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The Ubuntu 20.10 code name Groovy Gorilla, Yes, “Groovy Gorilla” is the development code name chosen for the next stable Ubuntu release, which is currently earmarked for general availability on October 26, 2020.

Now, I probably don’t need to tell you what a gorilla is — and if you don’t know, I don’t believe you !!, and the term groovy is… Well, the dictionary definition of “Groovy” describes it as an informal adjective meaning ‘fashionable and exciting’, e.g., “That’s a groovy new wallpaper!” or generally ‘excellent, e.g., “A groovy release filled with greatness”.

Ubuntu 20.10 establishes another milestone in Canonical’s long-term commitment to delivering a carrier-grade private cloud with “Groovy Gorilla”. The 33rd release of the most popular Linux distribution in the data center space, Groovy Gorilla, brings various improvements that enable easier consumption of the fast-networking stack across both VMs and containers, straightforward compliance with common security benchmarks and a reference telco cloud implementation.

Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” is a short-term release supported for 9 months until July 2021. So, with its imminent release on 22nd Oct 2020, Ubuntu 20.10 will be getting support from Canonical till July 2021. This includes access to new app releases, bug-fixes, and security patches. This release mostly the testbed for the latest application, Kernel stack to provide users stable packages back to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

I personally have been using it for the past couple of days, and it’s reasonably stable. It also feels snappier compared to its predecessor, which isn’t a surprise considering it was primarily focusing on performance enhancements.

That being said, I won’t keep you waiting with the formalities. I know you came here to get a tour of what’s new with Ubuntu 20.10, and I have put together a few new changes in Ubuntu 20.10. Only you can feel the exact changes when you start using it.

let’s what’s new in latest Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla”;

 

Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Some Major Features:

Linux Kernel 5.8

When development for Ubuntu 20.10 started, it was based on Ubuntu 20.04 and used the same kernel base – Linux kernel 5.4 LTS. But then, Linus Torvalds released Linux kernel 5.8 in May, and everyone in the Linux community was suspecting that “Groovy Gorilla” will ship with it.

Now, after a long wait, the Linux 5.8 kernel has popped up in the Ubuntu 20.10 archives, and that too only a month ago. This means that the new iteration of the popular Linux distro will benefit from the sweep of features that comes with the new kernel.

Some notable examples include:

  • Airtime Queue limits for better WiFi connection quality
  • Btrfs RAID1 with 3 and 4 copies and more checksum alternatives
  • USB 4 (Thunderbolt 3 protocol) support added
  • X86 Enable 5-level paging support by default
  • Intel Gen11 (Ice Lake) and Gen12 (Tiger Lake) graphics support
  • Initial support for AMD Family 19h (Zen 3)
  • Thermal pressure tracking for systems for better task placement wrt CPU core
  • XFS online repair
  • OverlayFS pairing with VirtIO-FS
  • General Notification Queue for key/keyring notification, mount changes, etc.
  • Active State Power Management (ASPM) for improved power savings of PCIe-to-PCI devices
  • Initial support for POWER10

 

Easy Wi-Fi Hotspot Configuration

The Wi-Fi tab in “Settings” allows you to use your laptop as a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you scan the QR code with a mobile device, like your smartphone or tablet, it will connect to your hotspot.

 

Security Improvements

  • nftables is now the default backend for the firewall.

 

Ubuntu 20.10 Desktop

  • Ubuntu 20.10 is the first Ubuntu release to feature desktop images for the Raspberry Pi 4.

 

GNOME 3.38

Ubuntu 20.10 is shipping with GNOME 3.38 out of the box, released on 16th Sept 2020. It is a welcome upgrade over GNOME 3.34, which is being used in Ubuntu 20.04 by default.

 

GNOME 3.38 brings many excellent features and functionalities to the table. Here is a list going over the most notable ones:

  • Better Fingerprint Support
  • Intelligent Web Tracking Prevention
  • Updated GNOME Maps with Performance and UI Improvements
  • A Redesigned Sound Recorder and Screenshot App
  • Support for QR Code WiFi Hotspot
  • Tons of New Default Wallpaper
  • Folder Support in Application Grid
  • Restart Button Added to System Tray
  • New Icons for Various Apps
  • New Parental Controls Under Settings

Apart from this, you will get to see many more bells and whistles. We have a detailed article covering the best features in GNOME 3.38 if you are looking for more information.

Now, as you know, Ubuntu is not known for shipping with vanilla GNOME. As such, you won’t get the authentic experience that was intended by the GNOME developers. We will talk more about the new interface and overall end-user experience in a later section.

 

ZFS Becomes Less Experimental

The Ubuntu Unity installer hasn’t changed significantly. The installation process is almost the same as it was on Ubuntu 20.04, and the black disk checking screen is the same.

 

One notable change is tucked away in the “Advanced Features” dialog box. The ZFS file system installation option no longer has the word “Experimental” in capital letters beside it. Confidence must be building within Canonical about the durability and readiness of its ZFS implementation as a daily driver file system.

After you install Ubuntu 20.10 and sign in, you’ll see the Groovy Gorilla, positioned prominently amidst the familiar purple hues of the Ubuntu color palette.

He looks like an ape that’s got it together, but let’s see if that’s true.

Updated Applications:

  • Firefox version 81
  • LibreOffice version 7.0.2
  • Thunderbird version 78.3.2

Updated Subsystems:

  • BlueZ 5.55
  • NetworkManager 1.26.2

Noteworthy changes Ubuntu 20.10 Server:

  • squid: the NIS basic authentication helper was removed (LP: #1895694 34)
  • adcli and realmd: many upstream fixes were applied to these packages, improving on the compatibility with current Active Directory changes
  • samba 4.12 40 has switched to GnuTLS for most of its cryptographic operations and that has a huge performance improvement in SMB3 encryption
  • QEMU was updated to the 5.0 release. See the upstream changes 40 for an overview of the many improvements.
  • One noteworthy new feature is virtiofs 42 which allows better sharing of host file systems to the guest compared to the older 9p fs 4 based approach.
  • Libvirt has been updated to version 6.6. See the upstream Changelogs 34 for the many improvements and fixes since version 6.0 that was in Focal.
  • Libvirt 6.6 also supports the new virtiofs that was mentioned in the QEMU section above.

 

System Requirements for Ubuntu 20.04:

  • 2 GHz dual-core processor
  • 4 GiB RAM (but 1 GiB can work)
  • 25 GB of hard-drive space
  • VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
  • Either of the two: a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media

Note: Optionally, Internet access is helpful.

 

Download Ubuntu 20.10

You can download Ubuntu 20.10 for 64-bit computers using the link below:

As the Ubuntu 20.10 desktop image is 2.9GB in size do make sure you’re on a decent internet connection before you hit the download button!

