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Ubuntu Core 22 wants to power the next generation of IoT devices

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Canonical, the company behind top Linux distro Ubuntu, has announced a new variant of the open source operating system, optimized for IoT and edge devices.

Dubbed Ubuntu Core 22, the new operating system is pitched as helping manufacturers meet the challenges of ensuring security and remote management at scale as IoT ecosystems grow larger and more complex.

Ubuntu has already powered some pretty colourful IoT use cases including Xiaomi’s recently released robotic canine, CyberDog.

What does it offer?

Ubuntu Core is apparently a fully containerised version of Ubuntu, which breaks down the monolithic Ubuntu image into packages known as “snaps” - including the kernel, operating system, and applications.

Canonical claims each snap has an isolated sandbox that includes the application’s dependencies, which makes it fully portable and reliable.

In addition, Canonical’s Snapcraft framework enables “on-rails” snap development which the company says enables rapid iteration, automated testing, and reliable deployment.

Every device running Ubuntu Core has a dedicated IoT App Store according to the developer, which it says offers users full control over the apps on their device, and can help them create, publish, and distribute software on one platform.

Canonical also says it guarantees transactional mission-critical over-the-air (OTA) updates to the kernel, OS, and that applications will always complete successfully, or roll back automatically to the previous working version, so a device cannot be “bricked” by an incomplete update.

The company says these snaps also provide delta updates to minimise network traffic, as well as digital signatures to ensure software integrity and provenance.

The newly updated operating system also offers a suite of security features out of the box according to Canonical, including secure boot, full disk encryption, secure recovery, and strict confinement of the OS and applications. 

But Canonical isn't the only company paying increased attention to IoT security.

ABI Research predicts the advent of Internet of Things (IoT) applications on 4G and 5G networks will drive the development of an $8 billion market for security services.

If you're interested in giving it a core, Ubuntu Core 22 is now generally available for download from here. (opens in new tab)

Will McCurdy

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.