Yocto vs Ubuntu Core: make or buy?

Yocto is a popular open-source collaboration initiative that helps developers create custom Linux-based systems. As a freely available, community-maintained build system, Yocto helped spearhead the adoption of Linux for embedded devices. There are, however, challenges not addressed by community-maintained projects, bound to surface when shipping embedded Linux in production. Commercial embedded Linux vendors try to fill this gap by providing enterprise-grade support and expertise, substantially reducing time to market.

In a community-driven open source project, individual maintainers often handle security after the fact. Enterprises with a reputation for reliability and trust can’t afford to be dependent on individual contributors. Challenges not addressed by community-maintained projects are bound to surface when shipping embedded Linux in production.

The contributors of a community-led piece of work may just be solving their specific use case or pain point and not be interested in the bigger picture and overall system architecture. This leads to legacy layers in Yocto, unmaintained BSPs, and poor testing resulting in critical vulnerabilities and technical debts. On the other hand, a commercially-supported embedded Linux distribution like Ubuntu Core provides stable reliance on a long-term product roadmap.