NextBox: What happens after update period of UbuntuCore is over?

Hi all,

I am new to this forum. If the way I phrase my questions or how I organise them into topics is somehow wrong feel free to correct me! :slight_smile: While, due to my occupation (in mental health), I am very much aware of how important protection of (personal) data is, I am also not particularly trained in computer science (but I like to think I’m catching up).

That being said, I am very much delighted by the NextBox. However, I was wondering about the Ubuntu Core updates:

What happens after the update period of 8 years expires? Will the NextBox be unusable? Or will it have security issues? Does one need to buy a new one then?

Thanks for your input!

Hi @Tencel!
Welcome to the forum!

I believe this means that this particular Ubuntu Core version should have updates at least for the next 8 years (which is longer than current 4 years for the long term supported distributions - Ubuntu LTS). Later the OS there might need reinstallation, or just a simple upgrade to the next release. Let me ask my colleague for the details / confirmation.

@daringer Could you elaborate on that topic?

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Hi @szszszsz (and @daringer, if I may cheekily steer you to this thread :innocent:)
any news on this one? :slight_smile:
Thanks so much!

Hi!

I will ping @daringer about this

Hey together,

we are currently preparing some documentation about this topic, will post it here, too, once it’s done.

best

Hello @Tencel,
There is now a long post on the crowdfunding site, explaining Nitrokey are switching from Ubuntu Core to pure Debian (which to me is an excellent news) ; along with it there are considerations on the long-term support (like Ubuntu, we have 5y for the current distro on Debian, and most probably an option to upgrade to the next distro version after that)…

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Dear @Herve5,

Thanks so much for letting me know, would not have taken notice of that without your pointer! :slight_smile:

Apart from many technical details (and, in fact, main parts :smiley: ) I did not quite understand, it really sounds like a ridiculously frustrating experience the Nitrokey guys had with Canoncial… at the same time, I was weirdly thrilled when reading this long update: with this level of considerate transparency paired with a seemingly utmost concern to provide end-users with as secure-as-it-gets and proper FOSS over which Nitrokey cannot (“want not”) exert remote control (which only adds to privacy, I think) Nitrokey really positively stunned me! Have not come across a company quite like this before, also regarding the always very polite and helpful support!

@Herve5, you said:

Nitrokey are switching from Ubuntu Core to pure Debian (which to me is an excellent news)

I would be interested in why you think this is excellent? I’m not indicating disagreement here, just curious about your opinion. :slight_smile:

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@Tencel it is difficult to answer shortly, or not to turn this thread into almost a political expression. I’ll try anyhow.

In spite of the fact Ubuntu is based on Debian, it couldn’t be more afar, from a strategy point of view.

Debian strategy is decided only by its developers, through Condorcet voting, which IMHO is way ahead from even the current political ballot systems : search it in Wikipedia, you’ll understand how robust it is, dealing with all people while efficiently eliminating extremism.

In contrast, Ubuntu comes from the strategy of just one (millionnaire) individual, M. Sutherworth.
Who, of course, wishes to get back money from his investment.
One way of doing this is locking end-users as far as can be.
As an example, his latest move has been to eliminate the standard Debian application management system (apt commands, Synaptic…) which the latest Ubuntu revision just uninstalls, replacing it with Ubuntu’s own app market. Of course now any developer must apply, politely, to Ubuntu to be allowed into the App market.
(For this reason, at least one external distribution, Mint, that does derive from Ubuntu has decided to abandon this, last year -more details for instance on Slashdot -there are more elaborate discussions on LWN but I don’t find the reference right now)

All this strategy is intricately linked to the current fashion trend to embed applications along with all their required dependencies on Linux, a manner that indeed simplifies installations (‘do it like Apple, just by dragging the icon’) while bringing the significant risk that many duplicated and obsolete dependencies will them live in your system. But the most critical point is how Ubuntu uses this to lock users in.

There are mostly three such ‘packagers’, Appimages, Flatpaks, and Ubuntu’ own Snaps.
If Ubuntu succeeds, Snaps may b the killer of open Linux. (more detail on packagers here, make up your own mind)

The last evolution in the field has been Ubuntu going further by proposing a special flavor, Ubuntu Core, aimed at professionals, working ONLY with snaps.
Of course the advantages are visible : the ubuntu core system now is fully independent from whichever apps you install, whose needs are dealt with separately, within snaps, without ever ‘touching’ the system.
But of course this definitely turns Ubuntu Core into a paying service (as Nitrokey painfully just noticed), and, also, fully depending on Ubuntu accepting or not a given app (Nextcloud, for instance, which version, with which extensions…) and Ubuntu actually being able to just stop supporting it without warning.

So, Nitrokey selecting Ubuntu Core was clearly a professional move -and as they would have been one of the first company to actually develop a full product on it, this shows how reactive and witty they are.
But, as expected, they very quickly understood what it meant (refer their long relation) and, thankfully for me, they decided to shift away.

That they land on Debian instead of many others is just an extra good news, because of all I depicted above -Condorcet voting guaranteeing independence, etc.

I had ordered a quite costly Nextbox configuration in spite of ubuntu (I even explained it here), but this last move to Debian is definitely super.

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Thanks for your take on this, lots of food for thought! :slight_smile:

Maybe the only remaining open point is which exact Nextcloud will be incorporated in Nextbox, as it seems that the open version of Nextcloud is imited in some functions (for instance, I understand one can run multiple video chats with only a limited number of partners, otherwise you need to ‘upgrade’ to the professional, paying version).
But if we consider the essential feature : hosting one’s data safely, the goal is certainly met.