Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth on ARM & OpenStack for Ubuntu Servers

For some time now, the folks at Canonical have been trying to establish Ubuntu as the operating system for cloud computing. Mark Shuttleworth, till recently, Canonical CEO, underscored this mission during his keynote at the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit, in which he noted full support for ARM-based servers, as well as for the OpenStack cloud platform (hat tip to for finding this clip):


Our coverage around startups like Smooth-stone always notes that although the technology is groundbreaking, it’s nothing without users willing to make the switch to ARM servers. Well, OS support is crucial even before customers, so it’s notable that Smooth-stone will have at least Ubuntu in its corner. For the class of applications that can benefit from low-power processors running at a high level of scale, ARM servers should be a compelling choice when they’re available.

As for cloud proper, the expression of OpenStack support is significant for a couple of reasons. One, it further illustrates the level of vendor support behind OpenStack as the open-source cloud computing platform of choice. Two, it’s yet another blow to former open-source cloud posterboy Eucalyptus. Shuttleworth said that Eucalyptus is still the IaaS platform within Ubuntu, but there are reports of OpenStack integration into the OS. When I spoke with Morphlabs CEO Winston Damarillo earlier this week, he, too, mentioned a move from solely supporting Eucalyptus into supporting OpenStack and actually dedicating developers to the project.

Canonical’s decisions involving cloud computing could be more meaningful than some might expect; at least one study shows Ubuntu tops among all OSes deployed on Amazon (s AMZN) EC2, and by a wide margin. Despite the prevalence on EC2, though, Canonical’s 2010 user survey (PDF) suggests that the vast majority of Ubuntu Server Edition still aren’t using public cloud services, but do have plans for cloud deployments, mostly of the internal variety. ARM support, cloud-platform choice and being a proven fit for EC2 could bring even more developers into the Ubuntu camp.

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