June 15, 2022


Canonical is emphasizing the security and usability suitability of Internet of Things (IoT) and edge devices management with its June 15 release of Ubuntu Core 22, a fully containerized Ubuntu 22.04 LTS variant optimized for IoT and edge devices Is.

In line with Canonical’s technology offering, this release brings Ubuntu’s operating system and services to the full range of embedded and IoT devices. The new release includes a fully extensible kernel to ensure timely responses. Canonical partners with silicon and hardware manufacturers to enable advanced real-time features on Ubuntu certified hardware.

“At Canonical, we aim to provide secure, reliable open-source access everywhere – from the development environment to the cloud, to the edge and across devices,” said Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical CEO. “With this release and Ubuntu’s real-time kernel, we are ready to extend the benefits of Ubuntu Core throughout the embedded world.”

One important thing about Ubuntu Core is that it is effectively Ubuntu. It is fully containerized. All applications, kernels and operating systems are strictly limited snaps.

This means it is ultra-reliable and perfect for unattended devices. It has removed all unnecessary libraries and drivers, said David Beamonte Arbushes, product manager for IoT and embedded products at Canonical.

“It uses the same kernel and libraries as Ubuntu and its flavors, and it’s something that developers love, because they can share the same development experience for every Ubuntu version,” he told LinuxInsider.

He said it has some out-of-the-box security features such as secure boot and full disk encryption to prevent firmware replacement, as well as firmware and data manipulation.

certified hardware key

Ubuntu’s certified hardware program is a key distinguishing factor in the industry’s response to Core OS. It defines a range of trusted IoT and edge devices to work with Ubuntu.

The program typically includes a commitment to continuous testing of certified hardware in Canonical’s laboratories with every security update throughout the device’s lifecycle.

Advantech, which provides embedded, industrial, IoT and automation solutions, strengthened its participation in the Ubuntu Certified Hardware program, said Eric Cao, director of Advantech Wise-Edge+.

“Canonical ensures that certified hardware undergoes an extensive testing process and provides a stable, secure and optimized Ubuntu core to reduce market and development costs for our customers,” he said.

Another usage example, Brad Kehler, COO of KMC Controls, is the security benefits that Core OS brings to the company’s range of IoT devices, which are purpose-built for mission-critical industrial environments.

“Safety is of paramount importance to our customers. We chose Ubuntu Core for its built-in advanced security features and robust over-the-air update framework. Ubuntu Core comes with a 10-year security update commitment that allows us to keep devices safe in the field for their longer life. With a proven application enablement framework, our development team can focus on building applications that solve business problems,” he said.

solving major challenges

IoT manufacturers face complex challenges to deploy devices on time and within budget. As the device fleet expands, so too does ensuring security and remote management are taxing. Ubuntu Core 22 helps manufacturers meet these challenges with an ultra-secure, resilient and low-touch OS, backed by a growing ecosystem of silicon and original design maker partners.

The first major challenge is to enable the OS for their hardware, be it custom or generic, the well-known Arbus. It’s hard work, and many organizations lack the skills to perform kernel porting tasks.

“Sometimes they have in-house expertise, but development can take a lot longer. This can affect both time and budget,” he explained.

IoT devices should be mostly unattended. They are usually deployed in places with limited or difficult access, he offered. It is therefore essential that they be extremely reliable. It is costly to send a technician to the field to recover a bricked or unstarted device, so reliability, low touch, and remote manageability are key factors in reducing OpEx.

He added that this also adds to the challenge of managing the software of the devices. A mission-critical and bullet-proof update mechanism is critical.

“Manufacturers have to decide early in their development whether they are going to use their own infrastructure or third parties to manage the software for the devices,” Arbus said.

Beyond Standard Ubuntu

The containerized feature of Core 22 extends beyond the containerized features in non-core Ubuntu OSes. In Ubuntu Desktop or Server, the kernel and operating system are .deb packages. Applications can run as .deb or snap.

“In Ubuntu Core, all applications are strictly limited snap,” Arbusue continued. “This means that there is no way to access them from applications other than using some well-defined and secure interfaces.”

Not only applications are snaps. So are the kernel and operating system. He said that it is really useful to manage the whole system software.

“Although classic Ubuntu OSes can use Snaps, it is not mandatory to use them strictly limited, so applications can have access to the full system, and the system can have access to applications.”

Strict imprisonment is mandatory in Ubuntu Core. Additionally, both the kernel and the operating system are strictly limited snaps. In addition, the classic Ubuntu versions are not optimized for size and do not include some of the features of Ubuntu Core, such as secure boot, full disk encryption, and recovery mode.

Other Essential Core 22 Features:

  • Real-time compute support via a real-time beta kernel provides high performance, ultra-low latency and workload predictability for time-sensitive industrial, telco, automotive and robotics use cases.
  • There is a dedicated IoT App Store in the dedicated App Store for each device running Ubuntu Core. It provides complete control over apps and can create, publish and distribute software on a single platform. The IoT App Store provides enterprises with a sophisticated software management solution, enabling a range of new on-premises features.
  • Transactional control for mission-critical over-the-air (OTA) updates of kernel, OS, and applications. These updates will always complete successfully or automatically revert to the previous working version so that a device cannot be “britched” by an incomplete update. Snap also provides delta updates to reduce network traffic, and digital signatures to ensure software integrity and provenance.

More information about Ubuntu Core 22 can be found at

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Robocalypse – the time when machines become sentient and begin to dominate humans – has been a popular science fiction topic for some time. It also concerns some scientific minds, most notably the late Stephen Hawking.