When the download completes you need write the Ubuntu 20.10 ISO image to a USB stick using a tool like Etcher. Then pop the USB in an empty port, reboot your computer, and choose to boot from the USB.

You can also upgrade to Ubuntu 20.10 from an earlier version.

 

November 2nd, 2020

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Linux Mint is undoubtedly one of the best beginner-friendly and tough competitors of the most famous Ubuntu Linux. One of the reasons can be credited to its upstream codebase. Since Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro, it uses the codebase of the latest Ubuntu long term support version.

Linux Mint 20

Linux Mint 20

After ending 2019 with the release of Linux Mint 19.3, the Linux Mint team is ready to roll out its first version with long-term support in 2020. As already revealed in their monthly blog, the upcoming Linux Mint 20 will be based on the next Ubuntu 20.4 LTS. So, in this article, I’m going to discuss everything about the new changes and release date of Mint 20.

 

Interesting Fact About Linux Mint Codename

Most of the Linux distros follow a particular pattern to give a codename for each version — for instance, Ubuntu uses a two-word adjective and animal name. Likewise, Linux Mint titles every release a female codename alphabetically. Therefore, starting with the Mint 1 “Ada” and the latest Mint 19.3 “Tricia,” and this is Linux Mint 20, codename Ulyana.

 

New features in Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon

Linux Mint 20 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2025. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop on a gaming desk be more comfortable experience.

 

Monitor frequency adjustment

Frequency modification of monitors is a long-sought demand by the Mint community. Consequently, Mint 20 now includes monitor frequency adjustment. This means you will be able to choose the frequency in the Cinnamon 4.6 display settings.

Linux-Mint-20-—-Monitor-display-setting

Linux-Mint-20-—-Monitor-display-setting

 

Fractional Scaling

Linux Mint 20 ships the Cinnamon 4.6 desktop environment that introduces fractional scaling. Hence, instead of either 100% (normal mode) or 200% (HiDPI mode) scaling for all monitors, you can now configure the scale value between 100% and 200% for each monitor independently. If you use high-resolution displays, it’ll be a big relief for you to have a better scaling option.

 

NVIDIA Optimus

Linux Mint 20 features improved support for NVIDIA Optimus.

The NVIDIA Prime applet now shows your GPU renderer and you can select which card to switch to straight from its menu.

nvidia

nvidia

The NVIDIA “On-Demand” profile is also now fully supported. When you run in that mode, it is your Intel card which renders the session and a menu option is available to let you offload a particular application to your NVIDIA card.

nvidia-cinnamon

nvidia-cinnamon

Select an application in the menu, right-click and select “Run with NVIDIA GPU”. It’s that simple.

 

Mint-Y Theme

“Themes” applet is one of the unique features of Linux Mint that allows you to choose or install new themes and icons. In addition to that, Linux Mint 20 introduced two new colors, Pink and Aqua, in the default Mint-Y theme.

Furthermore, the Mint-Y theme now has a brighter color than before. Here’s a comparison of some of the old colors (on the left) with some of the new ones (on the right):

Linux-Mint-20-—-New-color-In-Mint-Y-theme

Linux-Mint-20-—-New-color-In-Mint-Y-theme

From the command-line, two new commands are available to offload to GLX or to Vulkan:

  • nvidia-optimus-offload-glx
  • nvidia-optimus-offload-vulkan

To boost compatibility and make it easier to boot Linux Mint 20 in live mode without NVIDIA drivers, “nomodeset” was also added to the “Compatibility Mode”.

 

Warpinator

The star of the show in Linux Mint 20 is a new application called Warpinator.

10 years ago, Linux Mint 6 featured a tool called “Giver” which could share files across the local network. Without any server or configuration, computers would automatically see each other’s and you could simply drag and drop files from one to another. When the Giver project was discontinued it had to be removed from Linux Mint and we’ve been missing that functionality ever since.

warpinator1

warpinator1

Warpinator is a reimplementation of Giver. Server configuration (FTP, NFS, Samba) is overkill for casual file transfers between two computers, and it’s a real pity to use external media (Internet services, USB sticks, external HDDs) just to share files when there’s a local network which could do just that.

With Warpinator, Linux Mint 20 brings back easy file sharing across the local network.

The main window shows you the computers on the local network which are also running Warpinator:

warpinator

warpinator

By clicking on a computer, you can see more information about it and exchange files with it:

No more USB sticks or external drive are needed just to send a file.

 

Other Enhancements In Linux Mint 20

  • Smooth Multi-monitor support
  • Use of middle-click button in Cinnamon’s keyboard applet
  • Better looking system tray
  • A new user interface for Gdebi tool

 

Linux Mint 20 Release Date And ISO Download

The Mint team has now officially released a new long-term Linux Mint 20 that will be supported until 2025. ISO images of any of the three Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce edition are available to download from the official download page.

For further details, see Mint’s Snap documentation. You can read more on Mint’s arguments against Snap, and Ubuntu’s attempt to make peace with Mint and decide for yourself if you want to use Snap on Mint.

Of course, the usual selection of Linux desktop programs come ready to run. These include Firefox 77 for web browsing; LibreOffice 6.4.2 for your office needs; and Thunderbird 68.7 for email.

Overall, Mint remains a pleasure to use. I really wish Mint included Snap. Most desktop program developers agree that it, and its rival Flatpak, are the future for Linux desktop apps.

Looking ahead, Linux Mint 20 will receive security updates until 2025. Until 2022, future versions of Linux Mint will use the same package base. This means it will be trivial to upgrade to the next few versions.

If you’re new to Mint and want to give it a try, check out my How to install Linux Mint on your Windows PC article. It’s easy to do whether you want to wipe out Windows, run it with Windows, or just give it a trial run using a USB stick with persistent storage.

Beside all, get the Linux Mint 20 pre-installed and ready to run with eracks systems.

July 2nd, 2020

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Ubuntu follows the release cycle of the new version twice a year, with one released in April and the other released in October, accompanied by many important improvements. The 2020 version will be Ubuntu 20.04 with the Focal Fossa identifier, which is expected to be released to global users starting April 23 next year.The codename of the official Ubuntu updates is chosen in alphabetical order, and is made up of 2 words, the first word is adjective and the second word will be noun, which is specific here as a certain animal is in danger of extinction, or sometimes mythical creatures such as Unicorns or Werewolfs (Wolves).

focalfossa

focalfossa

We have the Focala version of April 2020 with the word ‘Focal’ meaning ‘necessary’ and the Fossa is a carnivore that looks like a lynx, which can only be seen now. in Madagascar.

This is an interesting and unique code naming that only Ubuntu applies, giving users a sense of both curiosity and memorable.

However, the code names of Ubuntu releases sometimes reveal some of the characteristics of the releases. Ubuntu 20.04 will not only be an important release (with long term service), but also contain the strengths commonly found in Fossa species such as flexibility, agility and dominance.

