NEWS BRIEF

AT&T Partners with Best Buy To Push VoIP

AT&T today announced that Best Buy will be among the first national retailers to offer AT&T’s residential Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone service, called the AT&T CallVantage Service, in its 628 stores nationwide and online at bestbuy.com.

AT&T CallVantage Service will be available in Best Buy stores beginning this fall. According to the companies, Best Buy and AT&T will promote AT&T CallVantage Service through in-store marketing as well as print, broadcast and online advertising.

“We’re delighted to launch our retail strategy for AT&T CallVantage Service with Best Buy, a well-known and respected brand name and the nation’s leading specialty retailer of technology and entertainment products and services,” said Cathy Martine, AT&T senior vice president for Internet Telephony, Consumer Marketing and Sales.

“Voice-over IP is an exciting technology and service offering for consumers and small businesses alike,” said David Sprosty, vice president of subscription services at Best Buy.

AT&T CallVantage Service works with most cable modem or digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband connections. The service is compatible with most home computer networks and can be used in conjunction with various home network routers.

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Canonical Lets Loose Ubuntu 22.04 LTS ‘Jammy Jellyfish’

Canonical Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish)
Image Credit: Canonical

Canonical’s Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, aka “Jammy Jellyfish,” is now generally available with features that raise the bar for open source — from cloud, to edge, to IoT and workstations.

The desktop version is one of the biggest LTS releases from Ubuntu with respect to visual and feature changes. This major upgrade to GNOME 42 brings changes to the desktop itself in terms of layout, appearance, and how things work.

If the Ubuntu desktop is your only connection to Canonical’s infrastructure, you can expect some mild and minor hands-on adjustments. If you deal with the rest of Ubuntu’s enterprise world, you will find a lot more hardcore improvements in security and performance for IoT and cloud computing connections.

Canonical announced the new release on Thursday, detailing features that bring significant leaps forward in cloud confidential computing, real-time kernel for industrial applications, and enterprise Active Directory, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FIPS, and FedRAMP compliance.

The new desktop release, however, comes without the anticipated new installer, which uses flutter, an open-source user interface, noted Oliver Smith, Canonical’s program manager for the Ubuntu desktop. The flutter element is not fully ready for deployment. Instead, Canonical will release a build of 22.04 that does feature the new installer later in the update cycle.

“I think when you are dealing with something that we want to support for five years, and we were expecting a huge amount of adoption, we just did not feel that we would have the opportunity to test across all the different sort of ranges of hardware and use cases that we wanted to get (for) confidence to go live out of the box,” Smith explained.

“It is evolving a lot in the background, but just the timing did not quite work out for this release.”

Ubuntu Desktop Still in Focus

The range of use cases that involve Ubuntu Server, IoT, and cloud OS installations, is not making the Ubuntu desktop edition less significant, according to Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical. He denied the Ubuntu desktop itself is less important now than other enterprise factors in response to a reporter’s question Tuesday during a virtual presentation.

“Our mission is to be a secure, reliable, and consistent open-source platform everywhere,” he said. “Ubuntu 22.04 LTS unlocks innovation for industries with demanding infrastructure security requirements, such as telecommunications and industrial automation, underpinning their digital transformation.”

So the desktop is sort of central to Ubuntu’s narrative, Shuttleworth added. It is also central to the kind of innovation work a lot of the company’s developers do within Intel.

“For example, [improvements] enable the same sorts of high-end capabilities whether those are battery life or performance capabilities on Linux that they achieve on platforms like Windows,” he said. “Those are really important.”

In terms of resources, Canonical has about 60 people working with its various partners — Dell, HP, Lenovo — and the industry supply chain on the desktop. Plus, another 20 engineers or so work on core desktop capabilities, he noted.

Ubuntu Adoption Grows Deep

Ubuntu is deeply integrated into public clouds and optimized for performance, security, and ease of use. A key new capability is confidential computing, which greatly improves data protection and privacy in leading public clouds without requiring any changes to existing application deployments.

Ubuntu is the only Linux distribution supporting Azure confidential VMs, according to Vikas Bhatia, head of product for Azure Confidential Computing at Canonical. To ensure great performance on Arm, Canonical also optimized Ubuntu 22.04 LTS images for AWS Graviton.

On AWS, Ubuntu is available from EC2, with multiple images including support for the latest Graviton chips, all the way to containers. This includes the latest Arm servers, Ampere A1, that provide high-performing and cost-effective solutions for all types of workloads, he said.

