Real-Time Ubuntu Is Now Generally Available
What is special about this version of Ubuntu is the real-time kernel included with the distribution. According to Mark Shuttleworth, CEO at Canonical, “The real-time Ubuntu kernel delivers industrial-grade performance and resilience for software-defined manufacturing, monitoring and operational tech.”
This isn’t the standard real-time kernel, created for a number of specific low-latency workloads (such as audio and video production). Instead, this real-time kernel has been optimized for low-latency requirements demanded by the industrial, telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, and defense sectors. With this kernel, enterprise businesses can reliably develop applications for time-sensitive applications, such as robotics, automation, industrial PCs, human-machine interfaces, and other Industry 4.0 workloads and use cases.
The real-time kernel found in Real-Time Ubuntu is based on the 5.15 kernel and adds the out-of-tree PREEMPT_RT patches for both X86 and ARM architectures to reduce kernel latency and ensure time-predictable task execution. This kernel is available for all Ubuntu Variants and has two options for deployment:
- Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS through the Ubuntu Pro subscription.
- Ubuntu Core 22 through Canonical’s IoT App Store.
According to Mark Hambleton, vice president of open source software, Arm, “The commercial availability of real-time Ubuntu on Arm demonstrates the power of open source collaboration and benefits the entire Arm ecosystem across the computing spectrum, from cloud to edge.” Hambleton continues, “From software-defined vehicles and smart Industrial 4.0 factories to 5G vRAN functionality and energy-efficient Arm-based hyperscale data centers, Canonical is enabling the future of computing on Arm.”
Real-Time Ubuntu isn’t just about enabling low-latency performance but also cost savings. By leveraging Canonical’s expertise with the new release and the real-time kernel, it will cut down on in-house provision of fixes, security patches, and platform testing, which can be cost-prohibitive. Instead of having to configure Ubuntu Server for low-latency workloads and heightened security, companies can trust that Real-Time Ubuntu has taken these things into account. To that end, Arno Van Huyssteen, CTO at Canonical, In-house provision of fixes, security patches, kernel module integration, and operating system platform testing can be cost-prohibitive for organizations, so leveraging Canonical’s expertise and support ensures customers can achieve their business objectives while realizing economic benefits and investment returns from an open source adoption strategy without compromises.”
Of course, to take advantage of Real-Time Ubuntu, you will have to sign up for and enable Ubuntu Pro. Once you’ve signed up for Ubuntu Pro, you must claim a token from your subscription. To do that, open your Ubuntu Pro Dashboard, and copy the Token under your subscriptions.
Once you have your token, log in to your instance of Ubuntu Server and install the Ubuntu Advantage package with the command:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-advantage-tools=XXX~$(lsb_release -rs).1
Where XXX is the latest stable release, which can be found here.
Verify the installation with the command:
Connect the server to your Ubuntu Pro account with the command:
sudo pro attach TOKEN
Where TOKEN is the Ubuntu Pro token you copied earlier.
Finally, enable the real-time kernel with the command:
sudo pro enable realtime-kernel
You will be prompted to disable Livepatch, so that the real-time kernel can be enabled. After that, reboot the machine and the real-time kernel should be up and running on your machine.
Justin Boitano, VP of Enterprise and Edge AI at NVIDIA says of the new Ubuntu option, “We are excited to see Real-time Ubuntu, an enterprise-grade, Linux operating system that will accelerate these markets.”
Canonical does provide a free tier of Ubuntu Pro for personal and small-scale commercial use. For larger, enterprise businesses, a Pro Subscription will be required to gain the benefits of Real-Time Ubuntu.