Ubuntu is best known as a popular Linux operating system for servers, cloud and desktops. Now Canonical is tweaking Ubuntu to power embedded devices and IoT.
The key to this is apparently the Snappy Ubuntu Core technology. Snappy Ubuntu Core was first announced on December 10, 2014, as a cut down version of Ubuntu.
Snappy was supposed to be a cloud technology but has been seen as a wizard thing to run embedded devices.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, said that the use of Snappy could improve the security, reliability, and efficiency of update mechanisms and help to isolate apps from one another.
This fixes a problem with IoT that its operating systems are harder to upgrade – which makes them insecure.
Shuttleworth said that Snappy updates can be delivered as smaller, more efficient transactional updates. It also has an update rollback feature, which can enable an application to be reverted if the update is unsuccessful for some reason.
He said that Snappy has very efficient bandwidth usage, making it ideal for IoT embedded devices. With
Shuttleworth told eWeek that Canonical could deliver an update for something like a Heartbleed or Shellshock vulnerability, completely independently of the lawnmower control app that would come from the lawnmower company.
With IoT, anything and everything can be connected to the Internet, even potentially a lawnmower, and it is usually up to the vendor to provide patches for any security issues.
To help capitalize on the IoT opportunity, Canonical now has an entire Internet of things division within the company.
While it sounds grandiose that we have a whole Internet of things division, this is an extremely efficient repurposing of the technology we already have,” Shuttleworth said.