Great news, guys! During October Open edX remote meetup Ned Batchelder and Joel Barciauskas, the Open edX engineering leaders, informed the community that Ficus, the next Open edX release, as well as future Open edX versions, will be built on Ubuntu 16.04. Ficus release should be available around the end of 2016. In addition, all currently deployed Open edX instances are built on Ubuntu 12.04, which will no longer be supported after April, 2017.
Transition to Ficus is important for the community, because on one hand it means new capabilities for Open edX development, while on the other hand it means the need for checking and updating custom Open edX modules in order for them to be compatible with Ubuntu 16.04.
Ubuntu 16.04 benefits were described in this review on Arstechnica and many others. The main new Ubuntu LTS capabilities include:
Much better security as compared to 12.04 version
Almost all known bugs and issues of previous Ubuntu versions are resolved and system performance is greatly improved
One more important reason to move to a new version timely is that when something bad happens on a supported OS version, you are covered by 4 years of LTS warranty. If something bad happens on outdated and unsupported system - you are pretty much on your own!
The other topic mentioned on the meetup was further implementation of Docker containers into Open edX development, which simplifies the Vagrant workflow greatly. As of now, it is not needed to be delivered to deployed instances, but developers should keep track of the process.
The full meetup recording can be found here:
To wrap it up, we recommend considering your Open edX instance compatibility check and/or transition to Ubuntu 16.04 before April, 2017 to be on the safe side. We’ll keep you posted on the news, so stay in touch!