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Ubuntu Focal user? Expect a Jammy upgrade popup soon

If you're on the HWE stack, you'll get the Jammy kernel*

Updated Ubuntu 20.04 is nowhere near end of life, but 22.04 is starting to hit its stride.

As is fairly well understood now, the first release of Ubuntu in each even-numbered year is a Long Term Support (LTS) release. Ubuntu 20.04 "Focal Fossa" gets support and updates until 2025 and won't reach its official end-of-life until 2030. "Jammy Jellyfish" - the 22.04 release - is the replacement LTS version, receiving mainstream support until April 2027 and arriving at its end of life in April 2032.

However, users of the previous LTS release don't start to receive upgrade notifications until the subsequent LTS gets its first point release. For Jammy, if all goes well, that will be next week*: August 11 is the planned release date for Ubuntu 22.04.1. Canonical has published a list of bug-fixes on its Discourse, and you can also track its status on Launchpad.

Among many others, 22.04.1 contains a fix for the latest speculative-executation flaw, Retbleed. This has led to speculation about a new law of computer speed changes.

Nathan Froyd asked Twitter:

What's the reverse of Moore's law, where CPUs get 15 percent slower every year due to speculative-attack mitigations?

If you are brave, very careful, and run an entirely standalone box, you can of course choose to turn them all off.

As we said when we looked at the 22.04 release, "Jammy" uses the latest LTS kernel, version 5.15. Many existing users of "Focal" may be surprised to find that they already have that, as it has already been distributed to users of the Ubuntu LTS Enablement Stack, or HWE as it's known for short. The HWE stack includes a new kernel and associated drivers, and is a fully official, supported option.

This is one of the significant differences between Linux Mint and its upstream Ubuntu LTS release: Mint does not use the HWE stack, although it's perfectly possible to manually install it from Ubuntu's repositories.

We covered how to install the HWE stack some six months ago. At that time, the current kernel for Focal was 5.14, so going to 5.15 is a relatively minor change, but it includes a very useful feature if you dual-boot with Windows, or regularly connect Windows-formatted drives to your Ubuntu machine: native in-kernel read-write NTFS support.

If you currently mount NTFS drives using the command mount -t ntfs, as described on the first page of the kernel documentation for NTFS support, then you're still using the older NTFS drivers. To use the new, in-kernel, version 3 driver, change it to mount -t ntfs3. Of course, if you're mounting NTFS drives at boot time, this includes changing the relevant lines in /etc/fstab.

You should see performance improvements, but The Reg FOSS desk has noticed some other changes, including richer permissions support – meaning that previously writable folders on Windows drives might not be any more. We recommend the new driver, which is working well for us, but you should test any NTFS mounts for changed behaviour, including permissions and ownership, before putting them into use. ®

Updated to add on 5 August:

* There was an official delay to the point release yesterday, with the Ubuntu release team stating:

"A bug found in the 22.04.1 candidates will delay its release until 11 August so that we can fix the bug and retest the update. This bug does not exist in the current 22.04 image, and current users or installers of 22.04 are unaffected."

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