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Ubuntu 20.10 is here – with full support for Raspberry Pi

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Canonical released the October version of its Linux distribution Ubuntu on schedule. Ubuntu 20.10 is bringing desktop packages for the Raspberry Pi for the first time.

The “Groovy Gorilla” is here. This is how Canonical describes version 20.10 of its Ubuntu Linux. This is a version with new months of support and the latest software. The most obvious innovation is likely to be full support for the current Raspberry Pi.

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Groovy Gorilla uses Kernel 5.8

Under the hood is the 5.8 kernel, which is a significant upgrade to the 5.4 kernel used in the previous version and is described by kernel boss Linus Torvalds as the biggest update of all time.

The core features of 5.8 include support for AMD’s Zen 3 and the GPUs from Intel’s Ice and Tiger Lake as well as USB 4 and the Thunderbolt protocol 3. Qualcomm’s Adreno 405, 640 and 650 graphics chips receive open source drivers. The AMDGPU driver receives the support of “Trusted Memory Zones” for encrypted videos. And the AMD Radeon driver should avoid excessive heat development or at least be able to handle it better.

On AMD’s Zen platforms, the energy sensors now work correctly with the system and the temperature monitoring on the Ryzen 4000 works. In the case of graphics chips, it will play a role for the future that the developers have meanwhile rebuilt the core of the “Direct Rendering Manager” (DRM) to simplify drivers.

Desktop uses Gnome 3.38

For the graphical user interface, Ubuntu 20.10 relies on version 3.38 of the Gnome desktop, which only appeared in September. This comes in particular with a significant modernization and refreshment of the optics. This applies to the design of the launcher as well as the design of the applications supplied.

The new app grid. (Screenshot: Gnome-Team)

The Gnome team has optically adapted the design of the new version closer to common smartphone and tablet functions. The convenience of using the app has been significantly improved. Gnome relies on a fixed grid, which provides a reliable positioning of the icons according to the same pattern. This should improve usability.

For new users and their simplified onboarding, the developers of the new version have given a “Welcome Tour” along the way. This appears when you log in for the first time and is intended to explain the operating concepts of the Gnome desktop to new users. Developer Fact: The developers wrote the “Welcome Tour” entirely in Rust.

Parental controls are also new. This allows parents to set up rules on a multi-user system as to who can use which app and who is allowed to install apps at all. Browser usage can also be restricted. The integrated browser called Web now comes with intelligent tracking protection.

For the first time desktop packages for Raspberry Pi

The first-time provision of Ubuntu desktop packages for the popular Raspberry Pi is completely new. The devices must be equipped with at least four gigabytes of RAM.

Less equipped Raspberry Pi can also work. Canonical does not promise that. The ARM64 architecture is generally required. The packages also run on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

Raspberry Pi on Youtube in the desktop browser on the Raspberry Pi. (Screenshot: t3n)

Once installed, you can expect full desktop functionality. This can be particularly interesting for developers. You can develop directly for the Arm platform on the Raspberry Pi and test these developments directly.

More features and availability

The use of the container management LXD 4.6 and MicroK8s 1.19 is also worth mentioning. This is supposed to be so-called “resilient micro-clouds”, i.e. small server clusters that VMs and Kubernetes can also provide in edge use if required. During the installation, you now have the new option to integrate into Microsoft’s directory service Active Directory. WiFi hotspots can now be shared using a QR code.

Instead of iptables, Ubuntu now uses the firewall backend Nftables and UFW as the frontend. With Firefox 81, Libreoffice 7.0.2 and Thunderbird 78.3.2, Ubuntu brings the latest apps for desktop users.

Developers notice the updated toolchain with GCC 10, LLVM 11, Python 3.8.6 and OpenJDK in version 11.

Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is now available as a 2.9 gigabyte image for download ready. At the same time, the official variants Ubuntu Server, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie and Ubuntu Kylin were brought up to date. You can find the Raspberry Pi version here. The complete Release notes is available on the website.

To go with it: The pretty Linux: Elementary OS 6 refines design and touchscreen support

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