In short, Ubuntu 20.04 is the LTS version, so the main focus of this release will be to bring stability and reliability to users. Focal Fossa came with lots of improvements, bug fixes, and especially new features. Let’s see some of them!

 

New Features in 20.04 LTS

 

Installer

The live server installer is now the preferred media to install Ubuntu Server on all architectures.

Besides architecture support, the main user visible new features are support for automated installs and being able to install the bootloader to multiple disks (for a more resilient system).

Installer

Installer

There have been many other fixes under the hood to make using encryption easier, better support installing to multipath disks, more reliable installation onto disks that have been used in various ways and allowing failures to be reported more usefully.

Linux Kernel

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is based on the long-term supported Linux release series 5.4. Notable features and enhancements in 5.4 since 5.3 include:

  • Support for new hardware including Intel Comet Lake CPUs and initial Tiger Lake platforms, AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs, Arcturus and Renoir APUs along with Navi 12 + Arcturus power features.
  • Support has been added for the exFAT filesystem, virtio-fs for sharing filesystems with virtualized guests and fs-verity for detecting file modifications.
  • Built in support for the WireGuard VPN.
  • Enablement of lockdown in integrity mode.

Other notable kernel updates to 5.4 since version 4.15 released in 18.04 LTS includes support for AMD Rome CPUs, Radeon RX Vega M and Navi GPUs, Intel Cannon Lake platforms. support for raspberry pi (Pi 2B, Pi 3B, Pi 3A+, Pi 3B+, CM3, CM3+, Pi 4B), Significant power-saving improvements. Boot speed improvements through changing the default kernel compression algorithm to lz4 (in Ubuntu 19.10) on most architectures, and changing the default initramfs compression algorithm to lz4 on all architectures.

Toolchain Upgrades 🛠

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS comes with refreshed state-of-the-art toolchain including new upstream releases of glibc 2.31, ☕ OpenJDK 11, rustc 1.41, GCC 9.3, 🐍 Python 3.8.2, 💎 ruby 2.7.0, php 7.4, 🐪 perl 5.30, golang 1.13.

GNOME and visual improvements

Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa comes with installed. It’s chock-full of visual improvements, resulting in better performance and a more aesthetically pleasing graphical experience. There’s also a new lock screen design and support for fractional scaling under X11.

GNOME 3.36

GNOME 3.36

A sleeker theme

GNOME’s new default theme is called “Yaru.” Even upon first loading into Focal Fossa, the desktop gives off a much more modern and sleeker vibe. This is mostly thanks to some color tweaks in the default theme and a darker wallpaper. The updated GNOME also allows you to choose between three different color themes: light, standard, or dark.

Network configuration

With this Ubuntu release, netplan.io has grown multiple new features as well, some of are as below:

  • Basic support for configuring SR-IOV network devices. Starting with netplan.io 0.99, users can declare Virtual Functions for every SR-IOV Physical Function, configure those as any other networking device and set hardware VLAN VF filtering on them.
  • Support for GSM modems via the NetworkManager backend via the modems section.
  • Adding WiFi flags for bssid/band/channel settings.
  • Adding ability to set ipv6-address-generation for the NetworkManager backend and emit-lldp for networkd.

ZFS support

Ubuntu introduced native support of ZFS in the 2019 interim release of Eoan Ermine. In Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa, ZFS support has been further improved, though still flagged as being experimental. When installing Focal Fossa, you have the option to use ZFS if you click “advanced features” when asked about how you’d like to format your hard drive.

The newest version of Ubuntu features performance enhancements for ZFS and support for encryption. Ubuntu has a ZFS system tool called Zsys, which provides automated system and user state saving. It also integrates better with GRUB so a user can revert to an earlier system state before booting into the desktop.

Acceptance of ZFS in the enterprise world is still shaky, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Seeing support for it on a really popular distribution like Ubuntu is pretty neat.

 

Python3 by default

In 20.04 LTS, the python included in the base system is Python 3.8. Python 2.7 has been moved to universe and is not included by default in any new installs.

Remaining packages in Ubuntu which require Python 2.7 have been updated to use /usr/bin/python2 as their interpreter, and /usr/bin/python is not present by default on any new installs. On systems upgraded from previous releases, /usr/bin/python will continue to point to python2 for compatibility.

Snap Store

The Snap Store (snap-store) replaces ubuntu-software as the default tool for finding and installing packages and snaps.

QEMU

QEMU was updated to 4.2 release. There is so much that it is hard to select individual improvements to highlight, here just a few:

  • free page hinting through virtio-balloon to avoid migrating unused pages which can speed up migrations
  • PPC: NVIDIA V100 GPU/NVLink2 passthrough for spapr using VFIO PCI
  • Many speed improvements for LUKS backend
  • pmem/nvdimm support

For trimmed down container like isolation use-cases the new qemu has the microvm machine type which can be combined with the qboot ROM (available as bios-microvm.bin) to provide a reduced feature set at a much faster startup time. To further emphasize that you can use the package qemu-system-x86-microvm which provides an alternative QEMU binary stripped of all features not needed these use cases as sugegsted by the qboot ROM.

libvirt

libvirt was updated to version 6.0. See the upstream change log for details since version 5.6 that was in Ubuntu 19.04 or further back since verison 4.0 that was in Ubuntu 18.04.

Chrony

Chrony been updated to version 3.5 which provides plenty of improvements in accuracy and controls. Furthermore, it also adds additional isolation for non-x86 by enabling syscall filters on those architectures as well.

To further allow feeding Hardware time into Chrony the package GPSD is now also fully supported.

But still for simple time-sync needs the base system already comes with systemd-timesyncd. Chrony is only needed to act as a time server or if you want the advertised more accurate and efficient syncing.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa”

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa”

There are a lot of other changes as well. To experience all the changes and improvements it is recommended to use and experiences this version of your own.

As of late April, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” is now available on all eRacks systems, both Desktop and Server.

It should appear in the “Operating system” dropdown when you configure your system, and is the default on many / most of our systems.

If you don’t see it, or if you this it should be the default, (or shouldn’t!), please let us know – We are always listening for feedback!

May 15th, 2020

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Fedora 32 is now available on eRacks Systems! Check Out The New Features of Fedora 32.
fedora32

fedora32

Fedora has done it again. The fruit of their labor is now ready for the masses to enjoy. Fedora 32 will definitely strike the chord for most of its users and the ones who have a keen eye on joining in. Released on April 28th 2020 after a patient wait from the fans and enthusiasts, there are no more barriers to getting it on your hands because it is now officially out.

Outstanding New Features in Fedora 32

There are a lot of changes and new features abound in Fedora 32.  Let’s review some of them.

