Ubuntu 24.04, Fedora 40, EndeavourOS, and TrueNAS 24.04 all arrive at once

Sometimes Linux releases are like buses… frequently clustered together, and rarely as reliable as you might ideally want

FOSS round-up Last week was a busy one for the open source community: EndeavourOS and TrueNAS Scale arrived on Tuesday, Fedora landed on Wednesday, and Ubuntu on Thursday.

This past week has seen a whole rash of new distribution releases, but there is considerable overlap between them. All of them include the latest Linux kernel 6.8, they all offer the latest GNOME 46 desktop whose beta we checked out in February, and the majority of them include the latest KDE Plasma 6 desktop as well.

The first out was EndeavourOS Gemini. We last looked at EndeavourOS for the Artemis release in 2022. It's a lightweight and easier-to-install Arch-Linux-based distro, and since it's a rolling release, what new releases really mean is updated installation media, so you don't need to waste hours on updating once it's installed. This release includes KDE Plasma 6.0.4, with a choice of X11 or Wayland sessions, plus new nVidia binary driver packages direct from upstream, and improved installation and update tools. One thing it doesn't include, though, is an edition for Arm processors: due to a lack of manpower, the project dropped Arm support.

What's under the Big Purple Hat?

The next day, Fedora 40 came out, as we predicted when we looked at the release candidate. We covered the highlights then, but it may be worth noting a few things that have been removed from this version, including Delta RPMs, OpenSSL 1.1, and Python 3.7. Fedora 40's default is now Python 3.12, since 3.7 is end of life – but although it too has expired and gone to meet its maker, Python 3.6 is still available, in case you need to target RHEL 8.

Fedora isn't so much a distro as a whole distro family in its own right, in a profusion of different editions. The family has five main variants: Fedora Workstation is the flagship GNOME desktop, plus ten more Fedora Spins with different desktops and an additional four more Atomic Desktops, which are immutable graphical distros. Two of these, Fedora KDE Plasma Desktop and its immutable sibling Fedora Kinoite, include the latest KDE Plasma 6 desktop, with only Wayland sessions available by default.

Then, alongside these, there are Fedora Server, Fedora IoT for "edge" devices, Fedora Cloud intended for deployment into either local or remote VMs, and Fedora CoreOS which is a minimalist, immutable, self-updating container host.

We make that 19 different editions, so there should be something for everyone in there. Although Fedora doesn't have LTS releases as such, it is the upstream for the somewhat-maligned CentOS Stream, which is Red Hat's slower-moving free enterprise distro. Many Red Hat users favored Stream's predecessor, CentOS Linux, for its much closer RHEL compatibility, but even so, CentOS Stream has some very large scale users. For example, the Building the Future talk at the 2022 South California Linux Expo confirmed that Facebook parent Meta uses CentOS Stream extensively. Fedora 40 is going to be the basis for the future CentOS Stream 10, which in turn means that one day it will become RHEL 10.

Over in orange country

Just a day after Fedora 40 came Ubuntu 24.04 "Noble Numbat". This is a long-term support release, so some people will be using this at least until 2026 or so – although users of the current LTS, 22.04 "Jammy Jellfish", won't get a message offering to upgrade until 24.04.1, which is planned to appear on August 15th. If you are using 23.10, though – perhaps in an attempt to get fewer nags about Ubuntu Pro – you will get nudged much sooner.

Canonical started some twenty years ago, meaning that 24.04 is also the company's tenth LTS release – the first being Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake", which is when the Reg started to cover this upstart distro, aside from a passing mention of 5.04 "Hoary Hedgehog".

To get an idea of what to expect, we looked at the beta version a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the others, this release doesn't feature KDE Plasma 6 – or LXQt 2 – although the Qt based flavors will offer updates later.

Away from the shiny desktop side of things, some of the fresh features include support for the new bcachefs file system, and the kernel will include low-latency support by default. It also includes frame pointers by default, which has a very small performance overhead – less than a per cent – but enables profiling with bpftrace among other tools. For more information, the Noble kernel has its own release notes.

For the first time, the server and main desktop edition both use the new Subiquity installer, with improved installation automation support. "Noble" offers experimental support for TPM-backed full-disk encryption, and for guided installation onto ZFS. Noble supports Intel's QuickAssist compression and cryptography acceleration if the host machine has the appropriate Intel chippery. There's some Redmond-hued integration including .NET 8, as well as automatic enrollment into Microsoft Active Directory thanks to ADSys GPO support.

The company has full release notes, although it's leaving the notes for its individual flavors up to the respective projects. The Reg FOSS desk has not looked at all the flavors yet. Two flavors have new releases of their respective desktops. Ubuntu Kylin 24.04 offers UKUI 4, which although underrated in the West is one of the more attractive Linux desktops out there. Ubuntu Cinnamon 24.04 includes the Cinnamon 6 desktop from the latest LinuxMint. Alongside the differences in Lubuntu and Kubuntu, which we already covered, there are interesting changes in Xubuntu and Ubuntu Unity, which we plan to return to in the near future.

Enter the Dragon(fish)

Although TrueNAS Scale 24.04 was also released on Tuesday, we've left it until last because this is a different sort of product to the earlier, more general-purpose distros.

Last month, we mentioned that iXsystems is relegating its FreeBSD based NAS distro to maintenance status, although the company reassured Reg sister site Blocks and Files that nobody would be marooned by the change. This means that the future of iXsystems' NAS OSes is the Debian Linux-based TrueNAS Scale. We mentioned in passing that this was then at version 23.10.

That has changed with the release of a new version, TrueNAS 24.04 "Dragonfish." As its release notes detail, this version is still based on Debian 12 and OpenZFS version 2.3.3 so it's not a huge change. All the same, the company has modernized significant components, including an updated kernel, version 6.6.20, based on the latest LTS kernel release.

The SMB and NFS status pages in the web GUI have been improved, and there's an optional backup status widget for the main dashboard page, and other parts of the UI have been streamlined. There's a new auditing logging feature to track which admin changed what setting and when. "Dragonfish" can talk to a FreeIPA server to do LDAP authentication.

The announcement flags two other features as contributed by the user community: TrueNAS Scale now offers Linux containers called Sandboxes based on systemd-nspawn, and there's a new Developer mode to aid customizing the OS, which is normally locked down to prevent this.

There's a full changelog with all of the dozens of fixes in this release. Our impression is that the path of TrueNAS Scale continues a strong corporate focus, which should be enough to distinguish it from the already crowded NAS distro field, many of which aim more at home users, media servers and so on. ®

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