Ubuntu had a great year switching to Wayland and continued its commercial success


Ubuntu and parent company Canonical had another great year not only on the Linux desktop, but also continued their business successes in the server, cloud, and IoT industries. Ubuntu 21.04 and 21.10 have delivered new features on all fronts this year and the developers are now busy preparing for the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release next spring.

Ubuntu 21.04 last spring brought Default Wayland to the desktop as an exciting milestone and is now in great shape ahead of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. Canonical has continued to contribute to GNOME, especially around performance to improve their default desktop, they continue to invest in Mir for IoT and other commercial use cases, and this year has shown them that they continued to invest in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) with a lot of potential where we are moving forward. Ubuntu has found its way into smart exercise mirrors and many other devices.

In 2021, they continued to push Snaps as an alternative to Flatpaks, they continue to work extensively on Flutter as their favorite UI toolkit, and they have also always worked on their new desktop installer. Ubuntu’s OpenZFS file system support has seen less activity this year.

With Canonical making profits in its most recent fiscal year and surpassing 500 employees, the organization’s financial health continues to improve ahead of a possible IPO in the years to come.

For 2021, the most popular Ubuntu articles on Phoronix included the following, ignoring all Ubuntu reference articles:

Canonical weathered the pandemic well: made a profit and exceeded 500 employees
Thanks to Canonical’s distributed workforce, most of its employees working from home even before the pandemic, and the burgeoning Linux ecosystem, the Ubuntu maker has performed extremely well in 2020 and has even increased its workforce above 500 employees and managed to go from a loss in 2019 to a profit in 2020.

Ubuntu 21.04 will try to use Wayland by default
Ubuntu will try to switch to using Wayland by default for the current Ubuntu 21.04 cycle to allow enough time for generalized testing and evaluation before next year’s Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release.

Ubuntu 21.10 released with GNOME 40 desktop, many improvements underlying
Ubuntu 21.10 “Impish Indri” is now officially available as the last six month update for Ubuntu Linux and also serves as the last release before 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 Ubuntu’s new Flutter + Curtin desktop installer was disappointing
An ongoing effort at Canonical has been to develop a new desktop installer for Ubuntu. With the recent release of Ubuntu 21.10, they still use their classic Ubiquity installer by default, but have released a new preview version of Ubuntu 21.10 with their new desktop install option. Here’s a look at the upcoming Ubuntu installer.

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release schedule released
Although Ubuntu 21.10 won’t be released for two months, the Ubuntu 22.04 release schedule has been released. Rather, this is the next semi-annual Long Term Support (LTS) release.

Upcoming work for Ubuntu 21.04 to switch to Wayland by default
The good news last month was that Ubuntu 21.04 aims to use Wayland by default for non-NVIDIA systems on the GNOME desktop rather than the X.Org session. While there are two months until the release of Ubuntu 21.04, there is still work to be done to make this change a reality.

Ubuntu 21.10 will likely stick to the GNOME 40 desktop
While Ubuntu normally ships with the very latest GNOME desktop version released just before the release date, with Ubuntu 21.04 they stuck at GNOME 3.38 rather than moving early to GNOME 40. In the Ubuntu 21.10 development packages, they’ve since migrated to GNOME 40, but now it looks like they’ll stick with that and not move forward to the near-final GNOME 41.

Ubuntu 21.04 beta released for this update Linux 5.11 with Wayland by default
The beta of Ubuntu along with its various flavors / derivatives has been released ahead of the official launch of “Hirsute Hippo” later this month.

Canonical + DFI team up for an “industrial Pi” powered by AMD and Ubuntu
Many will remember the DFI motherboards from almost two decades ago for their wildly colored “LANParty” motherboards, but in recent years the company has focused on IoT and industrial hardware where, of course, , Linux is very important. DFI and Canonical today announced an “industrial pi” single board computer powered by AMD and equipped with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS released with a new HWE stack for better hardware / graphics
The second point release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is now officially released. Notable with Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS is the New Hardware Activation Stack (HWE) which brings the Linux kernel, Mesa and related components to Ubuntu 20.10 which means better hardware support which tends to be more noticeable. around better open source graphics support.

Ubuntu rethinks its Initramfs compression strategy
While Ubuntu has moved from LZ4 to Zstd to compress their initramfs, they now find that they were too aggressive in defaulting to Zstd with the highest compression level of 19. Due to speed and power consumption issues. memory, they are looking to lower their Zstd compression level.

Ubuntu 21.04 sticks to the GNOME 3.38 desktop
While Ubuntu normally ships with the latest GNOME desktop at time of release, the April release of Ubuntu 21.04 will not ship with GNOME 40 but will stick to GNOME 3.38.

Canonical releases “Ubuntu on Windows Community Preview”
Canonical today announced the release of “Ubuntu on Windows Community Preview” as a specialized version of Ubuntu responding to Microsoft’s WSL2.

Ubuntu 21.04 to enable LTO optimizations for its packages
In addition to aiming to use Wayland by default, another big change in the works for the spring release of Ubuntu 21.04 is using Link Time Optimizations (LTOs) for all versions of 64-bit packages.

Ubuntu 21.04 Goes Ahead With Enabling LTO Optimizations For Better Performance
Ubuntu 21.04 is moving forward with plans to enable compiler binding time (LTO) optimizations by default for package builds in the name of better performance.

Canonical Keeps Talking About Google’s Flutter UI Toolkit
Recently, Ubuntu maker Canonical made a commitment to use Google’s Flutter UI toolkit as the “default choice” for its mobile and desktop apps in the future. There is now an article on the Ubuntu blog detailing their interest in Flutter.

Proof of concept work brings systemd to Ubuntu WSL
Currently, when running Linux distributions in Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), systemd is not used, but that may change soon, 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 home directories for new users world-readable.

Ubuntu Developers Discover Dual Boot Changes Before Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
Due to changes to the upstream GRUB 2.06 boot loader, Ubuntu developers are in the process of determining how they will handle dual-boot / multi-boot scenarios in the future with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.


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