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Ubuntu continues expanding RISC-V enablement in 2022


on 13 December 2022

Dec 13, 2022, RISC-V Summit, San Jose – Canonical joins the RISC-V summit again and showcases the progress achieved in 2022. Followed by the enablement of the first RISC-V board – SiFive Unmatched in 2021, Canonical Ubuntu continues to explore more opportunities with various partners. 

Linux Made Easy on RISC-V with Ubuntu

Open standards and collaboration are strategic to hardware and software across industries and geographies. Open source and standards have reshaped our world in the last decade. RISC-V is the most prolific and open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) in history, which has led the hardware community to embrace open standards and collaboration at this level. This open ISA enables a new era of processor innovation through open-standard collaboration with rapid industry-wide adoption.

While RISC-V enables stable reference architectures and hardware, running stable software on new boards can still be challenging. The cornerstone of the necessary software is the underlying Operating System (OS), which provides reliability and stability. This demand makes development on Linux even more attractive since Linux is the most popular OS for developers and hobbyists across kernels, drivers, and distributions.

At Canonical, we believe that open source is the best way to accelerate innovation. It motivates us to enable a wide range of open source communities under the Ubuntu umbrella. However, open source software comes with its own set of challenges. Canonical aims to position Ubuntu as not just the reference OS for innovators and developers but also as the vehicle to enable them to take their products to market faster by letting them focus on their core application without worrying about the stability of the underlying frameworks. 

In the past year, Canonical has worked with silicon partners in the RISC-V ecosystem, to bring Ubuntu to multiple RISC-V development boards. With the collaboration, Ubuntu is available on a variety of RISC-V development boards, including SiFive’s Unmatched and Unleashed, Allwinner’s Nezha D1, StarFive’s VisionFive, and Sipeed’s LicheeRV.

Open source Operating System with more security

The growing demand for securing IoT devices is a major driver of the RISC-V technology market, and more industries are coming to rely heavily on always-up-to-date development tools. As the world’s most popular Linux distribution and the most widely used operating system across major public clouds, Ubuntu has become outstanding due to its ease of use, performance, and stability – with each Ubuntu LTS release benefiting from up to 5 years of standard security maintenance. 

Ubuntu Pro goes a step further by extending security coverage to the entire collection of software packages that ships with Ubuntu for 10 years. And with Ubuntu Pro, development environments are constantly updated with the latest security patches. Take the automotive industry, for example. Using Ubuntu Pro, developers working on the vehicle backend can focus on delivering new services and updates to their fleets without wasting time maintaining their development tools.

Open Computing Possibilities for the Future

Looking forward, more processors based on the open ISA will become available on the market, driving the RISC-V adoption in more fields, from edge computing to data centre application, and more industries, from automotive to industrial control. Canonical looks forward to more collaboration and innovation in the ecosystem and will continue to expand the availability of Ubuntu running on RISC-V processors and hardware. 

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