3 min

Canonical is releasing the latest LTS version of Ubuntu today. This release, version 24.04 (codenamed ‘Noble Numbat’), includes upgrades to the GNOME UI and some important features and improvements under the hood. These include security features, greater compatibility with IBM hardware architectures and support for newer versions of commonly used programming languages. There is also .NET 8 support throughout the lifecycle of this LTS version.

End users will notice Noble Numbat uses the latest version (46) of the more or less default Linux UI GNOME. Further improvements are mainly under the hood. The Linux 6.8 kernel allows security modules to be “stacked” or combined, with each module contributing its own functionality. Other improvements include improved hardware compatibility and optimized power management for laptops.

The kernel features improved syscall performance, support for nested KVM on ppc64el, and access to the new copy-on-write bcachefs file system. This should prevent unnecessary data copies and provide efficiency gains. In addition, Ubuntu 24.04 LTS has integrated features of a low-latency kernel into the default kernel, which should reduce delays in scheduling kernel tasks.

Frame pointers are enabled by default on all 64-bit architectures to give administrators easier access to flame graphs, which help identify bottlenecks and improve the performance of deployed software.

Een computerdesktopafbeelding met een paarse achtergrond met Ubuntu-thema en een kroonsymbool met twee gestileerde leeuwen.

Support for .NET 8

Ubuntu 24.04 LTS supports programming languages such as Python 3.12, Ruby 3.2, PHP 8.3 and Go 1.22, emphasising the user experience for .NET, Java and Rust developers. One notable addition is support for .NET 8, which is supported throughout the lifecycle of both Ubuntu 24.04 LTS and 22.04 LTS. This allows developers to upgrade their applications to newer .NET versions before upgrading their Ubuntu release.

In addition, this .NET support has also been extended to the IBM System Z platform, proving that Ubuntu is working to support various hardware architectures. This provides more flexibility and continuity for developers who rely on the .NET framework for their software development.

Canonical and Intel have teamed up to integrate Intel QuickAssist Technology (IQT) for this release. Intel QAT allows users to speed up encryption and compression, reducing CPU usage. That should improve the performance of networking and storage applications on Intel Xeon Scalable processors of the fourth generation and newer.

Customized developer UIs for Desktop

For the first time, Ubuntu Desktop uses the same installation technology as Ubuntu Server. This means desktop administrators can use image customization tools such as autoinstall and cloud-init to create custom UIs for developers. Its user interface has also received a makeover with a modern design built in Flutter, Google’s open-source UI framework.

Canonical says it plans to continue investing in Ubuntu on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as a premier platform for developers and data scientists. The Active Directory Group Policy client of the paid variant Ubuntu Pro now includes enterprise proxy configuration, privilege management and remote script execution for those managing mixed Windows and Ubuntu environments. As of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS, Ubuntu on WSL supports cloud-init. This allows users to set up scripts and metadata during virtual machine startup.

Installatiescherm voor Ubuntu met opties om "Ubuntu te installeren" of "Ubuntu te proberen", met het Ubuntu-logo.

Up to twelve years of support

An Ubuntu LTS version is maintained for ten years. Five years of standard support and an additional five years of Extended Security Maintenance (ESM). For a fee, you can add another two years of support. Typically, an LTS version of Ubuntu comes out every two years, with more minor releases in between. A new release happens twice a year, in April and October.

The beta version of Noble Numbat has been available since April 11. That was later than planned because of the backdoor found in the widely used compression tool xz. Canonical said it chose to do so to ensure users’ security. The company said it would rebuild all beta version binary packages created after the backdoor was committed to xz-utils. This allowed Canonical to guarantee that no binary in the builds of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS would have been affected.

Ubuntu 24.04 LTS is available for download here. See also the full release notes.

Read more: Beta release of Ubuntu 24.04 finally hits after more than a week’s delay