Canonical, the company behind open source operating system (OS) Ubuntu, has a large enterprise customer base – with end users typically using the Linux distribution to run servers, including in the cloud, where Ubuntu has significant market share. Ubuntu desktop adoption in the enterprise? That’s far less common…
Canonical’s latest desktop release this week, Ubuntu 23.04, codenamed “Lunar Lobster” (Ubuntu releases ship with colourful names) is gunning firmly for enterprise adoption however, with new capabilities for both developers (a key target market) and administrators who want to keep a watchful eye on fleets of machines.
A key step here is Ubuntu 23.04’s ability to connect natively to Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory for centralised user authentication and identity management – a desktop Linux distribution industry first.
(Ubuntu support for Azure AD, the cloud version of Microsoft’s identity and access management suite, follows April 2021’s release of Ubuntu 21.04, which shipped with traditional non-cloudy Active Directory integration.)
The release of Ubuntu 23.04 April 20 also saw it ship with a new unified Ubuntu server and desktop installation engine, Subiquity, that “supports the same autoinstall configuration workflows for both desktops and servers.”
This installer alone “marks a significant step forward for enterprise deployment and customisation at scale” Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth claimed cheerfully, if not quixotically in a press release today.
(Canonical has called on admin users to evaluate the `aad-auth` feature in this release and provide feedback for planned backport to the current Ubuntu 22.04 LTS – or long-term support – release at some point later this year as well. Its aActive Directory Bridging Toolsuite (ADsys) now supports Samba winbind Domain Services in addition to SSSD. This extends compatibility to Amazon Workspaces and older AD configurations” it added.)
ADsys is available with Ubuntu Pro and allows administrators to manage mixed Windows and Ubuntu Desktop fleets using the same familiar workflows. For developers, Ubuntu 23.04 also serves updates and improvements for Python, Java, Go, C, C++, Rust and .Net and ships with the latest versions of Docker and Containerd.
Are we about to see IT leaders pained at the thought of Windows 11 upgrades about to adopt Lunar Lobsters wholesale as an alternative? It seems unlikely, if not completely implausible. You can play with 23.04 here.
See also: Ubuntu Pro is GA: 10 years’ support for OS, optional support for 23k packages