Developers at Canonical are planning to start delivering additional builds of Ubuntu Desktop next year, based on the Ubuntu Core platform and including only applications packaged with Snap. A similar approach, based on Flatpak packages, is already being used by projects such as Fedora Silverblue and Endless OS. The first experimental builds of the new Ubuntu Desktop variant are scheduled to be prepared in the spring of next year, during the development of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS. The delivery of classic Ubuntu Desktop builds with deb packages will continue unchanged.
Ubuntu Core entails delivering an indivisible monolithic image of the base system, without the use of separate deb packages, and it employs a mechanism for atomic system updates. Ubuntu Core components, including the base system, the Linux kernel, system overlays, and additional applications, are delivered in the Snap format and managed by the snapd toolkit. Snap components are isolated using AppArmor and Seccomp, providing an additional layer of protection for the system in case of compromise of individual applications. The base file system is mounted in read-only mode. Updates to the base environment are delivered over-the-air (OTA), include only changes (delta updates), and are synchronized with the current Ubuntu LTS release.
Among recent achievements of Ubuntu, which enable the implementation of a graphical environment based on Ubuntu Core, is the ability to deliver print stack packages based on CUPS and different versions of Mesa drivers in Snap packages. The delivery of CUPS in the Snap format is planned to begin with the release of Ubuntu 23.10.