Canonical debuts Real-time Ubuntu for low-latency applications

Canonical debuts Real-time Ubuntu for low-latency applications

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Linux operating system developer Canonical Ltd. today announced the general availability of Real-time Ubuntu, a new and specialized version of its operating system designed for time-bound workloads and applications.

The newly developed real-time kernel within Ubuntu is better able to serve extreme latency-dependent use cases, providing deterministic response times to service events, Canonical said. In this way, it can minimize response time guarantees within a specified deadline, making it ideal for time-sensitive applications in the automotive, aerospace, industrial, public sector, retail and telecommunications sectors.

Real-time Ubuntu is based on the 5.15 version of the Linux kernel and integrates out-of-tree PREEMPT_RT patches for both x86 and Arm-based computing architectures. The PREEMPT-RT patchset ensures the kernel is more pre-emptive than standard Linux, reducing latency and guaranteeing time-predictable task execution.

Canonical is pitching Real-time Ubuntu as an ideal platform for the 5G network transformation needs of telecommunications providers, saying it delivers higher performance and guaranteed ultra-low latency for the most critical telco infrastructure. Another use case is robotics automation.

The company says real-time compute capabilities are essential for a wide-range of industrial applications, including industrial personal computers and human-to-machine interfaces. Because determinism is so critical for these kinds of applications, it’s necessary to deploy them with a real-time OS that runs on edge servers, or implement 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 Co. Ltd. “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.”

Canonical said it’s offering two variants of Real-time Ubuntu, with Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS now available through its enterprise-grade subscription Ubuntu Pro. There is also a free tier for personal and small-scale use, but the Ubuntu Pro version provides long-term and enterprise-grade software support for the kernel, ensuring longevity.

Ubuntu Core 22 is also available with the real-time kernel for enterprise customers with an App Store. Ubuntu Core is the fully containerized version of Ubuntu that’s optimized for edge devices. Canonical said it will be maintained with the real-time kernel for over a decade, guaranteeing the long-term reliable operation of latency-sensitive applications and devices. This makes it ideal for low-powered, inaccessible and remotely administered embedded systems, the company explained.

“The real-time Ubuntu kernel delivers industrial-grade performance and resilience for software-defined manufacturing, monitoring and operational tech,” said Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth. “Ubuntu is now the world’s best silicon-optimized AIOT platform on Nvidia, Intel, MediaTek and AMD-Xilinx silicon.”

Image: Canonical

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