Canonical: We Are Excited to Explore the Idea of a Fully Containerized, Immutable Ubuntu Desktop

Ubuntu Core and Snaps will be at the core of a future immutable Ubuntu Desktop flavor.
Ubuntu Immutable

Canonical’s Oliver Smith writes today in a blog post that the company behind one of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions is excited to explore the idea of a fully containerized and immutable Ubuntu desktop in the near future using Ubuntu Core and Snaps.

After announcing earlier this year that future Ubuntu releases won’t ship with support for Flatpak apps by default starting with Ubuntu 23.04 (Lunar Lobster), Canonical now unveils the fact that they plan to go all-in with their Snap sandboxed package format and even offer an immutable Ubuntu Desktop.

We all know that there are many Ubuntu users out there that have switched to other GNU/Linux distributions due to the fact that Snaps are quite very resource hungry and sometimes don’t work as expected, but Canonical promises to focus all of their efforts on improving Snaps on the Ubuntu Desktop in future releases and provide most of the packages in this format.

“Snaps are a little famous for having some rough edges on the desktop. Nevertheless, we are excited to explore the idea of a fully containerized desktop, where each component is immutable and isolated. We have steadily been improving the experience of desktop snaps and, in due course, when we think the entire system can be delivered this way we will be excited to offer a version of the Ubuntu Desktop which has these new capabilities,” said Oliver Smith.

It looks to me like this is the “year of the immutable Linux desktop” as more and more GNU/Linux distributions consider offering an immutable variant. Ubuntu already has lots of official variants with various popular desktop environments, so making an immutable edition of the Ubuntu Desktop is something that will probably attract more users.

For those not in the know, an immutable distribution offers read-only filesystems where no changes can be made by users or applications as components are only replaced, updates are applied atomically, predictable behavior across devices, and isolated apps through containerization (Flatpak, Snap, etc.).

An immutable Ubuntu Desktop will offer an extra layer of stability and security for users. However, an immutable distribution is less flexible and can introduce additional complexity or even limit the use of familiar applications and workflows, and may not be compatible with certain apps.

Would you use an immutable Ubuntu Desktop?

Last updated 9 months ago

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