Ubuntu Details Initial Plans For Immutable Linux Desktop With Ubuntu Core & Snaps

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 31 May 2023 at 02:00 PM EDT. 41 Comments
For next year's Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release, Canonical is planning to offer an Ubuntu Core based immutable desktop OS flavor as an alternative to the traditional Ubuntu Desktop image. A new Ubuntu.com blog post today outlines Ubuntu Core usage for an immutable Linux desktop.

Ubuntu Core with Snaps has long been Canonical's route for providing an immutable OS. Ubuntu Core has traditionally been focused on the IoT market and other specialized areas while more recently Canonical engineers have been investigating in Ubuntu Core on the desktop side to serve as an immutable OS for greater reliability, security, and manageability.

Ubuntu Core desktop

Today's blog post lays out some of the potential for Ubuntu Core on the Linux desktop:
"Behind the scenes, the Canonical team has been actively exploring the benefits of Ubuntu Core beyond the realm of IoT, most notably in the context of developers and daily users.

The properties inherent to Ubuntu Core such as secure boot, recovery states and hardware backed encryption would bring significant improvements to the security posture of a user’s PC.

It also introduces the concept of modularity to the user experience, where users may experiment with alternative desktop environment snaps while remaining on a highly stable, signed and secure LTS base.

The use of snap channels also brings into the play the concept of ‘rolling’ certain elements of the distribution. Gamers, for example, might opt-in to a kernel channel that ships the latest NVIDIA drivers as soon as they are available, in the same way the Ubuntu Desktop team did for Mesa as part of our work on the Steam snap.

However, this level of stability and security comes with trade-offs for developers and tinkerers, restricting modification of the base OS in favour of a ‘just works’ experience. For developers who see their device as a platform for open source development, the solution is container-based environments similar to the LXD based Crostini. For tinkerers, the classic Ubuntu images would remain their preferred route to enable full control of (and responsibility for) their system."

More details for those interested on the Ubuntu blog. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next year and the interest level in the immutable Ubuntu Linux desktop variant compared to the "classic" Ubuntu desktop installation.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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