Comprehensive Guide to Linux Management with Microsoft Intune (2023)

In the rapidly evolving landscape of endpoint management, Microsoft Intune has emerged as a powerful solution, extending its reach beyond Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android to include Linux-based devices. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of managing Linux with Microsoft Intune, exploring the enrollment process, compliance checks, and the seamless integration of Linux into your organization's device management and security framework.

Introduction to Linux Management with Microsoft Intune

Microsoft's commitment to enhancing Intune's capabilities was underscored in the October 2022 updates, which heralded the addition of Linux device management. Despite popular belief, Linux devices can now be enrolled and managed in Intune, contributing to heightened security and fostering collaboration within Linux desktop environments.

Microsoft's Announcement on Linux Desktop Management

The noteworthy revelation was made during Ignite 2022, where Microsoft announced the general availability of Linux desktop management in Microsoft Intune. A collaborative effort between the Intune, Microsoft Entra, and Microsoft Edge teams paved the way for robust device registration, endpoint management, and secure web access for Linux Ubuntu LTS.

Key Functionalities of Linux Management in Intune

With the release of Linux management in Intune, organizations can now include Linux desktops in their device management and security workloads. This extends IT's ability to manage Linux devices alongside Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, thereby reducing the risk of breaches by ensuring compliance across all devices.

Intune's Support for Linux Devices

The initial release of Linux management in Intune brings forth several key functionalities, including:

  • Enrollment of Ubuntu LTS (22.04, 20.04) desktops: The foundation of Linux management in Intune.
  • Conditional Access policies via Microsoft Edge: Ensuring secure web access to Microsoft 365 and Azure resources for Linux Ubuntu LTS.
  • Standard compliance policies: Applying consistent security settings and policies across all endpoints.
  • Support for Bash scripts: Empowering custom compliance policies for Linux devices.

System Requirements for Linux Enrollment in Intune

Before diving into the enrollment process, it's crucial to ensure that your Linux devices meet specific requirements. Device enrollment is supported on devices with:

  • Ubuntu Desktop 22.04 or 20.04 LTS.
  • A GNOME graphical desktop environment (automatically included with Ubuntu Desktop 22.04 and 20.04 LTS).
  • Microsoft recommends enabling encryption during the initial installation of Ubuntu Desktop.

Prerequisites for Adding Linux Devices in Intune

To seamlessly add Linux devices to Intune, the following apps must be installed on the device:

  • Microsoft Edge web browser (version 102.X or later): Essential for accessing organizational websites and online resources securely.
  • Microsoft Intune app: The Linux version facilitates enrollment, registering the device with the organization, and integrating it into Intune.

Managing Linux with Intune: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Installing Linux Desktop for Intune – Ubuntu Desktop 22.04

To initiate the enrollment process, install Ubuntu Desktop on your device. Follow these steps for a seamless installation:

  1. Download the Ubuntu Desktop ISO file.
  2. Ensure sufficient storage space (minimum 25 GB).
  3. Install Ubuntu Desktop, selecting the appropriate options.
  4. Enable updates and third-party software during installation.

Step 2: Install Microsoft Edge for Linux

Microsoft Edge is crucial for accessing company resources. Install it on Ubuntu Desktop using the following steps:

  1. Open Firefox and visit the Microsoft Edge download page.
  2. Download the Debian/Ubuntu (.deb) installation.
  3. Install Edge on Ubuntu Desktop.

Step 3: Get the Microsoft Intune App for Linux

Before enrolling Linux devices in Intune, install the Intune app using the following commands:

sudo apt install curl gpg

Determine the Ubuntu release and install the Microsoft package signing key accordingly. Finally, install the Intune app.

Step 4: Enroll Linux Device in Intune

  1. Launch the Intune app on your Linux device.
  2. Sign in with a user account assigned an Intune license.
  3. Register the device and commence the enrollment process.
  4. Review the information collected by Intune and proceed with enrollment.

Step 5: View the Registered Linux Devices in Intune Portal

After successful enrollment, check the list of Linux devices in the Intune Portal under "Devices > Linux Devices."

Wrapping Up

This step-by-step guide empowers Intune administrators to seamlessly set up and manage Linux devices with Microsoft Intune. As Linux devices become integral to organizational workflows, Microsoft's commitment to their inclusion in Intune ensures a unified and secure device management experience. Stay tuned for potential enhancements and additional features as Microsoft continues to refine Linux management within Intune.

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