Other Major Ubuntu Plaudits

Innovators on Raspberry Pi get the first long-term support release with Ubuntu Desktop support on the Raspberry Pi 4. The entire recent Raspberry Pi device portfolio is supported for the very first time, from the new Raspberry Pi Zero 2W to the Raspberry Pi 4, said Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading.

“It is great to see a certified Ubuntu Desktop release that includes support for the 2 GB Raspberry Pi 4, giving developers all over the world access to the most affordable development desktop environment,” he said.

Ubuntu WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) delivers deep integration with native Windows development environments like Visual Studio Code and Docker Desktop across a shared file system. Users mix Windows and Linux commands to create efficient workflows for data science, web development, and IT systems management. Users of Ubuntu WSL can upgrade to 22.04 LTS directly.

For Windows and macOS developers, Multipass provides Ubuntu 22.04 LTS VMs on-demand with full cloud-init for cloud prototyping at home. Multipass gains Apple M1 support, making it the best way to drive development for new ARM cloud instances, according to Canonical. Multipass has also added support for Docker workflows to unify the developer experience for cloud and cloud-native applications.

For shared development environments, multi-user LXD offers per-user project segregation. This addition restricts specific user permissions so multiple people can safely share the same LXD cluster.

Foundation for Data-Sensitive Workloads

Ubuntu is the platform of choice to run Microsoft SQL Server on Azure with enterprise-grade support, noted Canonical. SQL Server on Ubuntu Pro LTS for Azure offers scalability and performance.

It also gives business-critical SQL Server workloads access to comprehensive open-source security on Azure. Nvidia virtual GPU (vGPU) software drivers are generally available now.

Data scientists can natively install Nvidia vGPU Software 14.0 and benefit from highly-performant GPU resources across multiple virtual machines simultaneously. This allows data scientists to use parallel, isolated advanced AI/ML workloads to help ensure that the underlying hardware resources are used efficiently.

“Enterprises, data scientists and developers building AI solutions require integrated systems and software that easily support MLOps workflows,” said Manuvir Das, vice president of Enterprise Computing at Nvidia.

“Organizations can now run Nvidia AI on Ubuntu to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges with new products and systems that simplify operations, boost safety, and improve communication,” Das added.

Other Ubuntu Strengths

The Ubuntu 22.04 LTS base image is available on Docker Hub along with a Canonical-maintained portfolio of secure and stable LTS application container images. Existing LTS Docker images on Ubuntu will receive new long-term supported 22.04-based tracks.

These include MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Nginx. The open-source applications portfolio is expanding further, focusing on Observability and Big Data, with new Grafana Loki, Apache Kafka, and Apache Cassandra container images.

“Ubuntu plays an essential role on Docker Hub, as one of the most popular Docker Official Images,” said Webb Stevens, senior vice president of Secure Software Supply chain at Docker.

Real-Time Kernel, Too

Canonical also reported that the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS real-time kernel is available in beta.

Designed to meet telco network transformation needs for 5G, the real-time kernel delivers performance, guaranteed ultra-low latency, and security for critical infrastructure. This new kernel also serves latency-sensitive use cases in industrial automation and robotics. It handles real-time applications like Cloud RAN,” said Dan Lynch, marketing director at Intel.

“The real-time kernel in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS leverages the acceleration from Intel hardware, allowing us to compete on even terms with the biggest network equipment providers,” said Radoslaw Adamczyk, technical lead at IS-Wireless, which develops and delivers mobile networks in the OpenRAN model.

That offers the ability to have one platform for the whole stack, from bare metal with MaaS to Ubuntu OS, LXD VM and Microk8s on the edge. Ubuntu 22.04 LTS adds Rust for memory-safe systems-level programming. It also moves to OpenSSL v3, with new cryptographic algorithms for elevated security.

Desktop Highlights

Ubuntu’s default GNOME desktop gains significant usability, battery, and performance improvements with the GNOME 42 upgrade featuring GNOME power profiles and streamlined workspace transitions alongside significant optimizations which can double the desktop frame rate on Intel and Raspberry Pi graphics drivers.

GNOME 42 brings a horizontal workspace view alongside the horizontal application view. The changes in will require some muscle memory changes to get used to updated and new applications.

Expect lots of new looks. Some of the notable upgrades involve changes to the base color scheme and the Jammy Jellyfish default wallpaper.

File Manager has a more compact look, and new screenshot tools changes how you do captures.

