Even though it’s not the official announcement, but, Brad Gigg, team leader of kernel developers at Canonical, has mentioned the kernel version for Ubuntu 20.04 in his Ubuntu mailing list.
This may discourage the people who were hoping for the latest stable kernel 5.5 and get the hardware support for Ryzen or Navi GPU or Raspberry Pi 4. However, the Focal Fossa 20.04 will be based on the upstream Linux 5.4 kernel.
Why is Canonical relying on kernel 5.4?
The last date for the kernel freeze is April 9, 2020. It may be enough time to include the kernel 5.5 but Canonical will still rely upon the long-term support kernel 5.4.
If you’re not familiar with the development cycle of Ubuntu 20.04, check out the release roadmap for Ubuntu 20.04.
The purpose of the LTS releases is to provide long-term reliable support and stability for all the business, enterprise and home users. Hence, it is the best practice to feature all the components which are fully tried and tested.
The inclusion of kernel 5.5 needs the commitment to support and update continuously for five years as it is not a long-term release. Additionally, releasing a new kernel too quickly may also introduce some bugs and issues, and may not be suitable for the enterprise.
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Therefore, Canonical may want less effort and hassle-free components like kernel 5.4 LTS that have support until 2021 by kernel developers.
Here’s a solution to support the latest hardware
Even though Ubuntu 20.04 won’t provide the feature of the latest kernel, you still will be able to upgrade to newer kernels on Ubuntu 20.04.
You just have to wait until the 20.04.2 release that will have HWE kernel release. Then, you may update your kernel with HWE and run backport version with the latest feature on old kernels.
Note: Backporting is the process of making new software run on something old. A version of something new that’s been modified to run on something old is called a “backport“.
And for those who don’t know, Ubuntu releases at least two kernels: the most stable General Availability (GA) kernel which does not get updated until point releases and the most recent Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel which provide the newer kernel and X support for existing Ubuntu LTS releases.
For more details about the Ubuntu Hardware Enablements, you can read from the official site here.
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