Ubuntu 16.04 image

Introduction

Canonical released a new version of their Ubuntu operating system this april. This version packs a huge amount of new features and fixes.

This article talks about a few of these new features and changes. We’ll explain a few important points you need to consider when using or migrating to Ubuntu 16.04.

The Ubuntu 16.04 image offered is optimized and adapted by CloudVPS to incorporate changes suited for our traditional Linx XEN pv platform.

New in Ubuntu 16.04

systemd

“systemd” is a new way to start and manage software and services, the so called init system. Due to the use of systemd, most old init and upstart scripts are no longer compatible and should be ported. If you’ve created your own init/upstart scripts or use third-party init/upstart scripts, you might need to port these to systemd unit files. For more information, see this page: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/systemdForUpstartUsers

PHP 7.0

Ubuntu 16.04 ships with the latest version of PHP, version 7.0. PHP 7 brings a lot of new features as wel as many speed improvements. A full changelog and overview of new features can be found on the project’s website: https://secure.php.net/manual/en/migration70.new-features.php

Well known software projects like Wordpress or Drupal are compatible with this new version of PHP. If you use other, less known or self-written software it might not be compatible with PHP 7. Please make sure your software works on PHP 7 before switching to it in production. You can order a second VPS for testing purposes for example. It is not possible to downgrade the PHP version on Ubuntu 16.04.

OpenSSL 1.0.2.

The latest version of OpenSSL, the software used for encryption and authentication, for example the green lock when using HTTPS websitees, is shipped with Ubuntu 16.04. This latest version allows Apache, the webserver, is able to use http/2 with alpn (instead of npn). http/2 is a new version of the protocol and gives a big speed improvement.
You can read more on HTTP/2 here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP/2

apt

The package management system apt, used to install and manage software, is faster and shows more information. You can now do apt search instead of apt-cache seach for example.

Other new software

  • MySQL 5.7
  • Kernel 4.4
  • Apache 2.4
  • OpenSSH 7.2
  • snap packages
  • python 3 (python2 is not installed by default)
  • nginx 1.10 stable

For more information on this new release you can consult the changelog: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/XenialXerus/ReleaseNotes

Important topics

Upgrading from an older version

Although in theory it is possible to upgrade to a new version of Ubuntu, we strongly advise against doing so. Due to the large risk because of all the major the changes, the upgrade most likely results in a broken VPS.

If you want to use Ubuntu 16.04 you can order a new VPS via our website and migrate all sites and services like mail, databases. Test them on the new server and then change the DNS to point to this new VPS. For more information on migrating websites, consult our article: http://www.cloudvps.nl/community/knowledge-base/het-veilig-migreren-van-websites/.

Do keep in mind that when migrating, you cannot bring over the IP address of the old VPS. You will possibly need to change DNS.

Custom software

If you have custom software developed by or for you, make sure that you test it well before putting it in production on this new Ubuntu release. Make sure you have a backup and, if you have a system administrator or developer, consult them as well.

Downgrading

It is not possible to downgrade to an old version of Ubuntu on our platform. Do keep that in mind and make sure you have a backup (do a test restore as well) before upgrading.

Signed packages

Ubuntu 16.04 by default only uses digitally signed packages. If you use a third party repository where the packages are not signed, apt will throw errors.

Although it is possible to disable this signed packages check, we advise against it.

Known issues

Upgrading the kernel (via an apt-get upgrade) might throw errors regarding the bootloader:

    grub-probe: warning: disk does not exist, so falling back to partition device /dev/xvda1.

If you receive no further error messages then all is well.

If you have any questions regarding Ubuntu 16.04 you can contact our servicedesk via the telephone or an email to support@cloudvps.com.

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