Available for Download

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish is available now on Ubuntu Downloads and major public clouds.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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Foundries and Arduino Team To Patch IoT Devices

Foundries.io and Arduino are joining forces to make embedded Linux-powered internet of things and edge computing devices more secure. Foundries.io announced the partnership Thursday.

The deal will combine technological innovations with Foundries’ cloud-native development and deployment enterprise solutions for secure IoT and edge devices. Those solutions will integrate with the Arduino Pro Portenta X8 release, also announced Thursday.

Arduino is an open-source electronics company that manufactures open hardware development boards used by millions of developers around the world. Arduino will use the FoundriesFactory cloud platform in its enterprise product.

The combination will help customers ease development and deployment, reduce costs, and accelerate revenue associated with industrial IoT and edge devices.

The IoT market will more than double in the next five years. Industry watchers predict the market for edge devices will nearly triple with accelerated growth expected in industrial IoT, electric vehicle infrastructure, and robotics.

A few years ago, Arduino invented a new category of products by combining microcontrollers and microprocessors on a single hardware platform. Now, it is providing enterprises the same flexibility with performance on steroids from Portenta X8’s 4x Cortex-A53, Cortex-M7 and 2x M4 processors, said Fabio Violante, CEO at Arduino.

“Foundries.io is in a unique position to advance Arduino’s vision for enabling enterprises to more easily deploy and maintain Linux-based products for IoT and Edge applications,” said George Grey, CEO at Foundries.io.

Meeting the Security Challenge

Among the challenges to realizing this growth and innovation for businesses are the security of these devices and the expense associated with building and maintaining Linux to support them. FoundriesFactory addresses these challenges with a cloud-based DevOps service to build, test, deploy and maintain these devices.

“Today, the world is different. You cannot think about a Linux-based device without anticipating the challenges of securing and maintaining it over time. This requires expertise, commitment, and attention to every detail related to security and maintenance,” said Arduino’s CEO.

His company decided to partner with Foundries.io to simplify this approach by providing a ready-to-use solution that can help customers build systems with confidence. By embedding a FoundriesFactory in the Arduino platform, customers can be sure to choose the best solution on the market, he added.

Some recent reports cite that many smart home devices from major manufacturers appear to be using old versions of OpenSLL to handle encryption data, according to Tyler Baker, CTO at Foundries.io. Those have known vulnerabilities that could lead to malicious actors accessing data from the devices.

Applying modern security best practices for monitoring vulnerabilities, remediating and maintaining software in embedded systems, is overdue, stated Kate Stewart, VP for dependable embedded systems and SPDX Project co-founder at The Linux Foundation.

“Foundries.io has been focused on bringing an effective solution to this problem to the market, and the partnership with Arduino has the potential to introduce a new option for making these systems more dependable over time at scale,” she told LinuxInsider.

Taking Off the Edge

Edge computing does not have security issues to the same degree as IoT, said Baker. Defacto standard Linux platforms, such as RedHat, include infrastructure and services necessary for secure device management and over-the-air updates.

“Foundries.io is the only vendor currently who is delivering a similar Linux platform for IoT,” he told LinuxInsider.

Another benefit to the twin-company partnership is IoT developers no longer need expertise in Linux, security, or cloud-based device management to build powerful edge devices. Until now leveraging the power of processors running Linux at the edge was almost prohibitively difficult for many organizations.

“Thanks to this collaboration, IoT workloads will no longer be confined to the cloud with the limitations and latencies that the cloud brings. Now anyone can deploy powerful edge processing capabilities to power their IoT workloads,” Baker explained.

How It Works

The combination of the Portenta X8 and the FoundriesFactory cloud solution will accelerate customer time to market. It will also increase product security and enable rapid deployment and lifetime over-the-air (OTA) management of customer devices and fleets.

At the same time, the solution will bring freedom of choice for connectivity to public or private cloud services. Those choices include off-the-shelf solutions to fully customized options.

“The partnership creates an industry-leading solution for Linux-based IoT and Edge products, Foundries’ Grey asserted.

The technology is built around a fit-for-purpose, customizable Linux microPlatform OS designed using best industry practices for security and incremental OTA updates. Developers can build with the freedom open-source software supports. Businesses achieve lower costs and reduced time to revenue.

Users will be able to access a FoundriesFactory for the Portenta X8 hardware platform. This will enable users to immediately connect Arduino Portenta X8-based products to the cloud and start developing container-based applications, leveraging the device management and DevOps capabilities available with FoundriesFactory.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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