Canonical dove deeper into the smart device world today with the announcement that snappy Ubuntu Core, the transactionally updated, containerized version of the company's Linux-based open source operating system, is now available for a range of devices, from network gateways to robots.
Canonical introduced snappy Ubuntu Core in December as a platform intended to appeal to developers. Its transactional update tool, which replaces the apt system used by other flavors of Ubuntu, makes deploying and maintaining apps simpler, while also catering to "containerized" apps of the type made popular by Docker.
Snappy Ubuntu Core has been available for download and in the Microsoft (MSFT) Azure and Amazon (AMZN) AWS clouds since December, but its extension into smart devices creates new opportunities for Canonical, which has traditionally focused on servers, laptops and PCs (though the company has dabbled in TVs, and should soon be releasing Ubuntu Touch for smartphones and tablets). Now, the company can offer a more streamlined development experience for programmers working across the cloud, PCs and embedded devices.
That's especially true because Snappy Ubuntu Core supports both x86_64 and ARMv7 chips, according to Canonical, and it can be prototyped using commodity PC hardware. "A spare laptop or PC becomes your initial development board," said Victor Palau, VP of Device Engineering at Canonical. "Turn an old PC into a home storage server or prototype your robot app on a spare laptop or virtual machine."
Given the hardware agnosticism and the diversity of use cases, the broad release of Snappy Ubuntu Core amounts to a "convergence" of Ubuntu from the development perspective that parallels what Canonical promises to do in converging the end-user experience across traditional PCs and mobile devices. Ubuntu is entering a new era, which is about more than PCs and servers.