UBUNTU in the form of binary code, 3D illustration.
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The real-time Ubuntu 22.04 LTS from publisher Canonical was released on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. Enterprises running the open source operating system can now run more demanding workloads and develop a wide range of time-sensitive applications, Canonical said.

As a real-time solution, it was designed to minimize the response time guarantee within a specified deadline. With a new enterprise-grade real-time kernel, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS can keep up with stringent low-latency requirements such as smart factory applications.

The newest release is based on the 5.15 version of the Linux kernel. It includes Arm architecture and the out-of-tree PREEMPT_RT patches for x86, which reduces kernel latencies. Arm has a part in projects like software-defined vehicles, smart industrial 4.0 factories, 5G vRAN functionality and energy-efficient Arm-based hyperscale data centers.

“The commercial availability of real-time Ubuntu on Arm demonstrates the power of open source collaboration and benefits the entire Arm ecosystem across the computing spectrum, from cloud to edge,” said Mark Hambleton, vice president of open source software at Arm.

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What is real-time Ubuntu 22.04 LTS?

The real-time kernel can be applied across Ubuntu variants, and it has two options for deployment, Canonical said. The first option, Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS, is available through the Ubuntu Pro subscription service. A free tier is available for personal and small-scale commercial use.

Enterprise customers can also access Ubuntu Core 22 with the real-time kernel through Canonical’s IoT App Store. This version is the fully containerized Ubuntu variant optimized for edge devices. It includes state-of-the-art security features, from full-disk encryption to strict confinement.

Ubuntu emphasized that upgrades are not limited to patches and occasional bug fixes. Instead, the Ubuntu Core is designed to have a lifetime of a decade, getting robust software updates throughout.

Potential applications include telecommunications, robotics, vehicles

The real-time Ubuntu kernel was designed specifically to meet telecom network transformation needs for 5G. Canonical noticed that workloads requiring quality of service, low latency and jitter are steadily moving to Ubuntu. In response, the company is leaning into the ultra-low latency and security required for critical telecom infrastructure.

The new Ubuntu release is also tuned for robotics and automation. Support for real-time compute allows for more options when it comes to industrial PCs, human-machine interfaces and other Industry 4.0 use cases that use Linux. Determinism is critical in these cases, after all.

Canonical said that tech-forward industrial organizations often deploy workloads requiring a real-time OS running on their edge servers or have real-time control loops with stringent response times.

“Ubuntu-certified hardware is an ideal solution for enterprises shipping embedded Linux in production,” said Eric Kao, director at Advantech. “We have large-scale, mass deployments of Ubuntu boards underway.”

Software-defined vehicles are another industry that could feel a big impact. Canonical’s OTA updates and long-term security maintenance for real-time Ubuntu helps OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers build vehicle strategies around reliable open-source solutions.

“The real-time Ubuntu kernel delivers industrial-grade performance and resilience for software-defined manufacturing, monitoring and operational tech,” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO at Canonical.

The release from Canonical will also help businesses save money, the company said.

“In-house provision of fixes, security patches, kernel module integration and operating system platform testing can be cost-prohibitive for organizations, so leveraging Canonical’s expertise and support ensures customers can achieve their business objectives while realizing economic benefits and investment returns from an open source adoption strategy without compromises,” said Arno Van Huyssteen, chief technology officer at Canonical.

We found Ubuntu 22.10 to be an incremental but impressive new release from the open source Ubuntu Linux operating system. Today, Ubuntu’s enterprise-grade real-time kernel is an interesting development showing what today’s open source development community is looking for and discussing.

For more, see comparisons between leading Linux desktop distributions and how to enable Ubuntu Pro for expanded security maintenance and compliance.

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