Univention Corporate Server 5.0 released

The fifth major release of Univention Corporate Server is ready and available for download. UCS 5.0 contains new features, has a fresh look, comes with several improvements and bug fixes. The new version also uses a new core: UCS 5.0 is based on Debian 10 (“Buster”) and Python 3.

With UCS 5 focuses on the comprehensive update of the technical base with Debian Buster, Samba 4 and Python 3. Another highlight is the newly designed UCS Portal, which allows users and administrators to access apps and use them directly in the portal. Univention has said goodbye to the naming of master and slave as terms for the server roles, because they no longer correctly reflect the technical functionality and are thus linguistically outdated.

“With UCS 5, we have further improved the user friendliness and taken an important step towards the modularisation of our software. Thanks to this, UCS is the perfect technical basis for solutions such as the Sovereign Productivity Suite (SPS) or Phoenix, whose goal is to integrate IT solutions from various providers and achieve digital sovereignty“, said Peter Ganten, founder and CEO of Univention. “At the same time, we are creating the conditions to optimise UCS for use in federated cloud infrastructures such as Gaia-X and the Sovereign Cloud Stack.”

The most important innovations of UCS 5 at a glance

  • New UCS Portal: The portal frontend, now based on the vue.js-framework, provides a significantly improved accessibility, modern integration options and an overall leaner implementation. Applications start directly in the portal instead of in a separate window, so that users can work with them directly in the interface. Equally new is the integration of the management modules for administrators in the portal as well as the grouping of modules in theme folders for higher clarity. End users do not notice the conversion to vue.js, as all modules with the old and new framework are supported in parallel. CSS-based creation of themes is possible: Colours and fonts can be freely defined for all web interfaces provided by Univention. From now on, UCS will be delivered with a modern dark theme that can be supplemented by further themes.

  • Simplified installation from the App Center: Thanks to a new multi-select-function, several apps can be selected simultaneously to either install, update or uninstall them in one go. Via a dialog box you can select the UCS instances on which these are to be installed. Dependencies are checked during this process and required additional apps are suggested for simultaneous installation.

  • Modularisation of the Univention Management Console (UMC): The UMC modules are now integrated in the UCS Portal, so that administrators can access them directly from within.

  • Updated technical base: Compared to release 4, UCS 5 has been completely updated. It is based on Debian Stable “Buster”, which has been complemented by current packages such as Samba 4. In this course, Univention’s in-house developments to manage identities and systems were migrated from Python 2 to Python 3 and updated or improved in many areas.

  • Old habits have been cut off: UCS 5 no longer supports 32-bit installations and a few rarely used modules such as the Univention Virtual Machine Manager (UVMM) are no longer included in the scope of functions. For further details, see https://www.univention.com/blog-en/2020/12/ucs-5-0-discontinued-features/.

  • Goodbye master and slave – system roles renamed: In UCS 5, the core functionality of the role of a UCS instance is more clearly designated. Therefore, the domain controller “master” is now called “Primary Directory Node”, the domain controller “Slave” is now the “Replica Directory Node” and a simple member server of a domain is now called “Managed Node”. Find further information on the new system roles in the Univention blog: https://www.univention.com/blog-en/2020/11/farewell-to-master-and-slave-new-names-for-system-roles-in-ucs-5-0/.

  • Integrated dashboard & monitoring: UCS 5 no longer provides the Nagios server. Its alert functions will soon be replaced by the more modern Prometheus Alertmanager and Grafana® as being part of the UCS Dashboard.

Outlook

The extension UCS@school 5, tailored to schools and school authorities, is currently being developed and scheduled to be released just a few weeks after UCS 5. In addition, Univention is working on further dividing the functionalities in modules. In the future, these can be operated as containers in Kubernetes infrastructures.

Availability

As of now, UCS 5 is available with various paid subscription models with enterprise support and up to 7 years of maintenance guarantee. Univention continues to provide a free UCS Core Edition without support. The UCS 5 images and source code are available for download on the website.


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(This article is based on original articles by Alice Horstmann and Ingo Steuwer on the Univention site).