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Canonical recently introduced Ubunto Pro. A version of the Linux distribution that can only be purchased in a paid subscription form. In exchange for that subscription, users get a more secure version of the Ubuntu operating system.

According to the Linux distributor, the now general availability of Ubuntu Pro is another step in the development of the dedicated Linux distribution. The beta version of this release was announced back in October last year. After this announcement users were dissatisfied with the update though, as it was said to contain unsolicited ads.

Automatically running patches

Ubuntu Pro differs from the standard open source version of the Linux distribution mainly in two areas; more security and a subscription model. In the area of security, the Pro version includes functionality for automatically patching the OS against critical, high- and selected e medium CVEs. This is done for various applications and code tools, such as for Ansible, Apache Tomcat, Apache Zookeeper, Docker, Nagios, Node.js, phpMyAdmin, Puppet, PowerDNS, Python, Redis, Rust and WordPress.

Overarching system management is performed by Landscape and Livepatch. Livepatch, for example, patches kernel vulnerabilities at runtime. This should reduce the time needed to reboot the affected devices with the Linux distribution.

More hardening and compliance capabilities

In addition, the added extra security functionality provides more hardening and compliance capabilities. Consider the Ubuntu Security Guide (USG) that takes care of hardening and compliance of standards such as CIS benchmarks and DISA-STIG profiles.

In this context, users will further gain access to FIPS-certified cryptographic packages required by all U.S. federal authorities and organizations working with compliance regulations according to FedRAMP, HIPAA and PCI-DSS.

Subscription model

The second feature that sets Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro apart is its subscription model. A subscription to Ubuntu Pro costs $25 per year for a workstation and $500 per year for a server. Yet even for this more comprehensive version of the open source Linux distribution, a free version is also available for personal use or very small businesses. This free version can run on up to 5 machines.

Tip: Canonical introduces DevOps security tool Ubuntu Pro