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on 6 October 2021

Canonical launches Ubuntu Frame, the foundation for embedded displays

Canonical’s Ubuntu Frame is an easy-to-use, reliable and secure fullscreen shell to power edge devices, with 10 years of support from Canonical.

October 6th, 2021: Canonical announces the release of Ubuntu Frame, a solution that allows developers to easily build and deploy graphical applications for interactive kiosks, digital signage solutions, or any other products that require a graphical output. With Ubuntu Frame, developers no longer need to integrate and maintain partial solutions such as DRM, KMS, input protocols or security policies to power and secure their displays. This means less code to manage, less opportunities for bugs and vulnerabilities in untried code, and more time for developing the content of the display.

“Ubuntu Frame makes it easier for our customers to create customizable, reliable, and more secure smart retail and digital signage solutions while leveraging the power of Lenovo ThinkEdge platforms,” said Blake Kerrigan, GM Edge Computing, Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group.

When developing the solution, the goal was to minimise the development and deployment time for building graphic solutions for edge devices by leveraging existing applications and hardening security techniques. Ubuntu Frame is therefore compatible with toolkits such as Flutter, Qt, GTK, Electron and SDL2, and it also has a solution for applications based on HTML5 and Java, among others. It is also worth mentioning that Ubuntu Frame’s users benefit from easy configuration and deployment options thanks to snaps, the next-generation package format for Linux

Out-of-the-box, Ubuntu Frame provides developers with all they need to deploy fully interactive applications. Ubuntu Frame comes with all the interfaces applications need to securely communicate with the host machine, without developers needing to deal with the specific hardware. It also automatically enables all the functionality that end-users expect while interacting with digital displays, such as input from touch screens with a wide array of gestures, keyboard and mouse. Developers also don’t need to worry about windows behaviours and dynamics, they are all configured. There’s no need to integrate and maintain these partial solutions, all that is needed is one tool.   

“Ubuntu Frame’s reliability has been widely tested in the field. Its technology has been in development for over 7 years and in production for 5 years, using state-of-the-art techniques, and deployed in production to Linux desktop and mobile users. As such, Ubuntu Frame is one of the most mature graphical servers available today for embedded devices.” Michał Sawicz, Smart Displays Engineering Manager at Canonical. 

Trust in the security and privacy protection measures of consumer IoT devices is likely to remain a significant driver of adoption and market growth. Security is at the heart of Ubuntu Frame and snaps. The shell provides secure client-server communications based on the Wayland protocol. The client and server snaps are in separate, secure containers so applications can only talk exclusively to the Ubuntu Frame via a secure socket. This reduces the attack vectors available to malicious code. Finally, snaps’ software publishers can also benefit from automatic notifications on security vulnerabilities. Publishers will receive emails informing them about outdated packages in their snaps, so they can address them.

Together with Ubuntu Core, Canonical’s OS engineered for IoT and embedded systems, Ubuntu Frame is supported for up to 10 years. This provides developers with security updates that match the lifetime of their embedded devices. Ubuntu Frame also comes with Canonical’s world-class support for product teams and enterprise customers. These aspects guarantee that developers can get to the root cause of a problem faster and get fixes straight from the source. 

Getting started

Try Ubuntu Frame today. Follow this tutorial to enable a quick web kiosk installation to display any website in kiosk mode with Ubuntu Frame. 

To learn more about Ubuntu Frame, please join our webinar and download its product brief

About Canonical 

Canonical is the publisher of Ubuntu, the OS for most public cloud workloads as well as the emerging categories of smart gateways, self-driving cars and advanced robots. Canonical provides enterprise security, support and services to commercial users of Ubuntu. Established in 2004, Canonical is a privately held company.

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