Snappy is Ubuntu’s brand new packaging format, emerging from Ubuntu’s mobile and Internet of Things development efforts.
The new package format aims to help app developers bring newer versions of their apps to the Ubuntu desktop, instantly, reliably and safely.
LXD is a “container hypervisor”, built around LXC, which in turn is an interface to Linux kernel containment features. It lets Linux users easily create and manage system or application containers for Ubuntu based clouds.
Not much has changed visually since the previous release of Ubuntu Linux, with the exception of some small graphical tweaks to icons and the Unity interface. As almost every new Ubuntu release, this comes with a new desktop background and a selection of beautiful new community-contributed wallpapers. The fglrx driver is now deprecated, so if you want, its open source alternatives (Radeon and AMDGPU) are recommended.
The Heads-Up-Display (HUD), can now be opened using new keyboard shortcut, ALT+SPACE, which was previously ALT.
The default shortcut for opening the HUD (the ‘heads-up display’ that lets you quickly search for options in the menu of focus applications) changes from in this release.
The window control keybinding changes from alt-super.
Unity, the Ubuntu’s default desktop shell, is upgraded to v7.4. With lots of bug fixes and improvements, Unity now lets users move the Unity Launcher to the bottom of the screen. Other changes in Unity 7.4 includes improved appearance of apps that use CSD, ‘Format’ option added to device quicklist, new HUD shortcut: Alt + Space (previously just ‘Alt’) and improved HiDPI support.
Language Runtimes and Development Tools
Ubuntu 16.04 also comes with Python 3.5 as the default, installed as the
python3 binary. Python 2 is still installable using the
python package, however developers are encouraged to upgrade their software to take advantage of Python 3. It is also packaged with GoLang 1.6.
Along, a good news for PHP developers, PHP packages now default to v7.0. PHP 7 offers major performance improvements over its predecessors, deprecates some legacy features and removes a number of extensions. It makes necessary for PHP developers, to change or upgrade codes to make PHP 7 compatible.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ships with several new apps which includes a newly designed desktop calendar app, a brand-new software store and new versions of many key apps such as LibreOffice, Evince and the Eye of GNOME image viewer.
The old Ubuntu Software Center is replaced by a new Software App, which can be used to search for and install hundreds of thousands of free and open-source application. Brasero and the instant-messaging client Empathy, these two apps will not be installed by default.
Ubuntu 16.04 Download
Ubuntu 16.04 is a must have LTS upgrade. With several features included, it is well suited for end desktop-users as well as prove exciting release for developers.
Ubuntu .ISO images are available for download from Canonical. Likewise Ubuntu 16.04 32 bit desktop/ 32 bit server and 64bit desktop/ 64 bit server editions are also available from the official torrents.