Canonical has announced that its chiselled Ubuntu containers are now generally available. These are ultra-small OCI images that just deliver an application and its runtime dependencies, leaving out things like operating system-level packages, utilities, or libraries. 

According to Canonical, not including unnecessary components in the final image reduces bloat, increases efficiency, and reduces attack surfaces. 

Chiselled Ubuntu containers utilize a package manager called Chisel, which is based on the idea of package slices. Slices are subsets of Debian packages that contain their own content and dependencies.

“In the end, it’s like having a slice of Ubuntu – get just what you need. You can have your cake and eat it too,” the Chisel documentation states. 

Key benefits of chiselled Ubuntu containers include compatibility throughout the developer experience, fewer dependency issues, a CLI that allows customers to build or extend their containers, and simpler image rebuilds. 

“With Chiselled Ubuntu organisations can simplify their containerisation journey with a smooth transition from development to production,” Canonical wrote in a blog post

Chiselled Ubuntu containers come with security maintenance and support commitment from Canonical. Guarantees include five years of security patching for containers built from the main repository, 10 years of security patching for Ubuntu Pro customers, optional weekday or 24/7 support, and library and release cycle alignment with Ubuntu LTS. 

The images are available for a number of popular toolchains, including Java, .NET, and Python. As a result of a partnership with Microsoft, .NET 6, 7, and 8 already have images. 

“There has always been a need for smaller and tighter images,” said Richard Lander, program manager for .NET at Microsoft. “Developers remind us, as a base image provider, of that on a regular basis. Chiselled images leapfrog over approaches we’ve looked at in the past. We love the idea and implementation of Chiselled images and Canonical as a partner. When technical leaders at Canonical shared the first demos of Chiselled images with us, we immediately wanted to be a launch partner, and we’re thrilled that we’re shipping Ubuntu Chiselled images for .NET as part of this GA release.”