Ubuntu 21.04 is now available with native Microsoft Active Directory integration and Wayland as the default
Canonical released Ubuntu 21.04, a new version of the organization's Linux distribution. The release comes three weeks after the release of beta versions, and can already be downloaded from the official Ubuntu website as desktop, server and cloud versions.
Updates from Ubuntu 20.10 are not enabled at this point as some systems may end up in an unbootable state if EFI version 1.10 is used. Upgrades will be enabled in the future "once an updated version of shim is available 2hich is compatible with EFI version 1.10".
Ubuntu 21.04 is a short-term release, which means that it is good for 9 months of updates before it is running out off support. The latest long-term servicing release is Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
The release is powered by Linux 5.11 kernel and GNOME 3.38, and the first that makes Wayland the default on the system, provided that the computer's hardware supports it.
Many applications, Firefox for example, will benefit from Wayland, and users may notice improved graphics performance on their devices after installing Ubuntu 21.04 or upgrading to the new version.
The release does not come with the newer GNOME 40, which was launched recently
The new Ubuntu release comes with Flutter SDK snap build integration and a new dark theme that promises "accessibility improvements in navigation, and new file icons".
Ubuntu 21.04 features native Active Directory integration. Machines running the Linux distribution can join Active Directory (AD) domains "at installation for central configuration. Active Directory admins can manage Ubuntu devices and configure system settings from an Active Directory domain controller.
Using a Group Policy Client, system administrators can specify security policies on all connected clients, such as password policies and user access control, and Desktop environment settings, such as login screen, background and favourite apps.
Microsoft and Canonical announced improved support for Microsoft SQL Server on Ubuntu: "Enterprise performance and scalability work from this release have been backported to Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS, in support of Microsoft SQL Server".
Optimized Ubuntu images on Azure are now available with the database management system (DBMS) and command-line interface (CLI) " providing a production-grade, highly available database platform with ten years of security maintenance".
The integration includes performance enhancements, supports persistent memory without additional configuration requirements, and highly available.
Other improvements in Ubuntu 21.04
- Support for smartcard authentication added.
- Desktop View "handles drag & drop operations" properly.
- Power Profile can be changed from the settings.
- Pipewire support enabled by default.
- Installer includes new option to create a recovery key to decrypt encrypted disks if the password is lost.
- Several applications were updated to their GNOME 4.0 versions, e.g. Firefox, LibreOffice or Thunderbird.
- Ubuntu Server gets Rails 6 support.
You can check out Canonical's announcement of Ubuntu 21.04 on the official company blog or the official release notes, published on Ubuntu's Discourse forum.
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