Ubuntu 23.10 introduces a preview of hardware-backed full-disk encryption, which sees encryption keys stored in a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), and automatically recovered by authenticated boot software. A more broad range of hardware support and additional encryption options will be introduced in Ubuntu 24.04 LTS.
Being a later-in-the-year release, Ubuntu 23.10 will receive support for nine months, after that you are advised to move on to a newer release. The need for a release like this is so developers can test and focus on what new features will be added to the next LTS (Long Term Support) release which sees five to 10 years of support (via Ubuntu Pro's Expanded Security Maintenance).
Another way that Ubuntu 23.10 improves security is via AppArmor profiles. These profiles are required applications that create unprivileged user namespaces. These applications can expose kernel interfaces without the need for elevating privileges and could pose a security threat. With AppArmor, their attack surface is reduced. Applications installed from the Ubuntu archives will have AppArmor profiles to ensure policy adherence.
Raspberry Pi 5 and RISC-V Support
Ubuntu 23.10 releases approximately 11 days before the Raspberry Pi 5 is officially released, but we know that Canonical and Raspberry Pi have been working together to release 23.10 for the Raspberry Pi 5.
“With Raspberry Pi 5 we’ve boosted the power and performance of the worlds’ most popular PC to deliver a fully-fledged developer platform,” said Gordon Hollingworth, Chief Technology Officer - Software at Raspberry Pi Trading. “We’re excited to see how the Ubuntu community leverages this power to create innovative and compelling new experiences.”
There will be both server and desktop versions of Ubuntu 23.10 for the Raspberry Pi 5. The desktop release on Raspberry Pi 5 is extremely close to feeling like a full "proper" Linux desktop computer. The Raspberry Pi 4 came close, but the power of the Raspberry Pi 5's quad-core 2.4 GHz Arm CPU just makes it so much better. We'll be talking to Canonical Software Engineer Dave Jones on our Raspberry Pi-themed show, The Pi Cast, on October 17 (2pm ET / 7pm BST).
Ubuntu has been successful on the RISC-V platform, and with the Ubuntu 23.10 release support will be extended to the SiFive HiFive Pro P550 at its launch. Previously, Ubuntu supported the HiFive Unmatched development platform.
Improved App Discovery
Ubuntu 23.10 introduces a new and improved App Center, which provides a fast and easy-to-use interface to search for applications. Apps can be installed using the ubiquitous .deb packages and via Canonical's Snap packages.
Using the App Center, we can search for apps thanks to a rich amount of metadata provided by the Canonical Snap Store. Snap applications receive strict security reviews to ensure that no nefarious permissions are present.
Ubuntu 23.10 is available for free download from the Ubuntu website. Expect to see a range of Ubuntu re-spins (Kubuntu, Xubuntu etc) and community distros over the next few weeks.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".