Ubuntu 21.04 is here

Canonical has released Ubuntu 21.04 with native Microsoft Active Directory integration, Wayland graphics by default, and a Flutter application development SDK. Separately, Canonical and Microsoft announced performance optimisation and joint support for Microsoft SQL Server on Ubuntu.

“Native Active Directory integration and certified Microsoft SQL Server on Ubuntu are top priorities for our enterprise customers.” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical. “For developers and innovators, Ubuntu 21.04 delivers Wayland and Flutter for smoother graphics and clean, beautiful, design-led cross platform development.”

“Canonical’s desktop solutions are cost-effective, easy to manage at scale, and simple to integrate with enterprise systems. For our 100,000 police officers, Ubuntu is user friendly, reliable, and delivers the requisite privacy and security without additional third-party solutions. Ubuntu is our operating system of choice” said Lt-Colonel Stéphane Dumond, French Gendarmerie Nationale.

Microsoft SQL Server on Ubuntu delivers an optimised, cost-effective database platform
Enterprise performance and scalability work from this release has been backported to Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS, in support of Microsoft SQL Server. The database management system (DBMS) and its command-line interface (CLI) are now available on optimised Ubuntu images on Azure, providing a production-grade, highly available database platform with ten years of security maintenance.

Canonical and Microsoft will provide integrated support for Ubuntu with Microsoft SQL Server deployed on-prem or through the Azure Marketplace, for mission-critical workloads.

The joint solution comes with performance enhancements, like Force Unit Access (FUA) on XFS filesystems for data durability. Persistent memory (PMEM) offers high performance data storage without any additional configuration. Finally, the entire platform is highly available, backed by Corosync and Pacemaker, to ensure resilience.

Active Directory: Bridging the gap between system administrators and Linux developers
Ubuntu machines can join an Active Directory (AD) domain at installation for central configuration. AD administrators can now manage Ubuntu workstations, which simplifies  compliance with company policies.

Ubuntu 21.04 adds the ability to configure system settings from an AD 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.

Flutter and Wayland: a smoother graphics experience
Ubuntu 21.04 uses Wayland by default, a significant leap forward in security. Firefox, OBS Studio and many applications built with Electron and Flutter take advantage of Wayland automatically, for smoother graphics and better fractional scaling.

Flutter SDK snap build integration makes it easy to publish your multi-platform Flutter app for one-click install by millions of Linux desktop users.

“Canonical has been a fantastic contributor to Flutter, enabling Linux desktop support in Flutter and opening up the opportunity to bring high quality Flutter apps to Linux. We look forward to our continued partnership in making Flutter the best choice for app developers, no matter which platform they target.” Chris Sells, Product Manager, Flutter

New dark theme provides a refreshed user experience
21.04 includes a redesigned dark theme, Yaru, with accessibility improvements in navigation, and new file icons. Yaru is maintained by the community, backed by Canonical.

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