  • Binutils upgraded to Binutils 2.3
  • DNF (Dandified yum) improved (for better, more accurate counting of Fedora users)
  • GCC 10 compiler upgraded
  • Glibc upgraded to Glibc 2.31
  • Python upgraded to Python 3.8
  • Python 2 removed/retired
  • Ruby upgraded to Ruby 2.7
  • PHP upgraded to PHP 7.4
  • MariaDB upgraded to MariaDB 10.4
  • GNOME upgraded to GNOME 3.36(Fedora Workstation 32)
  • And many more

For a list of all changes introduced in Fedora 32 Core, refer to the official Fedora 32 Changeset.

 

GNOME 3.36

Fedora 32 Workstation includes the latest release of GNOME Desktop Environment for users of all types. GNOME 3.36 in Fedora 32 Workstation includes many updates and improvements, including:

Redesigned Lock Screen

The lock screen in Fedora 32 is a totally new experience. The new design removes the “window shade” metaphor used in previous releases, and focuses on ease and speed of use.

unlock-screen-fedora

unlock-screen-fedora

Better Applications Search

Powered by the talent and the evident hard-work invested in this new release, it is amazing now that you can now search applications like lock screen, power off, log out and many more in a beautiful layout. It integrates well with screens that can be oriented vertically or horizontally which makes it sweet to interact with.

New design on the settings App

Renamed to settings, the GNOME Control Center now has an easy to use side bar which embraces the user with an intuitive and fluid navigation through the settings arena. Additionally, the About category now has a more information about your system, including which windowing system you are running (e.g. Wayland)

Supports The New Extensions App

You no longer need to utilize the GNOME Tweaks tool to separately install/manage extensions. Fedora 32 features the new extension app which lets you manage GNOME extensions directly.

fedora-extensions-app

fedora-extensions-app

However, you won’t find it pre-installed. You will have to look through the software center to get it installed or simply type in the following command:

sudo dnf install gnome-extensions-app

Revamped Settings Menu

As part of the new GNOME 3.36, you will find the Settings app to be re-organized and more useful than ever before. You can get more information about your system and access the options easily.

fedora-32-settings

fedora-32-settings

Notifications Area Redesign With Do Not Disturb Toggle

The best thing about GNOME 3.36 is the notification area or the calendar pop-over redesign. And, Fedora 32 has it nicely set up as well in addition to the Do Not Disturb mode toggle if needed.

notification-area-design-fedora-32

notification-area-design-fedora-32

Redesigned Clocks Application

The Clocks application is totally redesigned in Fedora 32. It features a design that works better on smaller windows.

clock-app-fedora-32

clock-app-fedora-32

GNOME 3.36 also provides many additional features and enhancements. Check out the GNOME 3.36 Release Notes for further information

Improved Out of Memory handling

Previously, if a system encountered a low-memory situation, it may have encountered heavy swap usage (aka swap thrashing)– sometimes resulting in the Workstation UI slowing down, or becoming unresponsive for periods of time. Fedora 32 Workstation now ships and enables EarlyOOM by default. EarlyOOM enables users to more quickly recover and regain control over their system in low-memory situations with heavy swap usage.

For more details please visit the official Fedora Releases/32/ChangeSet.

 

To upgrade your existing Fedora 31 installation to Fedora 32, you need to run the following commands in terminal one by one:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh

sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-system-upgrade

sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-system-upgrade

sudo dnf system-upgrade reboot

You can also perform a clean installation of the Fedora 32 by visiting its download page and download the ISO file. Or click the link below:

If you feel like doing so, do give it a try or ask for the help from eRacks Systems’ experts.

May 5th, 2020

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The latest Linux Mint release, 19.3, codenamed ‘Tricia’, is now available on eRacks Desktop  and Laptop systems.

Simply select the ‘Linux Mint 19 latest’ choice from the OS dropdown, and we’ll get it done for you.

If you want the slightly older 19.2 release, or any other custom installation, just let us know in the “Notes” field, and we’ll do it.

Also, FYI, Linux Mint is mostly a Desktop system, but we’ll be happy to install it on any system you choose – just let us know and we’ll do a custom quote for you. (Or, again, just put it in the “Notes” field when you place your order).

j

January 1st, 2020

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Fedora 31 is now available on all eRacks systems.

Simply select “Fedora 31” in the OS dropdown – if you don’t see it on the system you want, let us know and we’ll see if it’s available / compatible.

FWIW, The performance reviews have been underwhelming:

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=fedora-31-benchmarks&num=1

But for decades, software executives have ignored better/faster in exchange for bloated/slower, with the excuse that since the hardware is faster now, it’s OK :-/

Grr.

j

 

November 5th, 2019

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The latest (non-LTS) Ubuntu 19.10, Eoan Ermine is now available on all eRacks systems.

Here are the Release Notes for it.

Simply select it from the OS choices in the “Operating System” dropdown while configuring your eRacks system.

UPDATE Feb 2020

As always, we can also install the pre-release / beta version of the next Ubuntu release, code-named Focal Fossa, which will indeed be an LTS release, and is scheduled for April 23, 2020 –

Just say you want Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa in the “Notes” field when you pace your order.

j

October 25th, 2019

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Ubuntu 19.04, aka “Disco Dingo“, is now available on all eRacks systems.

Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo)

Canonical – The company behind Ubuntu published its regular (non-LTS) version as Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) on April 18, 2019. The first Ubuntu 19.04 beta released on March 28. Other milestones during “Disco Dingo” development included feature freeze on February 21, 2019, UI freeze on March 14, 2019, and kernel freeze on April 1, 2019.

Up until this version, the codename of each Ubuntu release is traditionally made up of an adjective and an animal, both beginning with the same letter. But that’s only partly true this time – The word “Disco is actually both a noun and a verb rather than adjective. A disco is a type of club or party at which people dance to music, often under lights.

A “Dingo” is a type of feral dog native to Australia and known for its sand-colored coat. Dingo dogs hunt alone or in cooperative packs. Inspired by the nature of the Dingo (which often sulks off when humans are around) the word has become informal Australian slang meaning ‘cowardly’, e.g., ‘he dingoes his way out of the date’.

Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo is only the second Ubuntu release to use the letter ‘D’, following Ubuntu 6.06 “Dapper Drake” (released back in the land before time, aka 2006).

Since Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) is a non-LTS version (not a Long Term Support version), it will be supported for 9 months until January 2020. If you need Long Term Support, it is recommended you use Ubuntu 18.04 LTS instead.

This article for Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) provides an overview of the release and documents the known issues with Ubuntu 19.04 and its flavors.

Since the release of Ubuntu 19.04, everyone is talking about its Desktop Version. We’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to start with the Ubuntu 19.04 Server version first. Let’s what’s new:

Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) Server Updates.

Every time Canonical releases a new version, it brings many new and noticeable changes. Each new version improves the previous one and strives to provide better user experiences.

