screenshot of ubuntu pro desktop

A few readers have mailed in to tell me they’ve spotted a new promotion for Ubuntu Pro in the Software & Update apps on Ubunu 20.04 LTS.

The banner isn’t a nag screen; you have to open the Software & Updates tool (which is often referred to as the ‘software sources’ utility) and click on the Livepatch tab to see it:

A subtle upsell

Livepatch is Ubuntu’s LTS-only reboot-free kernel update mechanism which is especially handy in situations where rebooting a system (or a fleet of systems) to apply a security update is …unideal.

Chances are those looking to enable Livepatch are the same sort of people who might want to make use of Ubuntu Pro for desktop too.

But what is Ubuntu Pro?

To be blunt: it’s not something aimed at us mere-mortals who use Ubuntu to play games on Steam and troll our own family members on Twitter. It’s an extension of the ‘premium’ support offering Canonical rolled out for Ubuntu on AWS in 2019 that will now cover non-AWS platforms too.

From the page that clicking the ‘join the beta programmes’ link in the promo takes you to:

In 2020, Canonical launched Ubuntu Pro for comprehensive security and compliance for Azure and AWS production environments, and now is extending Ubuntu Pro to be available on-prem through a beta programme. This programme will give Ubuntu users a free, one-month subscription to Ubuntu Pro — please register your interest below to learn more.

On-prem” is an abbreviation of ‘on-premises software’ and generally relates to business, research institutions, and other places who run critical software stacks on their own property or buildings etc (i.e. not outsourced to a remote data farm in the desert).

Now, technically speaking most of us are running Ubuntu on-prem but we’re not really the sort of people who need “comprehensive security and compliance“. The kind of folks who may be interested in taking part in the Ubuntu Pro beta programme are those making use of technologies like OpenStack, Kubernetes, KVM/LXD, and MAAS, or workloads involving Apache Kafka, MongoDB, Node.js, etc.

The sign up form

Ubuntu Pro also also isn’t free (though it seems you get one month gratis if you sign up to the beta programme), but to learn more about how much it’ll cost you, you’ll need to complete the sign-up form to find out!

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