Canonical announces real-time Ubuntu kernel

Real-time Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is now generally available. The new kernel supports low latency requirements for industrial, telecom, automotive, aerospace and defense industries.

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Publisher Canonical’s real-time Ubuntu 22.04 LTS was released on Tuesday 14 February 2023. Companies 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 is designed to minimize the response time guarantee within a given deadline. With a new enterprise-class real-time kernel, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS can keep up with stringent low-latency requirements like smart factory applications.

The latest version is based on version 5.15 of the Linux kernel. It includes the ARM architecture and the out-of-tree PREEMPT_RT patches for x86 that reduce kernel latencies. Arm is involved in projects such as software-defined vehicles, smart Industry 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 the cloud to the 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 to all Ubuntu flavors and 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 commercial use.

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

Ubuntu stressed that upgrades aren’t limited to patches and the occasional bug fix. Instead, the Ubuntu Core is designed to last for a decade and receives robust software updates throughout.

Possible applications include telecommunications, robotics and vehicles

The real-time Ubuntu kernel is purpose-built to meet the needs of telecom network transformation for 5G. Canonical has noticed that workloads that require quality of service, low latency and jitter are steadily moving to Ubuntu. In response, the company is banking on the ultra-low latency and security required for critical telecommunications infrastructure.

The new Ubuntu version is also tuned for robotics and automation. Real-time computing support allows more options when it comes to industrial PCs, human-machine interfaces, and other Industry 4.0 use cases that use Linux. Finally, determinism is crucial in these cases.

Canonical said technically advanced industrial companies often deploy workloads that require a real-time operating system running on their edge servers or have real-time control loops with stringent response times.

“Ubuntu-certified hardware is an ideal solution for companies 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 help OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers develop vehicle strategies around reliable open source solutions.

“The real-time Ubuntu kernel provides industry-level performance and resiliency for software-defined manufacturing, monitoring and operations technologies,” said Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical CEO.

Canonical’s release will also help businesses save money, the company said.

“Delivering fixes, security patches, kernel module integration and operating system platform testing in-house can be prohibitively expensive for organizations, so leveraging Canonical’s expertise and support ensures customers achieve their business goals while realizing economic benefits and return on investment source adoption strategy without compromise,” said Arno Van Huyssteen, Chief Technology Officer at Canonical.

We’ve discovered that Ubuntu 22.10 is an incremental but impressive new release of the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system. Today, Ubuntu’s enterprise real-time kernel is an interesting development that shows what today’s open source developer community is searching for and discussing.

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

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