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Canonical announces end of life date for Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla
by Paul Hill
Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is set to lose support on July 22, 2021. As the release was one of those between the Long-Term Support (LTS) releases, it only has nine months of life. Those running this particular version of Ubuntu are urged to upgrade their systems to Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo which has been available since April.
To assist you in upgrading your computer, Canonical has published a guide that runs through everything you need to know and do to get to the latest version. If you’re not sure which version of Ubuntu you have, open Settings, scroll down the left-hand pane until you reach About, and then look under OS Name and you should be able to see which version you are on. Most people checking should find that they’re on Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS, which is supported until 2025.
After July 22, systems with Ubuntu 20.10 can still be used but they won’t receive important security updates. Quickly, you’ll notice your web browser become outdated which will only increase your risk. If you have a particular use for Ubuntu 20.10 which is preventing you from upgrading, disconnecting your computer from the internet and keeping it offline is another option you have for staying safe
For most people, the Long-Term Support versions of Ubuntu are best because upgrades are only needed every couple of years. The interim releases, while stable, act more like a testing ground for new features between LTS releases.
Linux Mint 20.2 beta ISOs are now ready for download
by Paul Hill
Earlier this week, Neowin reported that the Linux Mint 20.2 beta ISOs were undergoing final testing before being made available. Today, you can now download Linux Mint 20.2 beta from a choice of the Cinnamon, MATE, or Xfce editions.
One of the main updates in Linux Mint 20.2 is to the Update Manager and the way it handles and alerts users to updates. On Linux Mint systems, all of the installed software, including apps, are updated centrally in the Update Manager. To bring more centralisation to the system, Cinnamon spices (add-ons in Cinnamon) are now visible in the Update Manager whenever there’s an update for them.
Another issue with the Update Manager is that, by default, the user needs to apply updates manually but not everybody does. To remedy this, infrequent notifications will be displayed to users to let them know that there are available updates. The people that see these notifications will likely not be the type of people who keep their system up to date so they are offered the option to enable automatic updates so they’re never bothered by them again. Doing things this way gives users a choice over whether updates should be forced on users.
There are a few new app additions in this update. The first is a new XApp called Buiky which allows you to bulk rename files on your system. Bulky is not included in the Xfce edition because the Thunar file manager already has this feature baked in. The other new app is Sticky Notes which replaces GNote as the default app for taking notes. Sticky Notes is built using GTK3, supports HiDPI, and integrates well with the desktop environment so it should be nice to use.
Included in the release notes is also a mention of an unofficial Warpinator app for Android. Warpinator is a tool that Linux Mint developed a little while ago that allows you to send files between Linux Mint machines on your local network. With the Warpinator Android app, you’ll be able to easily send files to and from your mobile devices.
Finally, the Cinnamon edition ships with Cinnamon 5.0 which includes a new content search feature. It also comes with fixes for several memory leaks which should improve its performance. A slightly unusual change coming with Cinnamon 5.0 is the ability to limit the total amount of RAM Cinnamon can use. If the limit is reached, Cinnamon will restart itself but you won’t lose your session or windows. When the limit is reached, Cinnamon becomes unresponsive for a second while performing an internal reboot.
In the Linux Mint world, beta testing usually runs for a couple of weeks before the stable release is made available. Upgrading from Linux Mint 20 and 21 will be made available a little bit after the stable release is made available. The upgrade should be available via the Update Manager and should be painless.
Intel's Speed Select Technology ironically hurting performance, but a fix is coming
by Sayan Sen
Intel's Speed Select Technology (SST) is a power management solution from the company that allows users to manage core prioritization and frequency regulation depending on the workloads in order to improve performance and efficiency.
However, as an Intel engineer has observed, there is performance regression by more than 10% in benchmarks with the mode enabled. And while it isn't stated, the impact in a real workload might be lower but it's still a cause for concern.
The engineer further explains that the standard Linux PCI interface which is used here is causing the delay as it searches through hundreds of PCI devices, during mapping, that are attached to the system. For those wondering why the need to mention hundreds of devices here, that's because Intel SST is a complex solution and is only available in Xeons and not in the mainstream Core lineup.
Since the root cause of the problem has been identified, the good news is that a patch that promises to fix this should be available soon via a future firmware if it isn't already out. The fix is a fairly simple one and will use the cached data that will speed up the search process.
Here's what the full LKML message says:
Intel launched SST back in 2019 inside Cascade Lake Xeon CPUs. The technology is quite versatile as it enables several options like setting core prioritization, base clock tweaking, and more. As stated above, SST is implemented in the firmware and carried out by the processor's Power Control Unit (PCU). For more information on SST, visit Intel's official site here.
Linux Mint 20.2 beta ISOs undergo testing and are due soon [Update]
by Paul Hill
At the end of May, it was reported that Linux Mint 20.2 would see a beta release in mid-June. We’ve reached mid-June and it looks as though the team is running last-minute tests on the beta ISOs before making them available to the public. Following the ISOs’ release, the beta period should run for about two weeks before the stable release is made with upgrade paths opened up.
The Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce images were tested about 7 hours ago and all failed, the Xfce image was tried again several hours later and failed again, now the Xfce image is being tested a third time along with the MATE edition. Users don’t have to worry about these tests, only, the longer they take to pass, the longer you’ll all be waiting to try out the beta.
Linux Mint 20.2 has been given the codename Uma and is an iterative upgrade in the 20.x series which began in the first half of last year. As with the other versions in the Linux Mint 20.x series, this update will be supported until April or May 2025. Once security updates stop, you can continue to use it but you won’t be safe especially if you connect to the internet with the device.
Linux Mint 20.2 will come with a new XApp called Bulky that allows you to rename files in bulk, the Nemo 5.0 file manager will be present in the Cinnamon edition, and the local file sharing tool Warpinator will now give you the option to compress files that are sent to reduce the transfer time.
Update: Since the publication of this article, beta builds of Linux Mint 20.2 have passed the tests.
Linux Mint 20.2 'Uma' to get beta release by mid-June
by Paul Hill
Clement Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has published a blog post revealing that Linux Mint 20.2 is codenamed 'Uma' and is set for a beta release by the middle of June. The new release will still be based upon Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but comes with an upgrade to the Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce desktops and comes with newer hardware enablement stacks that ship with Ubuntu LTS point releases.
Linux Mint 20.2 will feature a new XApp (apps made by the Mint team) called Bulky that allows the users to rename files in bulk on both the Cinnamon and MATE versions of Mint. On Xfce, the Thunar file manager already comes with an embedded bulk renamer so Bulky won’t need to be shipped with the Xfce edition of Mint.
Another change in Linux Mint 20.2 is the inclusion of Nemo 5.0, the file manager on the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint. With Nemo 5.0, users can now perform a content search in addition to a file’s name. The new content search will look for search terms within documents and return the document to the user if the search finds anything relevant.
The local file-sharing program Warpinator, which was released with Linux Mint 20, has also been updated. Now, users can select which network interface they want to share files on if they have several available. Additionally, a new option to compress files that are sent has been added, this should reduce the amount of time it takes to send large files.
Finally, the NVIDIA Prime applet has been updated to fix an issue where the applet would disappear from the tray. It also contains support for computers with AMD/NVIDIA hybrids.
Linux Mint 20.2, just like the rest of the 20.x series, will be supported until around April or May of 2025. At that time, it will stop receiving software updates and users will need to upgrade if they want their system to stay secure.