CANONICAL HAS ANNOUNCED a new version of the Ubuntu operating system designed to bring a united front to the Internet of Things (IoT), after a preview alpha was trialled late last year.
The super-stripped down, lightweight Snappy Ubuntu Core is designed to allow developers to create IoT applications quickly and easily and release them securely across the network.
This means that many devices with firmware that would have been unpatched after vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed can now be updated quickly, easily and silently.
Apps are at the heart of the infrastructure, with app store functionality able to offer off-the-peg firmware, applications and runtime libraries to help facilitate common standards across the IoT.
"We found that the IoT required a way of installing apps similar to the way you do on your phone," Maarten Ectors, Ubuntu VP for the IoT, told The INQUIRER.
"Developers can have app stores for things that don't have app stores today. That could be your vacuum cleaner, it could be your robot, it could be a drone."
The company hopes that the future of robots will be a large part of the success of Snappy, and is working closely with a range of start-ups and Kickstarter projects to bring home automation and intelligent robotics to life.
"As people add more items and add complexity to their home networks, they want stuff to just work and to keep working, no matter what vulnerabilities we discover in the huge mountain of open source software that is powering all of it," added Mark Williams, founder and guvnor of Ubuntu.
"Many of these items that you'll be buying will be Ubuntu anyway, but Snappy will allow them to be fully robust, fully automated and fully secure."
Ubuntu Core requires a tiny footprint. It can work with as little as 600MHz of processing power and 128MB of RAM, with suitable ARM processor baseboards starting at $35 retail.
Also x86 compatible, this flexibility means that the overall product could see IoT products being mass produced for matters of pennies.
Last year Broadcom offered a similar device called the Wiced Sense, a $20 kit aimed at helping to design IoT prototypes.
The first Snappy Ubuntu Core products are expected to be announced in the second quarter. Expect to see a lot of them on Christmas lists for 2015. µ
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