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Real-time Ubuntu is now generally available


on 14 February 2023

Real-time Ubuntu brings end-to-end security and reliability to the time-bound workloads of modern enterprises. With support for real-time compute, Canonical furthers its commitment to providing a best-in-class experience for open-source software consumption.

14 February 2023, London: Canonical today announced the general availability of real-time Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. Real-time Ubuntu provides a deterministic response to an external event, aiming to minimise the response time guarantee within a specified deadline. The new enterprise-grade real-time kernel is ideal for stringent low-latency requirements. Enterprises in industrial, telecommunications, automotive, aerospace and defence, as well as public sector and retail, can now run their most demanding workloads and develop a wide range of time-sensitive applications on the open-source operating system (OS).

“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. “Ubuntu is now the world’s best silicon-optimised AIOT platform on NVIDIA, Intel, MediaTek, and AMD-Xilinx silicon”.

Optimal compute and deterministic performance for time-sensitive applications

Based on the 5.15 version of the Linux kernel, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS integrates the out-of-tree PREEMPT_RT patches for x86 and Arm architectures. The PREEMPT_RT patchset reduces the kernel latencies as required by the most exacting workloads, helping to ensure time-predictable task execution. Meeting stringent determinism requirements and upper-bounding execution time, Ubuntu with PREEMPT_RT makes the kernel more preemptive than mainline Linux.

By collaborating with a world-leading ecosystem of partners, from silicon providers to OEMs and ODMs, Canonical is raising the bar of what is possible in the software world, unleashing a new wave of creativity and innovation with real-time Ubuntu.

“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, Arm. “From software-defined vehicles and smart Industrial 4.0 factories to 5G vRAN functionality and energy efficient Arm®-based hyperscale data centers, Canonical is enabling the future of computing on Arm”.

“As a global leader in AI we are focused on delivering accelerated hardware and software that power the intelligent edge”, said Justin Boitano, VP of Enterprise and Edge AI at NVIDIA. “From vision AI and 5G to robotics and autonomous vehicles, many of the solutions we develop rely on a real-time OS for ultra-low latency with end-to-end security. We are excited to see Real-time Ubuntu, an enterprise-grade, Linux operating system that will accelerate these markets”.

Ideal for telco, Industry 4.0 and automotive use cases

Real-time Ubuntu is designed to deliver performance, ultra-low latency and security for critical telco infrastructure. As workloads requiring quality of service and low latency steadily migrate to Ubuntu, Canonical designed the real-time kernel to meet telco network transformation needs for 5G.

“Canonical’s industry-leading Ubuntu Pro with real-time kernel, provides significant value to our Service Provider and Enterprise customers across multiple industries”, said Arno Van Huyssteen, Telco Field CTO at Canonical. “We understand the importance of providing secure and reliable solutions, which is why we offer telco SLA-backed support for the real-time kernel enabled within Ubuntu Pro LTS. 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 realising economic benefits and investment returns from an open source adoption strategy, without compromises”.

With support for real-time compute, Canonical is pushing the envelope of digital infrastructure and bringing the future of robotics automation forward. From industrial PCs to Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs), a wide variety of Industry 4.0’s use cases require support for real-time Linux. As determinism is critical, industrial innovators 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. By relying on a production-grade real-time Linux distribution supported by Canonical over several years, we empower our enterprise customers to focus on what drives their business, shortening speed to market”.

With real-time Ubuntu generally available, Canonical continues paving the way for software-defined vehicles as well, allowing for speed of development and deployment. Relying on Canonical’s state-of-the-art OTA updates and long-term security maintenance for real-time Ubuntu, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers can shape their software-defined vehicle strategies around safe and secure open-source solutions. 

“Accessing an industry-leading Linux OS on AWS, with the power of AWS Graviton processors, will help further hardware parity in automotive development”, said Stefano Marzani, Worldwide Technical Lead, Software-Defined Vehicles at AWS. “By working with Canonical, and providing access to real-time Ubuntu in the cloud, AWS is helping to empower developers to start implementing systems requiring deterministic behaviour- like automotive and industrial workloads – ahead of hardware availability and in parallel with hardware provisioning”.

Production-ready for a wide range of enterprise IT needs

The real-time kernel is available across Ubuntu OS variants. Two deployment options are available for those wishing to accelerate their technology adoption. 

Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS with the real-time kernel is available via Ubuntu Pro, Canonical’s comprehensive enterprise security and compliance subscription, covering all aspects of open infrastructure. Canonical will provide a free tier for personal and small-scale commercial use in line with the company’s community commitment and mission to ease open source access and consumption. Canonical’s enterprise-grade software support and long-term maintenance for the real-time kernel will ensure product longevity. Vendors, for instance, can concentrate their efforts and redirect resources towards value-add activities without worrying about the stability and security of the underlying critical infrastructure.

Ubuntu Core 22 with the real-time kernel is available for enterprise customers with an App Store. Ubuntu Core is the fully containerised Ubuntu variant optimised for edge devices. Canonical will maintain Ubuntu Core with the real-time kernel long-term, guaranteeing devices’ reliable operation. Manufacturers will receive a decade of ultra-reliable software updates on their low-powered, inaccessible, and often remotely administered embedded systems in the field. The built-in security of real-time Ubuntu Core is not limited to bug fixes and CVE patches to the OS. Every edge application on top of Ubuntu Core sits in a secure, sandboxed environment. Furthermore, industrial pioneers will benefit from state-of-the-art security features, from full-disk encryption to strict confinement. 

For more information

Real-time Ubuntu brings end-to-end security and reliability to the most demanding workloads. Businesses and developers are now in the driver’s seat to push the envelope of security and determinism in mission-critical devices. 

Canonical partners with silicon vendors, board manufacturers and ODMs to shorten enterprises’ time-to-market. Contact Canonical for custom board enablement, production distribution, long-term support or security maintenance.

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About Canonical

Canonical is the publisher of Ubuntu, the operating system 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.

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