Canonical has announced the launch of its anticipated Livepatch Service to let Ubuntu users instantly download and install kernel patches on their systems. The launch was initially arrived for the Linux 4.0 kernel in April last year.
The Linux community was introduced with the term ‘kernel live patching’ alongside the release of Linux 4.0. It was designed to restrict the need for rebooting after applying a patch or update. Distribution makers like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Enterprise Linux utilised the development and integrated the live patching functionality into their commercial models.
However, Canonical did not pick the live patching solution at that time and has just taken a big step by enabling the same service for free.
“Kernel live patching enables runtime correction of critical security issues in your kernel without rebooting. It is the best way to ensure that machines are safe at the kernel level, while guaranteeing uptime, especially for container hosts where a single machine may be running thousands of different workloads,” said Dustin Kirkland, Ubuntu product and strategy for Canonical, in a statement.
What is the catch
Though the Canonical Livepatch System is available for free access on any Linux 4.4-powered Ubuntu 10.04 (LTS) devices, there is a catch. Live patches are available only for three machines per user. This means that you can enjoy the freedom of getting new patches on your system without any reboot but for up to three machines.
Nevertheless, you can opt for an Ubuntu Advantage support at $12 per month and enable the patch service on more than three systems.
Canonical is providing a livepatch snap to enable the patching service on the compatible Ubuntu devices. In addition to workstations and home computers, it is considered to be highly useful for servers and even container deployments.