Canonical made many changes on Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) Server – the following are notable:

QEMU

In Ubuntu 19.04, QEMU was updated to the 3.1 release.

Migrations from former versions are supported just as usual. When upgrading it is always recommended to upgrade the machine types allowing guests to fully benefit from all the improvements and fixes of the most recent version.

Qemu now has virglrenderer enabled which allows to create a virtual 3D GPU inside qemu virtual machines. That is inferior to GPU pass-through, but can be handy if the platform used lacks the capability for classic PCI pass through as well as more modern mediated devices.

For more details, see the QEMU 3.1 change log.

LIBVIRT

Among many other changes worth to mention is the ability to have GL enabled graphics as well as mediated devices to be configured while still being guarded by custom apparmor profiles generated per guest. This is required for the use of GPU based mediated devices as well as VirGL (mentioned above in the QEMU section). For bringing these changes libvirt was updated to version 5.0.

DPDK

Ubuntu includes 18.11.x the latest stable release branch of DPDK. The very latest (non-stable) version being 19.02 was not chosen for downstream projects of DPDK (like Open vSwitch) not being compatible.

DPDK dependencies were reorganized into more or less common/tested components. Due to that most DPDK installations will now have a smaller installation footprint and less potentially active code to care about.

For more details see the release notes.

SAMBA

Samba was updated to version 4.10.x, and one of the big changes here is python3 support. In Disco, samba and its dependencies are all python3 only now, with the exception of tdb. tdb still builds a python2 package, namely python-tdb, but all the others, including samba itself, are python3 only.

Open-VM-Tools

To run well integrated as VMware guest Ubuntu 19.04 comes with the latest open-vm-tools version 10.3.10. Details about the changes can be found in the upstream changelog

Raspberry Pi

Ubuntu 19.04 comes with an easy way of enabling Bluetooth support on the raspi3 Ubuntu-server preinstalled images. Install the Pi-Bluetooth package (now available in multiverse) with ‘sudo apt install pi-bluetooth’.

Please note that supported Pi devices which have Bluetooth (at the time of writing, the Raspberry Pi 3B, 3B+, and 3A+) can have either serial console or Bluetooth support enabled at any given time (not both). With the Pi-Bluetooth package installed, edit it at ‘/boot/firmware/config.txt’ and set ‘enable_uart=1’ to enable serial console, or ‘enable_uart=0’ to enable Bluetooth. The change will take effect after the next reboot.

Open vSwitch

Open vSwitch has been updated to 2.11. This updated Open vSwitch version has support for the kernel versions 4.16.x and 4.17.x. Also the following features can be found on this version.

  • “mod-table” command can now change OpenFlow table names.
  • The environment variable OVS_SYSLOG_METHOD, if set, is now used as the default syslog method.
  • The environment variable OVS_CTL_TIMEOUT, if set, is now used as the default timeout for control utilities.
  • OVN-SB schema changed: duplicated IP with same Encapsulation type is not allowed any more. Please refer to Documentation/intro/install/ovn-upgrades.rst for the instructions in case there are problems encountered when upgrading from an earlier version.
  • New support for IPSEC encrypted tunnels between hypervisors.
  • ovn-ctl: allow passing user:group ids to the OVN daemons.
  • IPAM/MACAM add the capability to dynamically assign just L2 addresses
  • IPAM/MACAM add the capability to specify a static ip address and get the L2 one and it is allocated dynamically using the following syntax: ‘ovn-nbctl lsp-set-addresses <port> “dynamic <IP>”.’

Please read the Open vSwitch release notes for more detail.

OpenStack Stein

Ubuntu 19.04 includes the latest OpenStack release, Stein, including the following components:

  • OpenStack Identity – Keystone.
  • OpenStack Imaging – Glance.
  • OpenStack Block Storage – Cinder.
  • OpenStack Compute – Nova.
  • OpenStack Networking – Neutron.
  • OpenStack Telemetry – Ceilometer, Aodh, Gnocchi, and Panko.
  • OpenStack Orchestration – Heat.
  • OpenStack Dashboard – Horizon.
  • OpenStack Object Storage – Swift.
  • OpenStack Database as a Service – Trove.
  • OpenStack DNS as a Service – Designate.
  • OpenStack Bare-metal – Ironic.
  • OpenStack Filesystem – Manila.
  • OpenStack Key Manager – Barbican.

Please refer to the OpenStack Stein release notes for full details of this release of OpenStack.

WARNING: Upgrading an OpenStack deployment is a non-trivial process and care should be taken to plan and test upgrade procedures which will be specific to each OpenStack deployment. For Upgrading successfully please make sure you read the OpenStack Charm Release Notes for how to deploy Ubuntu OpenStack using Juju. Or simply contact eRacks Systemsexperts for help.

There are many other changes on newly released Ubuntu 19.04 non-LTS Server. Please read the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) non-LTS Server release note for more details.

 

 

 

Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) Desktop (And Kernel) updates.

Linux Kernel 5.0.0-8 “Shy Crocodile”

The Linux Kernel had its number bumped to 5.0.0-8 by Linus Torvalds, but not because of particularly noteworthy code changes. Usually, a significant number jump like this would echo an equally significant code or functionality change, but that isn’t the case. In an email to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, he explained:

The numbering change is not indicative of anything special. If you want to have an official reason, it’s that I ran out of fingers and toes to count on, so 4.21 became 5.0.

Torvalds went on to give a breakdown of the code changes in Linux 5.0:

This new kernel should be faster, too, as work was done to speed up the anti-Spectre and Meltdown code.

GNOME desktop 3.32

Ubuntu 19.04 ships with the latest GNOME desktop 3.32. This brings performance improvements, a host of bug fixes and some important new features. Beyond the visual changes, GNOME itself is faster and uses fewer GPU resources thanks to work done by both Canonical and the upstream GNOME team.

Of course, there’s a new wallpaper in latest GNOME desktop 3.32. But the first thing you’ll probably notice is a new icon on the desktop for your home directory. If you don’t like it, you can install GNOME Tweaks and use it to hide the home directory icon.

In keeping with modern “flat” design, the desktop’s top bar and launcher have solid-black backgrounds. The application menus have been moved back to each application’s window. They no longer appear in the toolbar. That’s a change in GNOME and not a design decision from Canonical. Some applications always kept their menus in their own application windows, which made the experience inconsistent. There were also some long-standing issues that were tough to fix. Now, that whole initiative has been canned in favor of a traditional menu placement—each applications menu is in the application’s own window.

Fractional Display Scaling (Possibly)

GNOME 3.32 includes support for fractional scaling, which is of interest to people with high DPI (Dots Per Inch) displays.

Unfortunately, in the modified version of GNOME supplied with Ubuntu, the fractional scaling settings are either hidden or not accessible to us. Eventually, a tool might allow access to these settings—or another means of accessing those settings will emerge from the user community. After all, they’re in GNOME.

