Difference between UBUNTU and UBUNTU PRO

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Ubuntu Pro is a premium subscription service offered by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, which provides additional security and compliance features aimed at businesses and professional users. It extends the capabilities of the standard, free Ubuntu operating system with several key enhancements:

Extended Security Maintenance

Ubuntu Pro offers Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) that extends the security updates and patches for Ubuntu releases beyond the typical five-year support period provided by the regular Ubuntu. This can go up to 10 years, ensuring longer protection for mission-critical applications.

Livepatch Service

The Livepatch service allows for kernel updates to be applied without rebooting the system, minimizing downtime and disruption for critical systems. This feature is particularly valuable in enterprise environments where uptime is crucial.

Security and Compliance

Ubuntu Pro includes additional security and compliance certifications that are necessary for various industries, including finance and healthcare. It also comes with FIPS 140-2 certified cryptographic packages, which are required in many governmental and financial sectors.

Expanded Package Support

Subscribers gain access to a broader range of software packages and updates, including thousands of additional open source applications and utilities that are supported with security updates.

Enhanced Support

Ubuntu Pro subscribers have access to Canonical’s knowledge base and 24/7 support, offering an extra layer of assistance for their operations, which is especially useful for organizations without extensive in-house Linux expertise.

Patch and Landscape Management

Ubuntu Pro integrates with Landscape, Canonical’s systems management tool, which helps administrators manage, monitor, and update large-scale deployments of Ubuntu desktops, servers, and cloud instances efficiently.

Cloud and Virtual Machine Friendly

Ubuntu Pro is available for desktops, servers, and cloud environments, and it supports major cloud platforms, making it a flexible choice for organizations operating in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Here’s a comparison between Ubuntu and Ubuntu Pro, highlighting their primary differences:

FeatureUbuntuUbuntu Pro
AvailabilityOpen source, available to anyoneAvailable to anyone, with added features for a fee
Security UpdatesStandard security updatesExtended security updates for up to 10 years
Kernel UpdatesRegular kernel updatesLivepatch for real-time kernel updates without rebooting
SupportCommunity support, optional professional supportComprehensive professional support included
CertificationLimited hardware and software certificationWider range of certified hardware and integrated software
ComplianceBasicCompliance features for common standards and regulations
ApplicationsAccess to free software via Ubuntu repositoriesAccess to additional commercial software in Ubuntu Pro repositories
Management FeaturesBasic system management toolsAdvanced management tools including Landscape for easier automation and orchestration
Target AudienceGeneral use, developers, enthusiastsEnterprises, businesses, and professionals requiring advanced security and compliance

Ubuntu Pro offers more extensive support and advanced features designed for enterprise use, whereas the regular version of Ubuntu is well-suited for general users, developers, and tech enthusiasts. The choice between them largely depends on the user’s needs for support, security, and compliance.

The reason some security-related packages are only available in Ubuntu Pro, even if you upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu like 22.x, is primarily due to the additional enterprise-focused features and extended security support offered by Ubuntu Pro. Here are the key reasons for this differentiation:

  1. Extended Security Maintenance (ESM): Ubuntu Pro provides Extended Security Maintenance which includes security updates and patches for a longer period (up to 10 years) compared to the standard 5 years in the free version. This extended support covers more packages and resolves vulnerabilities that may affect older software still in use in enterprise environments.
  2. Livepatch Service: Ubuntu Pro offers the Livepatch service, which allows users to apply critical kernel security patches without rebooting the system. This service is crucial for organizations that require high uptime and cannot afford the disruption of a reboot after every kernel update.
  3. Compliance and Certification: Enterprises often need to comply with various regulatory standards (like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, etc.) which require specific security features and configurations. Ubuntu Pro includes tools and packages that help in maintaining compliance with these standards, which might not be part of the standard Ubuntu release.
  4. Commercial Software in Repositories: Ubuntu Pro users gain access to additional commercial software and proprietary tools in the Ubuntu repositories that are not available in the standard edition. These may include security tools and applications necessary for professional environments.
  5. Revenue Model: Offering advanced security features as part of Ubuntu Pro also aligns with Canonical’s business model. By providing enhanced security and support through a subscription service, Canonical can generate revenue which supports the development of both Ubuntu and Ubuntu Pro.
  6. Target Audience: Ubuntu Pro is tailored towards businesses and professional users who have higher requirements for security, support, and reliability. These users are more likely to need the advanced features offered by Ubuntu Pro and are also more capable of affording the subscription costs associated with it.
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