Canonical Ubuntu Core 20: Securing Linux for IoT

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Feb. 2, 202 — Canonical’s Ubuntu Core 20, a minimal, containerised version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for IoT devices and embedded systems, is now generally available. This version bolsters device security with secure boot, full disk encryption, and secure device recovery.

Ubuntu Core builds on the Ubuntu application ecosystem to create ultra-secure smart things. “Every connected device needs guaranteed platform security and an app store” said Mark Shuttleworth. “Ubuntu Core 20 enables innovators to create highly secure things and focus entirely on their own unique features and apps, with confinement and security updates built into the operating system.”

Ubuntu Core 20 addresses the cost of design, development and maintenance of secure devices, with regular, automated and reliable updates included. Canonical works with silicon providers and ODMs to streamline the entire process to bring a new device to market. The company and its partners offer SMART START, a fixed-price engagement to launch a device that covers
consulting, engineering and updates for the first 1000 devices on certified hardware, to reduce IoT project risk.

Today’s release builds on established strengths for Ubuntu Core. Best-in-class security updates support controlled and cost-effective unattended software updates for OEM fleets that fix everything, everywhere, fast. A minimal attack surface for OS and apps, with no unused software installed in the base OS, reduces the size and frequency of security updates. All snaps on Ubuntu Core devices are strictly confined and isolated, limiting the damage from a compromised application. Provable software integrity and secure boot prevents unauthorised software installation, with hardware roots-of-trust. Full disk encryption eases compliance with privacy requirements for sensitive consumer, industrial, healthcare or smart city applications.

Ubuntu Core is widely available and certified on popular x86 and ARM single board computers, making it accessible to all. Canonical secures business critical devices for 10 years.

“App stores underpin the new wave of connected device business models” said Galem Kayo, Product Manager of Ubuntu Core. “As apps move to the edge, the value of data in remote locations increases. Ubuntu Core 20 adds secure boot with hardware-backed full disk encryption to guarantee confidentiality from physical attackers.”

Tens of thousands of industrial and consumer IoT devices run Ubuntu Core, brought to market by Bosch Rexroth, DELL, ABB, Rigado, Plus One Robotics, Jabil, and more. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of drive and control technologies, Bosch Rexroth ensures efficient, powerful and safe movement in machines and systems of any size. “Building Bosch’s new ctrlX AUTOMATION app store with Ubuntu Core and snaps creates a software-defined industrial manufacturing platform with an open ecosystem, faster time to production and stronger security throughout the device lifecycle. Industrial machine builders using this
platform can break down the traditional barriers between IT and OT and free themselves from proprietary systems.” said Hans-Michael Krause, Director Product Management PLC and IoT, Bosch Rexroth.

“Intel is transforming retail, manufacturing, energy, and healthcare with new generations of compute platforms that are purpose-built for the intelligent edge and IoT, and Intel and Canonical are collaborating to deliver a premium quality Linux. Ubuntu Core will help OEMs respond to an ever growing demand for sector-specific IOT solutions, while empowering ODMs to go-to-market sooner – all with long-term supply and technical support availability.” said John Healy, Intel VP in the Internet of Things Group.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK-based charity that works to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world. “Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu both foster the spirit of learning, discovery and invention in classrooms and startups around the world. From prototype with Ubuntu Server on Raspberry Pi 4, to production with Ubuntu Core on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, we offer the next generation of inventors a simple path to all of open source.” Eben Upton, CEO, Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Advantech is a leading brand in IoT intelligent systems, Industry 4.0, machine automation, embedding computing, embedded systems, and customization services. “Advantech’s customers build embedded appliances like ATMs, industrial controllers, and medical devices, for which downtime works against mission-criticality. Continuous and automated delivery of kernel updates, security patches and bug fixes from a trusted operating system are crucial. Canonical’s commitment to ten years of support empowers us to commercialise business critical devices with the assurances our customers expect.” , said Aaron Su, AVP of Embedded IoT Group at Advantech.

Rigado connects over 6 million devices for Enterprise IoT solutions including smart office and buildings, connected retail, and intelligent logistics in more than 15,000 locations across 75 countries. “Security is of paramount importance to Rigado’s customers. Our current fleet has the highest security Ubuntu Core implementation and we look forward to raising the bar further on Ubuntu Core 20 in partnership with Canonical. Secure boot built into Ubuntu Core 20 by default will make it easier for us to deploy new devices and deliver the high security levels our customers demand.” said Justin Rigling, CTO at Rigado. Plus One Robotics builds robot perception software and solutions, with a novel approach to human/robot collaboration and supervised autonomy that ensures the systems are scalable, flexible, and fault tolerant. “Plus One Robotics deploys cutting edge robots for material handling in industrial settings. The familiar Ubuntu platform enables developers and customers to create advanced robotic perception workloads, building on the ROS ecosystem, with confidence in long term security and support.” , said Zachary Keeton, Yonder Group Lead, Plus One Robotics.

451 Research is a global research and advisory firm that generates data-driven insight to empower technology and service providers, IT leaders and financial professionals to capitalise on their market opportunity. “Canonical's SMART START offering is targeted at firms seeking to become connected product manufacturers, and it combines hardware certification, software and services to accelerate the development process. The company has pre-certified hardware (boards) based on either ARM or x86 architectures, has integrated with Raspberry Pi (any model), and offers to perform integration with a customer-selected board if they are not pre-certified.” said Christian Renaud, Analyst at 451 Research.

To learn more about Ubuntu Core, register for the webinar on Wednesday 24 February 2021.

About Canonical
Canonical is the publisher of Ubuntu, the OS for most public cloud workloads as well as the emerging categories of smart gateways, self-driving cars and advanced robots. Canonical provides enterprise security, support and services to commercial users of Ubuntu. Established in 2004, Canonical is a privately held company.