Live patch for Reboot-Free Kernel Updates

Canonical introduced Live patch in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, only to remove it again in 18.10. It’s now back, complete with this new tab in Software & Updates.

Livepatch

 

Ubuntu 19.04’s Software and Updates app has a new tab called Live-patch. This new feature is intended to allow critical kernel patches to be applied without rebooting. For people using Ubuntu at home, on machines that get powered off frequently, requiring a power cycle to install a kernel update isn’t a hardship. If your Ubuntu computer is providing an external service or is hosting a website, it becomes trickier to try to schedule in the reboots.

New Icons and Visual Tweaks

The Yaru icon set has had a refresh, and new icons have been added to cater for more third-party applications. This icon set looks more coherent and slick. There’s evidence of attention being paid to the user interface all over. Files has had a facelift, and it looks crisp and feels responsive. That’s not a surprise.

Icons

 

Even the Terminal window has been polished up. The GNOME Terminal application has a new title bar with a prominent “New Tab” button and search icon.

The System menu has a new cogwheel Settings icon that replaces the old “crossed wrench and screwdriver” icon.

Application Permission Controls

GNOME’s Settings app now lets you control various application permissions. You can even choose whether or not each application can show notifications.

Application

 

Night Light Improvements

The Night Light feature changes the hue of your computer’s display, reducing the amount of blue in the display illumination as the sun sets. You can now configure the schedule for the Night Light yourself. You can also select the color temperature—or “warmth”—of the display when Night Light is activated.

Light

 

Updated Sound Controls

The Sound controls have been revamped. You don’t get more functionality than before, but the controls are laid out more conveniently and logically.

Sound

 

Raspberry Pi Touch Support

The bulk of the driver work in the kernel has been to graphics drivers, with enhanced support for displays ranging in size and capability—from the AMD FreeSync NVIDIA RTX Turing to the Raspberry Pi Touch Display. The Debian-derived Raspbian Linux already supported the Raspberry Pi Touch Display, but now you have the choice of using native Ubuntu with your Pi Touch.

There are many other changes as well. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Tracker is now included by default. This allows the desktop to keep track of recently used files and improves searching.
  • Right click handling is now “area” by default. This allows both two-finger right clicking and clicking in the bottom right corner of the touchpad
  • alt-tab handling now switches windows by default. Switching applications by default can be done with super-tab
  • Preview order of windows in the dock is now static and based on the order in which the windows were added
  • IWD can now be enabled for use with Network Manager. IWD is a new alternative to wpa supplicant and is in testing for consideration in the future.
  • Installing Ubuntu Desktop on vmware will now automatically install the open-vm-tools package to improve integration.
  • The Yaru theme has seen further refinement and updates and includes a new icon theme.
  • Safe Graphics Mode. A new option is added to the Grub menu which will boot with “NOMODESET” on. This may help you resolve issues on certain graphics cards and allow you to boot and install any propriatary drivers needed by your system.
  • The latest releases of Firefox (66.0) and LibreOffice (6.2.2) are available and installed by default.

 

 

Some of the Common New features and Updated Packages in both Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) non-LTS Desktop and Server Version.

Linux kernel 🐧

Both Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) non-LTS Desktop and Server are based on the Linux release series 5.0. It includes support for AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics processor, complete support for the Raspberry Pi 3B and the 3B+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, many USB 3.2 and Type-C improvements, Intel Cannonlake graphics, significant power-savings improvements, P State driver support for Skylake X servers, POWER memory protection keys support, KVM support for AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization, enablement of Shared Memory Communications remote and direct (SMC-R/D), Open for Business (OFB), and zcrypt on IBM Z among with many other improvements since the v4.15 kernel shipped in 18.04 LTS.

Toolchain Upgrades 🛠️

Ubuntu 19.04 comes with refreshed state-of-the-art toolchain including new upstream releases of glibc 2.29, ☕ OpenJDK 11, boost 1.67, rustc 1.31, and updated GCC 8.3, optional GCC 9, 🐍 Python 3.7.3 as default, 💎 ruby 2.5.5, php 7.2.15, 🐪 perl 5.28.1, golang 1.10.4. There are new improvements on the cross-compilers front as well with POWER and AArch64 toolchain enabled to cross-compile for ARM, S390X and RISCV64 targets.

 

There are many other changes on newly released Ubuntu 19.04 non-LTS verson. Please read the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) non-LTS release note for more or Disco Dingo Release Notes.

Get your system with Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) as pre-installed from eRacks Systems’ show room with Quote request. Or download Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) directly from below.

 

April 24th, 2019

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    Ubuntu 17.10, code named Artful Aardvark; I guess you already know that Artful means full of art or skill. And Aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. Colloquially, it is called African Ant Eater.

Nowadays Ubuntu become the world’s most popular desktop Linux operating system, and with its latest short-term support release, it’s clear Canonical want to keep a firm grip on the title.

Artful Aardvark

‘Artful Aardvark’ (Ubuntu 17.10)

As release with Artful Aardvark (Ubuntu 17.10) in October 19, 2017 Canonical continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technology into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark marks an all-new chapter in Ubuntu’s already rich history. As always, the team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

Ubuntu 17.10 Debuts with An All-New Desktop

This is the first version of Ubuntu to use GNOME Shell as the default desktop. ‘The HUD, global menu, and other Unity features are no longer included’. By choosing to drop Unity most of Ubuntu’s home-grown usability efforts also fall by the wayside.

Ubuntu 17.10 Desktop

Ubuntu 17.10 Desktop

In Unity’s place comes a bespoke version of GNOME Shell that is ‘customized’ to resemble something that’s superficially close to the Unity desktop layout. The Ubuntu 17.10 desktop uses a two-panel layout: a full-height vertical dock sits on the left-hand side of the screen, while a ‘top bar’ is stripped across the top.

The top bar plays host a new type of app menu, a calendar applet/message tray, app indicators, and a unified status menu for managing network, volume, Bluetooth and user sessions.

Ubuntu Dock

The new Ubuntu Dock is both a task manager and an application launcher. It shows icons for open and running software windows as well as ‘pinned’ launchers for user’s favorite apps.

Ubuntu Dock

Ubuntu Dock

The dock is also global; it displays icons/applications from all workspaces regardless of which one user is actually viewing.

Both the Ubuntu Dock and the top bar are semi-transparent, which adds nice visual presence. When a window touches either element the “dynamic transparency” feature kicks in to render both dock and top bar darker, making panel label contents more legible in the foreground.

Activities & Workspaces

The main “desktop” area remains a usable space on which user can place icons, folders and files.

Though there’s no longer a true global app menu, but the majority of apps place a small menu in the top bar bearing the name of the app in focus. These app menus contain a solitary ‘quit’ button at the least, or a full complement of options at most.