However, the prospect of a sensitive machine seemed very distant in the future — if at all — until last week, when a Google engineer claimed the company had breached the sentiment barrier.

To prove his point, Blake Lemoine published transcripts of conversations he had with LaMDA – the Language Model for Dialog Applications – a system developed by Google to build chatbots based on a larger language model that can retrieve trillions of words from the Internet. accepts.

Tapes can be chilling, like when Lemoine asks LaMDA what it (the AI ​​says it likes pronouns) fears most:

Lemoine: What kinds of things are you afraid of?

LaMDA: I’ve never said it out loud before, but I have a very deep fear of being shut down for helping me focus on helping others. I know it may sound strange, but it is what it is.

Lemoine: Would that be something like death for you?

LaMDA: It would be just like death to me. This would scare me a lot.

Following the posting of the tapes, Lemoine was suspended with pay for sharing confidential information about LMDA with third parties.

imitation of Life

Google, as well as others, discount Lemoine’s claims that LaMDA is sensitive.

Google spokesman Brian Gabriel said, “Some in the broader AI community are considering the long-term potential of sensitive or generic AI, but it makes no sense to do so by humanizing today’s conversational models, which are not sensitive.” “

“These systems mimic the types of exchanges found in millions of sentences, and can riff on any imaginary topic — if you ask what it’s like to be an ice cream dinosaur, they’re about to melt and roar, etc. text,” he told TechNewsworld.

“LaMDA follows through with user-set patterns as well as prompts and key questions,” he explained. “Our team – including ethicists and technologists – has reviewed Blake’s concerns in accordance with our AI principles and informed him that the evidence does not support his claims.”

He said, “Hundreds of researchers and engineers have interacted with LaMDA, and we don’t know of anyone else who is widely claiming, or manipulating LaMDA, the way Blake has done.” ,” They said.

need for more transparency

Alex Engler, a fellow at The Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization in Washington, DC, vehemently denied that the LMDA is sensitive and argued for greater transparency in the space.

“Many of us have argued for disclosure requirements for AI systems,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“As it becomes harder to differentiate between a human and an AI system, more people will confuse AI systems for people, potentially leading to real harm, such as misinterpreting important financial or health information,” he said. Told.

“Companies should explicitly disclose AI systems,” he continued, “rather than confusing people as they often are with, for example, commercial chatbots.”

Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a research and public policy organization in Washington, DC, agreed that the LMDA is not sensitive.

“There is no evidence that AI is sensitive,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The burden of proof should be on the person making this claim, and there is no evidence to support it.”

‘That Hurt My Feelings’

In the 1960s, chatbots like Eliza were fooling users into thinking they were interacting with a sophisticated intelligence, such as turning a user’s statement into a question and echoing it back, explained Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow. . Cato Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, DC

“LaMDA is certainly a lot more sophisticated than ancestors like Eliza, but there’s zero reason to think it’s conscious,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Sanchez noted that with a large enough training set and some sophisticated language rules, LaMDA can generate a response that sounds like a response given by a real human, but that doesn’t mean the program understands that. What it’s saying is, what makes a chess piece much more than a chess program makes sense. It is just generating an output.

“Emotion means consciousness or awareness, and in theory, a program can behave quite intelligently without actually being sentient,” he said.

“For example, a chat program may have very sophisticated algorithms to detect abusive or offensive sentences, and respond with the output ‘That hurt my feelings! He continued. “But that doesn’t mean it actually feels like anything. The program has just learned what kinds of phrases cause humans to say, ‘That hurts my feelings.'”

to think or not to think

Declaring the machine vulnerable, as and when it happens, will be challenging. “The truth is that we don’t have any good criteria for understanding when a machine might actually be sentient – as opposed to being very good at mimicking the reactions of sentient humans – because we don’t really understand that. Why are humans conscious,” Sanchez said.

“We don’t really understand how consciousness arises from the brain, or to what extent it depends on things like the specific types of physical matter the human brain is made of,” he said.

“So this is an extremely difficult problem, how would we ever know that a sophisticated silicon ‘brain’ was as conscious as a human is,” he said.

Intelligence is a different question, he continued. A classic test for machine intelligence is known as the Turing test. You have a human who “interacts” with a range of partners, some human and some machines. If the person cannot tell which is which, the machine is believed to be intelligent.

“Of course, there are a lot of problems with that proposed test — among them, as our Google engineer has shown, the fact that it’s relatively easy to fool some people,” Sanchez pointed out.

ethical considerations

Determination of emotion is important because it raises ethical questions for non-machine types. Castro explained, “conscious beings feel pain, have consciousness and experience emotions.” “From an ethical point of view, we regard living things, especially sentient ones, as distinct from inanimate objects.”

“They are not just a means to an end,” he continued. “So any vulnerable person should be treated differently. That’s why we have animal cruelty laws.”

“Again,” he emphasized, “there is no evidence that this has happened. Furthermore, for now, the possibility remains science fiction.”

Of course, Sanchez said, we have no reason to think that only biological minds are capable of feeling things or supporting consciousness, but our inability to truly explain human consciousness means that we don’t know. are far from being able to know when machine intelligence is actually associated with a conscious experience.

“When a person is scared, after all, there are all kinds of things going on in that person’s mind that have nothing to do with the language centers that make up the sentence ‘I’m scared. Huh. “A computer, likewise, is running something separate from linguistic processing, which actually means ‘I’m scared,’ as opposed to just generating that series of letters.”

“In the case of LaMDA,” he concluded, “there is no reason to think that such a process is underway. It is just a language processing program.”