The Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet Linux operating system debuted today with new desktop, cloud, server and Internet of things (IoT) capabilities.
For the desktop component, a key addition in Ubuntu 15.04 is the Ubuntu Make developer tools suite.
"Ubuntu is the preferred development environment in an astonishing array of use-cases around the world," Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, told eWEEK. "We have consolidated a whole bunch of tools, including mobile IDE [integrated development environments], Web and game development under the Ubuntu Make framework."
IoT is another target for Ubuntu 15.04, with the first official release of Ubuntu Snappy. Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu, has been talking about Snappy since at least December 2014 as an optimized operating system of IoT devices. Snappy also provides a transactional model for software updating, offering the promise of easier patching and improved security for IoT devices and services.
"Snappy is a new packaging system we built for containers, mobile and IoT," Shuttleworth explained.
Shuttleworth commented that with Snappy, the model is extensible with apps separated from the base operating system, enabling developers to choose what packages they want to include. Snappy will also run on networking switches, including home routers, and WiFi base stations as well as TV set-top boxes.
As part of the overall Ubuntu 15.04 update, there is also an Ubuntu Phone release. The Ubuntu Phone makes use of Snappy, and hardware is now shipping from several vendors.
"We're really committed to the idea that a phone, a desktop and a cloud device all get that great feeling of running Ubuntu, and it's great every day," Shuttleworth said.
On the desktop, Ubuntu has been moving toward using the Mir display server over the past several development cycles, though for Ubuntu 15.04, Mir is not yet the default. With Mir, Ubuntu will have the same display server technology on phones and desktops.
"Mir is opt-in, and there is a full preview of the Unity 8 desktop interface," Shuttleworth said. "It's looking pretty exciting, but right now, it's mostly for developers."
While full convergence between phone and desktop is in progress, Shuttleworth commented that overall Mir is really just a small library that does one thing—that is, it gives a GL (or graphics library) surface to an application, so it can draw on it.
"We feel that Mir is appropriate for applications that want to run on phones, desktops and tablets," Shuttleworth said. "Mir was blown into a controversy by others in the industry, but the reality is that no application developer will really care, since they just use a toolkit and all the major toolkits are adding support for Mir."
On the server side, Ubuntu 15.04 includes the LXD Linux container hypervisor that Shuttleworth first announced in November 2014.
"With LXD, an administrator can remotely tell a server to start, stop or snapshot a container," Shuttleworth said.
In Ubuntu 15.04, it's now also possible to do live migration of containers as part of an OpenStack deployment. Shuttleworth explained that OpenStack with LXD is a combination that he's very excited about.
"OpenStack with LXD is the fastest and the densest OpenStack you could possibly want for Linux," Shuttleworth said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.