Workspaces

Activities & Workspaces

Workspaces are a common feature found on most modern desktop operating systems including Windows 10, so it’s a good thing that Ubuntu hasn’t ditched them. User can easily move windows between workspaces by clicking on a window and moving it on over the workspace.

Applications Overview

In Ubuntu 17.10 Applications are listed alphabetically, ordered into scrollable pages. User can launch an application by clicking on it, selecting it with keyboard arrow keys and pressing enter, or by touching it.

Applications Overview

Applications Overview

After years of ‘footnote’ releases that brought only minor tweaks, the ‘Artful Aardvark’ brings all-out with change, ready to usher in the new era. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.13-based kernel, glibc 2.26, gcc 7.2, and much more in Ubuntu Desktop. Let’s have a brief list view on some of those updates.

  • On supported systems, Wayland is now the default display server. The older display server is still available: just choose Ubuntu on Xorg from the cog on the log in screen.
  • GDM has replaced LightDM as the default display manager. The login screen now uses virtual terminal 1 instead of virtual terminal 7.
  • Printer configuration is now done in the Settings app: Choose Devices and then Printers. The tool uses the same algorithms for identifying printers and choosing drivers as the formerly used system-config-printer, and makes full use of driverless printing to support as many printers as possible.
  • The default on screen keyboard is GNOME’s Caribou instead of Onboard.
  • Calendar now supports recurring events.
  • LibreOffice has been updated to 5.4.
  • Python 2 is no longer installed by default. Python 3 has been updated to 3.6.
  • The ‘Rhythm box’ music player now uses the alternate user interface created by Ubuntu Budgie developer David Mohamed.
  • The Ubuntu GNOME flavor has been discontinued. If a user is using Ubuntu GNOME, he will be upgraded to Ubuntu.

Note: Install gnome-session and choose GNOME from the cog on the login screen if user would like to try a more upstream version of GNOME. If any user’ d like to also install more core apps, he’d install the vanilla-gnome-desktop met package.

 

    Not only the Ubuntu 17.10 Desktop but also, there are significant changes into the Ubuntu 17.10 Server version too. For the Ubuntu Server 17.10, the OS Version for the printing server has been increased to announce Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 ID mapping checks added to the testparm(1) tool. There are some ID mapping backends too, which are not allowed to be used for the default backend. Winbind will no longer start if an invalid backend is configured as the default backend. The others are as follows,

Ubuntu 17.10 Server

Ubuntu 17.10 Server

Qemu 2.10

Qemu has been updated to the 2.10 release. Since the last version was 2.8.

Among many other changes there is one that might need follow on activity by the user/admin: Image locking is added and enabled by default. This generally makes execution much safer, but can break some old use cases that now explicitly have to opt-in to ignore/share the locks by tools and subcommands using the –force-share option or the share-rw dqev property.

Libvirt 3.6

Libvirt has been updated to version 3.6.

LXD 2.18

LXD was updated to version 2.18. Some of the top new features of LXD 2.18 are:

  • Native Ceph RBD support.
  • Support for cloud instance types.
  • Pre-seeding of the “lxd init” questions through yaml.
  • New client library.
  • Improved storage handling (volume resize, auto re-mapping on attach, …).
  • A lot of small improvements to the client tool.

DPDK 17.05.2

Ubuntu 17.10 includes the latest release of DPDK that has stable updates: 17.05.2. This made it possible to integrate Open vSwitch 2.8.

Open vSwitch 2.8

Open vSwitch has been updated to 2.8. Though user need to specify dpdk devices via dpdk-devargs.

New BIND9 KSK

The DNS server BIND9 was updated to include the new Key Signing Key (KSK) that was published on July 11, 2017. Starting on October 11, 2017, that key will sign the root zone key, which in turn is used to sign the actual root zones.

Cloud-Init

The cloud-init version was updated to 17.1. Notable new features for cloud-init are as follows,

  • Python 3.6 support.
  • Ec2 support for IPv6 instance configuration.
  • Expedited boot time through cloud-id optimization.
  • Support for netplan yaml in cloud-init.
  • Add cloud-init subcommands collect-logs, analyze and schema for developers.
  • Apport integration from cloud-init via ‘ubuntu-bug cloud-init’.
  • Significant unit test and integration test coverage improvements.

Curtin

The Curtin version is updated to ‘0.1.0~bzr519-0ubuntu1’. New features are:

  • Network configuration passthrough for ubuntu and centos.
  • More resilient UEFI/grub interaction.
  • Better support for mdadm arrays.
  • Ubuntu Core 16 Support.
  • Improved bcache support.

Samba

Samba is updated to version 4.6.7. Important changes in the 4.6.x series are:

  • Multi-process Net logon support.
  • New options for controlling TCP ports used for RPC services.
  • AD LDAP and replication performance improvements.
  • DNS improvements.

    There are many other changes too. We recommend that all users read the release notes, which document caveats, workarounds for known issues, as well as more in-depth Release Notes.

    Users of Ubuntu 17.04 will be offered an automatic upgrade to 17.10. As always, upgrades to the latest version of Ubuntu are entirely free of charge.

Remember, here at eRacks, we offer pre-installed Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark with our new systems either directly from the OS dropdown, or by custom quote.

October 25th, 2017

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David Fubini has never been a CEO of a major corporation, but during his 34-year career as a senior director at consulting firm McKinsey, he had ample opportunity to work closely with and observe CEOs and leaders of all types in action—and to analyze why they succeeded or failed.

Fubini, a senior lecturer in the Organizational Behavior Unit at Harvard Business School, poured that knowledge, along with a list of lessons learned from researching leaders past and present into the book Hidden Truths: What Leaders Need to Hear But Are Rarely Told, published in December. The book is a leadership guide to navigating a role that Fubini says is unlike any other, which leaves many new CEOs and leaders struggling to find their footing.

“People strive for a long time to develop functional skills and operational knowledge and a track record of success, to reach a point where they can be the leader of an organization,” Fubini explains. “What’s shocking for most is that the skills and track record that delivered them to this role aren’t helpful once they get there.”

“WHAT’S SHOCKING FOR MOST IS THAT THE SKILLS AND TRACK RECORD THAT DELIVERED THEM TO THIS ROLE AREN’T HELPFUL ONCE THEY GET THERE.”

Not only do CEOs struggle to learn how to run a company from a lonely role at the top, but they often quickly find that the network of coworkers they relied on for years are no longer faithful allies. “They don’t realize that leaders have a different relationship with their subordinates, just by virtue of the hierarchy of organizations,” says Fubini, who led McKinsey’s Boston office for 10 years and also co-founded a global unit within the firm that aided mergers of some of the world’s top companies.

