Experimenting with Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

Experimenting with Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa has been this weeks task. I have blogged previously about my Ubuntu Server Upgrade Considerations. With the release of a Beta version, I attempted an upgrade from 18.04 to 20.04.

screen shot from Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Image From OMG Ubuntu

18.04 to 20.04 Ubuntu Desktop Upgrade Disaster

This wasn’t on the server version but rather on a desktop version. Unfortunately, the upgrade was nothing short of a disaster. Everything seemed to have gone amazingly well until I rebooted. Grub refusing to work was my first problem. It turned out grub had installed to the wrong drive. After installing to the correct drive grub worked. The next issue I faced was rather more challenging. This was a show stopper. Logging into the system didn’t work. Somehow my user name and/or password got messed up during the update. That left me with something akin to a brick.

Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop clean Install – Partial Success.

My second attempt at getting Ubuntu Focal Fossa to work was doing a clean installation. Again this was with the desktop version rather than the server version. Everything installed smoothly, once again until I rebooted. Grub had the same issue as my failed upgrade (grub installed onto the wrong drive). Once fixed, Ubuntu started exceptionally quickly. The core system works very well even in this early beta release.

As the installation of various common packages commenced issues started to occur. Changes to python caused one of the biggest headaches. Many packages which rely on python 2 could not be installed via apt. There are replacement packages for python 2, however, the names do not match. Of course, this could be something waiting to be fixed before the full release. Webmin as well as many others couldn’t be installed due to missing python dependencies. Several hours later I added the repositories from 18.04 Bionic Beaver to my sources.list. This is not ideal but did fix my phyton dependency issues.

SSH-Server issues on 20.04 desktop.

Everything else went amazingly smoothly with one perplexing exception, ssh-server. I installed it as I always have using apt, everything seemed OK until I tried to ssh into the machine. Most of the usual ciphers were missing. Other machines were refusing to connect. In an attempt to fix this issue I added them manually into /etc/ssh/sshd_config. They added into the ssh client perfectly but not to the server. Each time I tried it was complaining about missing host keys.

sshd -T | grep "\(ciphers\|macs\|kexalgorithms\)"
Unable to load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_rsa_key
Unable to load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ecdsa_key
Unable to load host key: /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key
sshd: no hostkeys available -- exiting.

That is despite the keys being in /etc/ssh. Next I tried to regenerate the keys. This also failed.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure openssh-server
Creating SSH2 RSA key; this may take some time ...
3072 SHA256:naqDPlrNYyCP08MZxaawDqp3tEIsliNriW4S3M1PPlI root@sara-7200-2002A (RSA)
Creating SSH2 ECDSA key; this may take some time ...
256 SHA256:KFW+9neWP2UXM83LNwhM1/Jaspj5Opid5o3lPdXz6Us root@sara-7200-2002A (ECDSA)
Creating SSH2 ED25519 key; this may take some time ...
256 SHA256:XNwSF+/FBdcMfxitN91Zt7jS2i4JWkHxFI6L1R1p7Dw root@sara-7200-2002A (ED25519)
rescue-ssh.target is a disabled or a static unit, not starting it.
At this point, I was out of ideas, while I am sure others could have gone further this was the extent of the knowledge either myself or my friends could come up with. Perplexed I tried uninstalling and installing through Synaptic. I achieved the same result. I tried three more fresh installations with identical results. 

Ubuntu 20.04 Server – Total Success

Experimenting with Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa server, I had little hope of a smooth experience. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everything installed smoothly. Unlike the desktop, version ssh-server is offered during installation. I imported my ssh keys and completed setup successfully. Rebooting was equally as successful. None of the grub issues experienced after a desktop installation existed. Connecting to the machine via SSH worked flawlessly.

I set up a full LAMP stack successfully, along with every other application I could imagine wanting to run. Out of curiosity I also installed the Ubuntu Desktop on-top of the server installation. Following this success, I installed the server version onto a second machine, also with successful results. I have now been running both of these machines every day for two weeks.

MySql Version 8 Issues for 18.04 users.

Depending on the version your upgrading from, there are potential pitfalls with MySQL. Ubuntu 18.04 used a version of which defaulted to mysql_native_password. Focal Fossa ships with MySQL 8 which uses caching_sha2_password. Users upgrading from 19.10 will have already come across the issues this can present. Some of my applications were fixed by creating a user which was identified by the native password as described here. Some such as Opensimulator needed an edit to the MySQLD configuration settings to change the default authentication method to native password. This issue can be seen on their mantis.


After two weeks of Experimenting with Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa, I am very pleased with it. There were issues, but this is only a Beta version of the operating system. Once set up my experience is that is is a very stable and very quick operating system. I have done no benchmarking, this is purely an observation based on using the same machine with previous versions of Ubuntu and Windows 10.

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