There are so many of us who are drawn into the world of Raspberry Pi’s and similar tiny cheap computers by the shear potential that they hold. The thoughts of having this tiny dirt cheap system that could be ANYTHING! And many of us found that we really weren’t that interested in learning to program, or becoming experts in compiling programs to operate on the tiny systems. Canonical has recognized this and is creating a perfect solution with their Ubuntu Appliance Library.
Imagine being able to browse through a variety of complete packages that will immediately turn your device, such as a raspberry pi, into a functioning appliance. You want a media server? Easy, just download the Plex device image and you’re done. Want to control your smart home with OpenHab? It is just a few clicks away.
I adore this concept and can’t wait for their library to grow. Currently they have 5 “appliances” ready for download:
- OpenHab – Home automation platform
- Plex – Media server
- NextCloud – remote storage
- AdGuard – network advertisement and tracking blocker
- Mosquitto – your own private messaging server
This concept isn’t brand new as there have been images of preconfigured systems floating around the internet for a while. However, this concept brings them together into a system that is tested, documented, and searchable. They are expanding actively, not only in “appliance” images you can download but in supported hardware. The Raspberry Pi is an easy and cheap example but they also currently support the intel NUC and the ability to run any of the images available in a Virtual Machine, allowing you to test things out even if you don’t have the hardware ready.