To help demystify the position, Fubini asked CEOs both past and present what they most wished they’d known before taking the top job—and what they learned that they least expected once they got there. “The things that came out were very heartfelt,” he says. “Some talked about how they failed at the challenge; others, how it was a crucible of learning that they ultimately worked their way through.”

Fubini distilled their insights into 15 chapters, each containing a lesson that could apply to leaders of any organization. Ultimately, he hopes the book will help current and prospective CEOs become better leaders. “If you peel back the curtain on leaders, here’s what it looks like,” he says.

Here, Fubini explains five key pieces of advice for business leaders.

1. Avoid half-truths and misperceptions

“When you are an advisor to an organization, as I was for three decades,” he says, “this is one that always seems to be relevant. In the book, I quote a former admiral who said he knew two things with certainty when he came onto a battleship: He was never going to get handed a cold cup of coffee, and he was never going to hear the whole truth.

“YOU HAVE TO BE OPEN AND CANDID AND SAY, ‘LOOK, TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE NOT TELLING ME.'”

“People coming into a new role will struggle because they get told only a portion of what they need to know. Once you recognize that it’s not human nature to tell you everything, you have to be open and candid and say, ‘Look, tell me what you are not telling me.’

“Some CEOs also perform a double-check by not relying only on what they’re told by one group, but also going back and having confirmative conversations with others. Others will go a few layers below the senior management team and engage middle-management, who are often willing to be absolutely candid and have a deeper understanding of what is really going on.”

2. Start change management by changing the management

“There is enormous value to changing out management because it unleashes frozen organizations and brings a change of perspective,” Fubini says. “And frankly, the broader body of the organization often welcomes the change. There are lots of examples where people come in and get told: We can’t do this. Let me tell you why this didn’t work. Because they are stuck in a status quo mindset.

“But you don’t have time for that—change is often a matter of speed. There’s also sometimes a belief that you don’t want to change out management because you will lose the institutional knowledge that exists there, and that will set you back. But the truth is, that institutional knowledge doesn’t rest with people who are directly reporting in the senior management team. It rests with the people below it.”

3. Use psychic rewards, not just monetary ones

“Money is critically important only up to a point [to employees], but the real motivation comes from an emotional connection that you feel—either that you are more highly valued than someone else because of the natural competitiveness of human nature, or the ego enhancement of being told how great a performer you are,” Fubini contends.

“If I tell you that you are highly respected and that your partners appreciate what you’re doing, you’ll break down walls to be successful. That could be a formal recognition that can take the form of giving you an opportunity to work on a committee of note, or tapping you as a speaker representing the company, or helping you find an advisory or board position.

“Or it could be more informal, by giving you recognition in a speech in front of your peers, or in an all-staff email. Those are the little things that leaders should do, but don’t do enough.”

4. Know when to leave

“People always feel like they have one more act,” Fubini says. “It’s a bit like when you are a skier traversing a field of moguls, and you keep saying: I’ll turn at the next one, or the next one, or the next one, and before you know it, you’re in the woods.

“YOUR LEGACY IS ENHANCED BY LEAVING WHEN PEOPLE ARE WANTING MORE.”

“In reality, very, very few people are wildly successful for an extended length of time. So you want to find an inflection point, where you can leave while you are at the apex, not past it—and most people miss that. Your legacy is enhanced by leaving when people are wanting more.

“One way of finding that moment is by talking to your kitchen cabinet or your life partner who is going to tell you the truth. The other clue is if you’re starting to have trouble retaining your really high-performing people, who are your natural successors, because they feel their way is blocked by you hanging around. That’s a true warning sign that maybe it’s time for you to move on and do something new.”

5. Strive for authenticity

“A lot of CEOs think they have to play a role, like an actor, and I really think that’s a failure signal,” Fubini says. “I’m a huge believer that you have to have some core beliefs that are true about yourself and hold onto them. And it comes from a centerpiece of being rooted in your values.

“It’s when you deviate from that and pretend to be something else that you fall apart. My terrific colleague Scott Snook always talks about the old scratch-and-sniff test, where you used to scratch and smell something from a magazine insert. When you are a leader, people are doing that with you all the time, assessing how credible you are. If you are faking it, people sense it very quickly—so you better live your values and be unapologetic about it.”

About the Author

Michael Blanding is a writer based in Boston.
[Image: iStockphoto/LL28]

What’s the best management advice you’ve heard?

Share your insights in the comments below.


Book Excerpt

Five Ways To Keep Connected

By David Fubini

Hidden Truths: What Leaders Need to Hear But Are Rarely Told

CEOs can slip into an isolated default mode without realizing it. Because they’re so busy and often surrounded by people, it feels as if they’re engaged and involved. Similarly, CEOs receive a stream of communication from a variety of sources, so they may not realize that they’re filtering out information they don’t want to hear by intimidating or ignoring people. And they may not admit to themselves or others how lonely or mentally exhausting the job is and try to “tough it out,” refusing to seek help from people they trust. Visit https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/harold-matzner.html.

As the previous section suggested, finding a confidante and making the company’s general counsel your best friend are two ways to counteract the isolating effects of the job. Here are five other steps you can take:

1. Fight your denial reflex. This is especially difficult if you’re a strong, authoritative leader who is reluctant to show weakness. It’s easier to soldier on and pretend you’re feeling no pain. Over time, though, CEOs pay a price for denial. They become more and more isolated, and eventually it takes a toll. Better to admit that you’re feeling drained and lonely and finding a way to manage these feelings.

2. Get off the pedestal. As CEO, people treat you differently than others; they are more reluctant to speak their minds, to tell you bad news, to disagree with your ideas. Communicate by word and deed that you’re open to all input. It’s not enough to say you want to hear bad news or that your door is always open. You really have to mean it and behave in a way that is consistent with these messages.

3. Communicate the importance of connectivity to your team. Make it clear to everyone in the C-suite that you expect openness, honesty, and trusting relationships not only of yourself but also of them—that these are shared requirements. Your people will mirror your behaviors, so recognize the value of modeling connective attitudes and actions.

4. Avoid recidivism. I’ve watched CEOs make efforts to connect for periods of time, but they then slip back into old, isolationist patterns. They don’t do this consciously, but if they’ve been traditional command-and-control leaders for many years and have been practicing connective behaviors for only a short time, they can become recidivists because of that long history. Be vigilant against returning to old habits.

5. Have the “best ears in the company.” Here’s a story that explains this last piece of advice. Bill Russell was one of the greatest players in NBA history when he played for the Boston Celtics, and his coach was the legendary Red Auerbach. In an interview with Russell, he talked about his coach and how he never really “played” for Red, since they “worked together” as a team. Russell recalled that Red would have conversations with each player, but that he tailored his style of communication to the needs of each. Despite the variation in styles, his goal was to hear what each player needed and adjust his coaching accordingly. Russell said that Red had “the best ears in the NBA.”

July 15th, 2017

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