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Ubuntu Linux Claims 12,000 Cloud Deployments 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the partly-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-tux dept.
darthcamaro writes "The cloud is more than just hype for Ubuntu. Canonical COO Matt Asay is now saying that they can count 12,000 deployments of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. He also thinks the cloud is where Ubuntu can make money — because in his view, the company for the last five years wasn't set up to generate revenue. From the article: 'The conversion of non-paying to paying users is often a difficult ratio to report for any open source effort, and Ubuntu is no exception. Asay noted that Canonical plans to get more aggressive at tracking its free-to-paid ratio on Ubuntu Linux and its related services and technologies. "For the first five years of the company's life, it wasn't set up to make money," Asay said. "The company was set up to make a fantastic Linux distribution and other tools around it and get it out there and get people using it. That was the focus." That's now changing at Canonical as the emphasis is now shifting to generating revenues.'"
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Ubuntu Linux Claims 12,000 Cloud Deployments

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  • by Requiem18th (742389) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:41PM (#31967728)

    Just when I was moving to Debian.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by darkpixel2k (623900)

      Just when I was moving to Debian.

      Same here. The final straw for me is plymouth....on servers. You can't get away from the graphical boot apparently. All the core packages depend on it. And guess what doesn't work on my server? Plymouth. So I can't graphically boot, and I can't remove it.

      packages.debian.org doesn't even list 'plymouth'.

      Hello, Debian.

      • Re:Related Timing? (Score:5, Informative)

        by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @03:14PM (#31968624) Homepage

        Plymouth originated as a RedHat technology [fedoraproject.org], so expect to see it there too. Wouldn't be surprised to find it in the next Debian too--it's where everybody else is going. The ability to "degrade" back to simple text mode is supposed to be there. I expect that months from now, part of the standard set of tricks every Linux server admin knows will be how to force Plymouth into text mode. I believe this works:


        plymouth-set-default-plugin text

        /usr/libexec/plymouth/plymouth-update-initrd

        ...presuming that you can get your server booted via single user mode or via rescue disk to execute the commands. Not sure if there's a grub-based solution here that always works; adding "nomodeset" is the first thing to try.

        • Plymouth originated as a RedHat technology [fedoraproject.org], so expect to see it there too. Wouldn't be surprised to find it in the next Debian too--it's where everybody else is going. The ability to "degrade" back to simple text mode is supposed to be there. I expect that months from now, part of the standard set of tricks every Linux server admin knows will be how to force Plymouth into text mode. I believe this works:

          plymouth-set-default-plugin text

          /usr/libexec/plymouth/plymouth-update-initrd

          ...presuming that you can get your server booted via single user mode or via rescue disk to execute the commands. Not sure if there's a grub-based solution here that always works; adding "nomodeset" is the first thing to try.

          Turns out there's something weird going on between my two fakeraid cards (which I use in JBOD mode so I can get extra SATA ports onto this older motherboard) and Ubuntu. 8.04 works great, everything else fails, drops disks, or core dumps. Debian apparently has no problem.

        • by Bambi Dee (611786)
          Removing "splash" from the kernel options was all I ever had to do. Isn't that sufficient?
          • Removing "splash" from the kernel options was all I ever had to do. Isn't that sufficient?

            It is insufficient with plymouth. As far as I know, 'splash' was for the usplash package.

  • Good for them. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MZeora (1707054) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:45PM (#31967762) Homepage
    Ubuntu is a very nice starting distro to get into the knowledge of Linux. I'm glad they make it work as well as they have (in my experience I had minor issues between 9.04/9.10)
    I hope they can find a way to make proper funding and really make improvements to the other flavors (KDE variant Kubuntu being sometimes quite broken)
  • by ihatewinXP (638000) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:46PM (#31967768)

    So if it wasnt set up to make money for the last 5 years - but that time is over - what changes will we see?

    Will the growth in cloud / corporate paid users be enough to make the company and quality of the distribution grow ala Red Hat (which some would argue pushed the focus on users to the side for corporate..)?

    Or will the money not be enough and will start to put the crunch on Ubuntu - and what end user ramifications would that have?

    Sorry nothing but questions here...

    • by monoqlith (610041) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:08PM (#31967900)

      Shuttleworth, as far as i can tell, never planned to make money with Canonical and Ubuntu. He's rich enough to subsidize the two indefinitely. So the fact that Ubuntu might now actually start to generate self-sustaining or even profitable revenues is extra credit, and always was. I think any future changes in the companies are still going to reflect the culture of emphasizing a good, widely deployed Desktop Linux rather than necessarily turning a profit.

      • by Fred_A (10934) <fred&fredshome,org> on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:26PM (#31968014) Homepage

        I think any future changes in the companies are still going to reflect the culture of emphasizing a good, widely deployed Desktop Linux rather than necessarily turning a profit.

        There could also be the fact that in many people's (and PHB's) eyes, if you don't pay through the nose for it then it has to be crap.

