Real-time and Core editions of Ubuntu arrive

And it's time to upgrade any Mantic Minotaurs you have lying around

Canonical has followed up the latest LTS release of Ubuntu with real-time and IoT editions, while ushering the last interim release into retirement.

The latest long-term support release of Ubuntu, 24.04 "Noble Numbat," appeared in late April along with a raft of other distro releases. Nearly a month later, Canonical opened the gates so that users of the previous interim release began receiving prompts to upgrade to the new version.

If you haven't done that yet, you should. Said interim release, Ubuntu 23.10 "Mantic Minotaur," which we looked at in mid-October last year, is now near its end of life. Ubuntu's announcement says that the Minotaur is being culled on July 11.

Other bits of the 2024 Ubuntu release cycle are also falling into place. Canonical has also announced the release of the 24.04 version of Real-time Ubuntu. We looked at Real-time Ubuntu when the company released the previous LTS version in February last year. This time, the interval between the standard and the real-time releases has noticeably shortened. While 22.04 RT came out nearly a year after 22.04 (42 weeks later, to be precise), the Noble real-time release followed after just a month.

The only difference from standard Ubuntu is a special kernel, which has the PREEMPT_RT patches enabled. In Ubuntu Real-time 24.04, that's the same version of the kernel, 6.8, as in standard Noble. We suspect that the shorter interval between releases reflects that the kernel-preemption changes are more mainstream now. This is in part due to Intel's acquisition of Linutronix in 2022. Ubuntu RT is not limited to Intel chips, though. As well as AMD based kit, it's also available on Arm64. As before, it's only available to Ubuntu Pro subscribers.

At the start of May, Canonical released Landscape 24.04, the first LTS version of its fleet-management tool. Landscape is neither FOSS nor free. It's a paid tool for remotely managing large numbers of production Ubuntu machines. One of the things it is useful for managing is Ubuntu Core, which is Canonical's immutable distro, built entirely from Snap packages. If you want to refresh your memory, we took a look at Core 22 two years ago.

This week, the company released the latest member to join the Noble family: Ubuntu Core 24. Ubuntu Core is aimed at devices and appliances, rather than general-purpose computers – or in modern marketing-speak, the "Internet of Things" and "edge devices."

So far, Canonical has published four blog posts going into detail about possible uses for Core 24: Device management with Landscape, deploying AI models onto FPGA, telemetry for your robotics fleet, and building your first Matter device – this being an open standard for smart home devices.

The Core 24 documentation has been updated, and includes a decent overview. The gist of the Core idea is that it's a "zero touch" OS. Not only is it not intended for computers that sit in front of a human being, the plan is that there's no need for a human to ever have to directly interact with a Core machine. The Core Landscape management blog post calls this zero touch onboarding:

The ability to create images that you can load onto devices and send straight out into the field. Plug them in and give them a network and they will stand themselves up quite nicely all by themselves.

As the descriptions should indicate, this is a specialized sort of OS. It's not something you would want to put onto a desktop computer. Canonical is working on a desktop version, which it talked about at last year's Ubuntu Summit, but the release of Core 24 does not include a desktop edition. It should follow later this year. ®

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