Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” Release Date And Upcoming Features


Following the tradition of a regular Long Term Support (LTS) release every two years, the Canonical team is about to finish the development of the next LTS release, Ubuntu 20.04. (Now the final version has been released)

After Ubuntu 19.10, whose life support will end in July 2020, Ubuntu 20.04 is the much-awaited LTS with major updates and new features. So, let’s dive deep into Ubuntu 20.04 to know all about its release schedule and upcoming enhancements.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: Release schedule

If you don’t know, Canonical follows a 25-week schedule for October releases and a 27-week schedule for April. Hence, the development lifecycle of Ubuntu 20.04 includes the 27-week release schedule.

As listed in the Ubuntu wiki, here are the key events with the release schedule:

Feb 27, 2020: Feature freeze

In the 19th week, the Ubuntu team stops introducing new features, packages, and APIs.

They start focussing on fixing bugs in the development release.

Mar 19, 2020: User Interface freeze

At this point, no other updates occur in the user interface. Subsequently, the documentation process also starts, including the latest screenshots.

Mar 26, 2020: Documentation string freeze

Following all features and user interface updates, creating and modifying strings ceases in the documentation. However, if a string change is needed at a later stage, it would be added exceptionally with team approval.

April 2, 2020: Beta Freeze

It is the closing point for developers to experience Ubuntu before its final release and suggest any bug fixes or errors.

April 9, 2020: Kernel freeze

The kernel freeze is the deadline for kernel updates.

April 16 – Final freeze

The final freeze is the penultimate stage of the final release where the team confirms all fixes.

April 23 – Final stable release

Finally, the finished product launches for everyone at the end of the development cycle.

ubuntu 20.04 lts release

What Are The New Features In Ubuntu 20.04?

With the release date scheduled for April 23, 2020, the Canonical team has already revealed various changes that will be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04. Let’s discuss each.

New Theme Variant

The previous 19.10 came with a dark variant on the default Yaru theme. Extending it further, 20.04 brings a third variation choice with light controls and dark headers.

Do you know the GNOME tweak tool? Right? a tool that you always install to tweak the Ubuntu settings. But now you don’t need any tool to switch to a new theme as it’s available in default settings.

ubuntu yaru theme new
Yaru theme with light and dark variant

No Amazon App

Long-awaited demand from the Ubuntu community has now been fulfilled as Ubuntu 20.04 drops the pre-installed Amazon app from the launcher dock. Finally, one to-do task after installing Ubuntu goes down.

ubuntu amazon web app goodbye

Improved ZFS support

ZFS file system was introduced by Ubuntu in v19.10 but it was experimental at that time. With 20.04, the ZFS support further improves. However, it is still experimental.

Experimental ZFS
Experimental ZFS

GNOME 3.36

20.04 ships the latest desktop GNOME 3.36 which brings along an out-of-the-box user experience and new features. Among the visual designs, the login and lock screen gets a more polished and clean view with a multi-user grid structure.

User selection screen with grid structure
User selection screen with a grid structure

However, I noticed a misalignment of the text field in the login and unlock screen that now has no cancel button. Leaving that behind, you can now make your password visible using the unhide button.

Ubuntu 20.04 Unlocked Login Screen
Ubuntu 20.04 Unlocked Login Screen

Additionally, the notification tray gets a new Do Not Disturb toggle and furnished calendar, weather and world clock app. Especially for a parent who wants to control their child, 20.04 has a parental control app thanks to GNOME 3.36.

GNOME 3.36: Do Not Disturb Feature
GNOME 3.36: Do Not Disturb Feature

Linux kernel 5.4

The most important core component of Ubuntu 20.04 is a kernel which now features long term Linux 5.4. As a result, you now enjoy better exFAT support, lockdown mode, and other new hardware like Intel Comet Lake CPUs or initial Tiger Lake platforms.

Linux Kernel 5.4

WireGuard VPN

Here comes the most highlighting feature of Ubuntu 20.04 which adds support for WireGuard. With the release of WireGuard 1.0 and applause from Linus Torvalds, it is the latest open-source VPN service making buzz in the VPN industry.

Wireguard VPN for linux

Currently, Linux 5.6 includes the full support for WireGuard. Despite a long wait to ship Linux 5.6 to Ubuntu, you’re all set to use WireGuard in the latest Ubuntu 20.04 which backports WireGuard support on kernel 5.4.

Fractional Scaling

This feature brings huge relief to people wanting high-resolution displays with better scaling options.  Though it is not new to Ubuntu, you can now directly enable fractional scaling from the default settings screen display section.

Fractional scaling
Fractional scaling

Once enabled, you can choose scaling values between 100% and 200% with an additional three 125%, 150%, and 175%.

Snap Store

With Ubuntu 20.04, snap stores make way as a default tool for finding and installing packages and snaps, replacing the Ubuntu software center.

snap store
Snap Store

If you don’t know, Snap is an Ubuntu’s own universal packaging system to make the developer and user life easier. You can get all the snap applications of any version from the pre-installed snap store.

Other Enhancements

  • Pre-installed GameMode performance tool
  • Faster bootloader
  • OEM logo and beep sound during boot
  • Improved Thunderbold support
  • Updated Software
  • Well-furnished folder and icon design

Interesting facts about “Focal Fossa”

Ubuntu 20.04 is named Focal Fossa, do you know why?

The codename comprises of two words, “Focal” and “Fossa.” Here, Focal relates to the center or the most important part, and Fossa is a cat-like animal closely related to the mongoose family. You must have seen Fossa in Madagascar movie.

Do you know the support lifespan of Ubuntu 20.04?

As usual, every LTS release is supported for five years, which is further extendable up to 5 years for enterprise clients.

It means that Ubuntu 20.04 is the next long-term support (LTS) release following 18.04 LTS, it will be supported for ten years as an ‘extended maintenance release’ (ESM).

How To Upgrade Or Install Ubuntu 20.04?

If you’re using Ubuntu 18.04 or 19.10, you can directly upgrade by following the step-by-step instructions from our article. If you’re still on the 16.04, you need to upgrade to 18.04 first and then upgrade to 20.04.

Additionally, the daily build of Ubuntu 20.04 CD image server is also available for download. But it is highly recommended to use it only for testing as it is currently under the development phase and you must not use it on a production system.

For a fresh installation, click here to download the daily build. (Final Ubuntu 20.04 ISO is now available here)

Note: This is a continuously updated article about the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. We’ll be updating it to add new features that are going to be a part of the final Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release. Keep reading.

Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar

Sarvottam Kumar is a software engineer by profession with interest and experience in Blockchain, Angular, React and Flutter. He loves to explore the nuts and bolts of Linux and share his experience and insights of Linux and open source on the web/various prestigious portals.
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