This could be very interesting and exciting. Canonical has confirmed they're working towards an immutable version of Ubuntu for desktop users based on all the work they've done with Ubuntu Core.
Mentioned initially in a comment on OMGUbuntu with a target for the next LTS (long term support) release, later a full blog post was put up on the official Ubuntu website going into more detail on their thoughts and plans. Don't worry though, the normal Ubuntu releases aren't going anywhere.
For those who don't follow what an immutable OS even is: in simple terms it keeps the main operating system as read-only, which is supposed to make it more stable, secure and easier to update with all your applications isolated from it with some sort of container system. So think like SteamOS on Steam Deck, Fedora Silverblue or Ubuntu Core and even Google's Chrome OS.
From the blog post:
Behind the scenes, the Canonical team has been actively exploring the benefits of Ubuntu Core beyond the realm of IoT, most notably in the context of developers and daily users.
The properties inherent to Ubuntu Core such as secure boot, recovery states and hardware backed encryption would bring significant improvements to the security posture of a user’s PC.
It also introduces the concept of modularity to the user experience, where users may experiment with alternative desktop environment snaps while remaining on a highly stable, signed and secure LTS base.
The use of snap channels also brings into the play the concept of ‘rolling’ certain elements of the distribution. Gamers, for example, might opt-in to a kernel channel that ships the latest NVIDIA drivers as soon as they are available, in the same way the Ubuntu Desktop team did for Mesa as part of our work on the Steam snap.
However, this level of stability and security comes with trade-offs for developers and tinkerers, restricting modification of the base OS in favour of a ‘just works’ experience. For developers who see their device as a platform for open source development, the solution is container-based environments similar to the LXD based Crostini. For tinkerers, the classic Ubuntu images would remain their preferred route to enable full control of (and responsibility for) their system.
While Ubuntu Core is meant for IoT OS for embedded devices, this is something different to give desktop users a potential taste of things to come. With the rise of more applications coming to the likes of Snap and Flatpak, this does make some sense and I think Jorge Castro's blog on how Linux distributions are changing is also a good read for what's to come.
How do you feel about an immutable version of Ubuntu with lots of Snap packages?