Ubuntu Linux has spread to quite a few platforms in its 10-year history, if not always successfully. Today, though, the open source software is tackling what could be its greatest challenge yet: the internet of things. Canonical has released a version of its stripped-down snappy Ubuntu Core for connected devices like home appliances, robots and anything else where a conventional PC operating system wouldn't fly. It's designed to run on modest hardware (a 600MHz processor will do) and provide easy updates, all the while giving gadget makers the freedom to customize the software for whatever they're building. It promises to be extra-reliable, too -- it only applies updates if the code checks out, so you won't lose control of your smart thermostat due to a buggy upgrade.