Ubuntu 16.04 LTS arrives today complete with forbidden ZFS

The Xenial Xerus want to get cloudy, but first: let battle be joined in GPL hell

Canonical will today (April 21st) launch version 16.04 of its Ubuntu Linux distribution, Xenial Xerus, the new long-term-support version of the project.

As the name suggests, long-term support versions of Ubuntu get, er, long-term support, a guaranteed five years from today to be precise.

The Xenial Xerus will therefore be fed, watered and de-loused for years to come, making them a fine platform for serious endeavours.

Canonical thinks the Xerus are ideal for cloudy, containerised computing. ZFS is pitched as one of several features that make the distribution ideal for such roles.

The LXD hypervisor is central to Canonical's containerisation ambitions, as it offers greater speed and density for guests and therefore makes its containers-inside-lightweight-VMs play possible. The inclusion of Ceph adds scale for storage, which helps Ubuntu to take on weightier tasks, with or without OpenStack.

So far, so good. Yet no less an entity than GNU daddy Richard Stallman thinks Canonical is violating the GNU GPL because you can't blend GPL-licensed code with code that has an anti-GPL license. The Software Freedom Conservancy agrees and has form for funding court actions that test the GPL, as the case involving VMware indicates.

The Xerus may be in for a rough childhood.

Another controversial inclusion is systemd, code so hated developers have welded Ubuntu to FreeBSD to avoid it. systemd is probably a sideshow this time around.

We've already reviewed the most recent beta of Ubuntu 16.04 and our very own Scott Gilbertson reckons it's a welcome release that balances the need for stability while adding important new features, but it may frustrate those looking for cutting edge enhancements.

Download it and find out for yourself if he's right. ®

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