Jammy Jellyfish

This piece first appeared on the Until It’s Not Fun newsletter.

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As I am writing this, I am patiently awaiting the release of Jammy Jellyfish — Ubuntu’s 22.04 LTS release. The Ubuntu subreddit and IRC channels are ablaze with newcomers and veterans to Linux alike. Why is everyone so excited?

Well first, what is Ubuntu? Ubuntu is a fork (aka a distribution or distro if you really want to sound cool) of the Linux operating system. Linux is open source and widely used in servers and by tech people. There are many other distros out there: Mint, Arch, Manjaro, and many, many more. These come out when people don’t particularly like the features of another distro. That is the beauty of open source. People can download the source code for the entire operating system, make changes, and publish it as a new distro. For example, Sabily (now discontinued) was built as a fork off of Ubuntu. Someone wanted more support and tools for the Muslim tradition and added Arabic language support, a Quran study tool, and a prayer time tool to the base Ubuntu. Ubuntu stands out for being one of the most user-friendly Linux distros and stands as the closest competitor to closed-source Windows and MacOS.

Every two years in April, Ubuntu drops a Long Term Support (LTS) release. LTS releases are supported for ten years, during which Canonical (the “owner” of this particular Linux distribution) supports, patches, and maintains the software. What this means for users is the LTS release has quick security patches and less bugs for the lifespan of the release.

In between LTS releases, Canonical has developer releases that drop every six months but are only supported for nine months. This is where they test new features, minor bug fixes, and reliability changes that eventually make it into the LTS releases. These are for the tinkerers and developers that want to be on the cutting edge with the shiniest Ubuntu version. Users who download the developer releases need to update their operating system twice a year to stay up to date. This is why only individuals download these and not businesses and enterprises; it is a chore to switch a whole operating system over to a new version and no guarantee that everything will work as it once did. Why risk it when there is LTS support for 10 years?

Ubuntu is great for beginner hobbyists and anyone looking to get a feel for Linux without experiencing too much of a headache. All for free, you can experience open source first hand and really use your machine to its full potential. You join a community of tinkerers, DIY-ers, and problem-solvers. It is a fun playground to break things in and learn from them.

If you want to install Ubuntu for yourself, avoid doing it on the only computer you have. It is absolutely terrifying when it inevitably doesn’t boot on the first try if it is your first time doing this sort of thing. I was profusely sweating for at least six hours when I did this. Don’t get me wrong, I love using Ubuntu and I learned a lot but installing it on your only job-searching/coding/working machine is not for the faint of heart.

Have a great week.

I have the honor to be Your Obedient Servant,


^O ^X

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