• Archives

  • Categories:

A jellyfish and a mainframe

Happy Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) release day!

April has been an exciting month. On April 5th, the IBM z16 was released. For those of you who aren’t aware, this is the IBM zSystems class of mainframes that I’ve been working on at IBM for the past three years. As a Developer Advocate, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time digging into the internals, learning about the implementation of DevOps practices and incorporation of Linux into environments, and so much more. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with dozens of open source projects in the Linux world as they get their software to run on the s390x architecture. This includes working with several Linux distributions, and most recently forming the Open Mainframe Project Linux Distributions Working Group with openSUSE’s Sarah Julia Kriesch.

As a result, I’m delighted to continue to spend a little time with Ubuntu!

For the Ubuntu 22.04 release, the team at Canonical has already been working hard to incorporate key features of the IBM z16, which Frank Heimes has gone into detail about on a technical level on the Ubuntu on Big Iron Blog, IBM z16 launches with Ubuntu 22.04 (beta) support, and also over on Ubuntu.com with IBM z16 is here, and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS beta is ready. Finally, Frank published: Ubuntu 22.04 LTS got released

Indeed, timing was fortuitous, as Frank notes:

“Since the development of the new IBM z16 happened in parallel with the development of the upcoming Ubuntu Server release, Canonical was able to ensure that Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS (beta) already includes support for new IBM z16 capabilities.

And this is not limited to the support for the core system, but also includes its peripherals and special facilities”

Now that it’s release day, I wanted to celebrate with the community by sharing a few details of the IBM z16 and some highlights from those blog posts.

So first – the IBM z16 is so pretty! It comes in one to four frames, depending on the needs of the client. Inside the maximum configuration it has up to 200 Processor Units, featuring 5.2Ghz IBM Telum Processors, 40 TB of memory, and 85 LPARs.

As for how Ubuntu was able to leverage improvements to 22.04 to take advantage of everything from the AI Accelerator on the IBM Telum processor to new Quantum-Safe technologies, Frank goes on to share:

“Since we constantly improve Ubuntu, 22.04 was updated and modified for IBM z16 and other platforms in the following areas:

  • virtually the entire cryptography stack was updated, due to the switch to openssl 3
  • some Quantum-safe options are available: library for quantum-safe cryptographic algorithms (liboqs), post-quantum encryption and signing tool (codecrypt), implementation of public-key encryption scheme NTRUEncrypt (libntru)
  • Secure Execution got refined and the virtualization stack updated
  • the chacha20 in-kernel stream cipher (RFC 7539) was hardware optimized using SIMD
  • the kernel zcrypt device driver is now able to exploit the new IBM zSystems crypto hardware, especially Crypto Express8S (CEX8S)
  • and finally a brand new protected key crypto library package (libzpc) was added

This is a really interesting time to be a Linux distribution in this ecosystem. Beyond these fantastic strides made with Ubuntu, the collaboration that’s already taking place across distributions in our new Working Group has been exciting to watch.

Keep up the good work, everyone! And Ubuntu friends, pause a bit today to celebrate, you’ve earned it.

Jellyfish earrings!

Side note: I haven’t mentioned the IBM LinuxONE. As some background, the IBM z16 can have Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors, so you can already run Linux on this generation of mainframes! But the LinuxONE product line only has IFLs, meaning they exclusively run Linux. As a separate product, it can have different release dates, and the current timeline that’s been published is “second half of 2022” for the announcement of the next LinuxONE. Stay tuned, and know that everything I’ve shared about Ubuntu 22.04 for the IBM z16 will also be true of the next LinuxONE.