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Canonical announces full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.21
by Paul Hill
Canonical, the firm behind the Ubuntu operating system, has announced full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.21. It said that support ranges from public cloud to edge and covers Charmed Kubernetes, MicroK8s, and kubeadm. According to Canonical, MicroK8s is suited for workstations, DevOps, edge and IoT, Charmed Kubernetes is aimed at multi-cloud clusters, and kubeadm is designed for manual operations.
Notable changes in Kubernetes 1.21 include a memory manager which will improve the performance of some applications, new scheduler features, improvements to ReplicateSet downscaling, support for indexed jobs, and the deprecation of Pod Security Policy before its complete removal in Kubernetes 1.25.
Commenting on the launch of Kubernetes 1.21, Canonical Product Manager Alex Chalkias said:
Enterprise support for Kubernetes on Ubuntu is provided by Canonical as a part of the Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure (UA-I) support subscription. The package includes long-term security maintenance, kernel Livepatching, and mission-critical infrastructure support for the full stack from the kernel to the container across public clouds, Vmware, OpenStack, and bare metal.
In terms of product releases from Canonical, this month is turning out to be a bit busy. On the first day of the month, Canonical launched Ubuntu 21.04 beta and is intending to release the finished product on April 22.
Canonical releases Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo beta
by Paul Hill
Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo beta for Desktop, Server, and Cloud. There are also downloadable beta images of alternative Ubuntu flavours including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu.
The main Ubuntu 21.04 for Desktop is quite a good release this time around; it includes the newer 5.11 Linux kernel so more hardware will be supported and Canonical has switched to Wayland sessions by default away from X.org. Unlike Fedora 34, Canonical has decided to stick with GNOME 3.38 so that it can adapt its desktop extensions to work properly with GNOME 40.
In its announcement, Canonical said:
If you’d like to take Ubuntu 21.04 beta for a spin before the final release drops on April 22, head over to the mailing list announcement where you can find the links to all of the available Ubuntu 21.04 beta editions and flavours. Keep in mind that this software is still in development and you could run into bugs. If you do, you can report them to Canonical so they can be fixed before the final release later this month.
Linux Mint outlines better, unobtrusive update notifications
by Paul Hill
Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has written a blog post outlining new notifications that try not to be annoying but also remind users that they need to perform software updates to keep their computer secure. The details arrive a little over a month since Lefebvre pointed to stats that show some users were not applying security updates and in some cases, people were even running end of life versions of Linux Mint.
The Linux Mint team prides itself on its users controlling their computer rather than the other way around. New Mint versions only ever introduce conservative changes so that the whole operating system doesn’t need to be relearned and users are also given complete control over when, how, and which updates are installed; unfortunately, this mindset has led to some users running outdated, vulnerable software.
To remedy the issue, a new pop-up has been created which lets the user know how many updates are available, it says why updates need to be applied, it lets users view available updates, and gives users the option to turn on automatic updates. If the user dismisses the notification it will come back two days later so it’s not overbearing.
If the user decides to install updates, the notification will disappear for quite a while on the default settings. By default, the notification will appear if an update has been available for more than seven logged-in days or if it’s older than 15 calendar days. The number of days can be changed to anything between two and 90 days depending on how often you want to see updates. Additionally, these notifications will only be triggered by security and kernel updates but this can be adjusted in the settings.
There is also a grace period setting which is set to 30 days by default, essentially, this means that if an update has been applied in the last 30 days, you will not be bugged by notifications until that time has elapsed.
The Mint team hopes that the default settings will work for most people in that they keep their system moderately up-to-date without being overburdened with constant reminders to update their machine. The new notifications are set to arrive in Linux Mint 20.2 but Lefebvre has also said that it could be backported to older versions.
Debian 10.9 released with updates to popular packages
by Paul Hill
Image via Alex Makas The Debian project has announced the availability of Debian 10.9. The new ISO image, which can be used to install Debian, comes with all the latest package updates which will save you time when installing the operating system on a computer. If you already have Debian 9 installed on your computer, there is no need to download Debian 10.9, simply apply any available updates to your system and you’ll be on the latest release.
Commenting on the launch, the project said:
Some of the packages that are updated in Debian 10.9 include LibreOffice, the Linux kernel, Python, Firefox ESR, Chromium, and Tor. The Debian installer has also been updated to include the latest fixes.
Debian 10 was first released on July 6, 2019, and will continue to receive updates until 2024. As big Debian releases come out every two years, we should see Debian 11 at some point this year but so far no release date has been given. Upon release, Debian 10 will be demoted from Stable to Old Stable with Debian 9 being cut off from updates in mid-2022.
Tails 4.17 launched with improved upgrade process
by Paul Hill
The team behind the privacy-oriented operating system, Tails, has launched Tails 4.17. This update includes several important updates to key packages such as the Tor Browser which are essential for maintaining your privacy but it also comes with several improvements to the upgrade process which should result in less failed upgrades.
The first of the reliability improvements to automatic upgrades pertains to the file system. The release notes state that automatic updates were previously failing because of an unclean file system. To address this, Tails now automatically repairs the file system being used during an upgrade to eliminate the issue.
Another change to improve upgrade reliability is the download process of new updates. Each Tails upgrade requires the users to download the new image over Tails’ Tor connection which can sometimes be spotty. With Tails 4.17, downloads will now automatically resume if they do stop so it’ll save users a lot of time.
In terms of new package updates, the Tor Browser has been updated to 10.0.14, Thunderbird has been bumped to 78.8.0, Tor is now on 0.4.5.7, the GRUB bootloader is on 2.04-16, and several firmware packages that improve Intel, Broadcom, and Cypress interfaces have been included too.
If you’re running Tails 4.14 or above you will get a notification telling you to update your system as soon as you connect to the internet. If you do not yet have a Tails USB to boot from but would like one, you can find instructions on downloading and installing Tails on the project’s website.