        Hopefully a more commercial Ubuntu will help make it more visible in the corporate space as well as promote the integration of tools in that area (they're already there of course, you just have to add them yourself).

      • Shuttleworth, as far as i can tell, never planned to make money with Canonical and Ubuntu.

        Wut? He created a whole community backlash by trying to market closed-source products using the Ubuntu name, which the open source community helped to build.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Fr33thot (1236686)
      It seems that a number of companies focus on long term profits as opposed to short term (like Amazon for example) so it doesn't surprise me that the last five years have not been chiefly about profit. I doubt they had their eyes on the cloud as a promising revenue stream back when they started up so the chance they are taking by adding it doesn't seem that great. I'd bet that they still have a longer view of how they could reach full profitability since they seem to have favored using their Ubuntu project
  • Failure Ahead? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by foobsr (693224) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:48PM (#31967776) Homepage Journal
    The company was set up to make a fantastic Linux distribution ... That was the focus. ... ... That's now changing at Canonical as the emphasis is now shifting to generating revenues.

    My theory is that if the focus is generating revenues, not the customer (or the product), failure is to be expected in this case.

    CC.
    • Re:Failure Ahead? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @02:22PM (#31968372)
      My theory is that if the focus is generating revenues, not the customer (or the product), failure is to be expected in this case

      Why to people always act like these things are mutually exclusive? Who wants customers that can't undertand that the people providing them with the goods and services they want won't be there if they're bankrupt? Companies have to keep customers in mind, and customers who like those companies can't complain that money needs to change hands for the relationship to grow and thrive.
      • I think it is often because of experiences where people within a company forgot about the customers and just started thinking about the money. You can't make money if you don't have any customers, and when customers start leaving some managers start panicking and make things even worse. We've all seen it happen at one time or another. Your favorite store stops stocking the items you really want. They start refusing to special order items (when they never had a problem in the past). They stop calling you by

      • by Yfrwlf (998822)
        Because consumers are used to being fucked over, because they usually GET fucked over. Capitalism is directly contrary to morality. If you care about your customers, you will be replaced by the next asshole in line who is willing to fuck them over. The world then fills up with corporations like that, which slowly become more and more able to fuck them over as they become monopolies and thus the only choice, allowing their products and services to suck more, and themselves to profit more. Unless governme
  • I'm using Ubuntu right now, but a coworker told me he prefers Fedora (quote: "Any OS that fits on a single CD can't be any good."). Meanwhile my company is using Red Hat for their development.

    What makes one Linux better than another?

       

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:55PM (#31967824)
      Packetmanager and base layout. The community also counts.
      • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:22PM (#31967988) Journal

        The community counts a lot. Also, popularity helps a lot, especially for a FLOSS project. When I go looking for walk-throughs or tutorials for some FLOSS application, Ubuntu is nearly always used as an example. Every distribution has its idiosyncrasies, which of course is why there are different distributions, so it makes life easier if the idiosyncrasies of the distribution you're using are specifically addressed.

        There are some things I like about Fedora -- in general, that it's more conventional in several respects. Canonical is developing a habit of innovating first, documenting later, for important features -- take Upstart, for instance, which handles startup and shutdown processes.

        I notice that I'll read sysadmins saying they like to use Ubuntu on their personal computers, but some other distribution on their servers, usually Debian or CentOS. One expects different things from different computers.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:06PM (#31967882)

      Pure fanboyistic bullshit. If these people were reasoning their choices out, they would use Microsoft Windows 7, the finest operating system yet to come from Redmond. The pure joy of using Microsoft Windows 7 is a bargain at twice the price, I assure you. And security? Brother, let's not even talk about security. Microsoft Windows 7.

    • by MrMr (219533)
      Both Fedora and Ubuntu have convenient package managers and an active community. Other differences are mainly a matter of taste.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kgo (1741558)

        When Fedora first came out, I felt like Red Hat went out of their way to make fedora the "hobbiest" version, and RHEL the "corporate" version. Have they got more or less divergent as time has gone on? It's kind of nice to run the same version of the software at home and in the server room, where Ubuntu is Ubuntu is Ubuntu. One less thing to deal with. Just wondering if I should give Fedora another try...

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Daengbo (523424)

          Listen, it's not the most "hobby" OS: it's the OS used by people as a hobby (i.e. hobbyists).

        • by MrMr (219533)
          I run CentOS on my servers and Ubuntu, Suse, and Fedora on workstations. I can get everything I need prepackaged on every system, it's just different defaults and themes as far as I can see.
      • by HiThere (15173)

        I looked at Fedora a year or so ago. The package manager was ok. (I prefer apt-get + synaptic, but yum + synaptic + rpm wasn't bad.) OTOH, the package selection was poor. They had most of the more common packages, but finding anything what wasn't in the main repository meant trusting someone I'd never heard of. Not something I like to do regularly. And sometimes even finding the repository was sufficient work that it was easier to compile from source. And sometimes that didn't work. Debian was just

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          At work they run redhat, and it takes the sysadmins a lot of panicking to get packages installed I need to do my job (research programming). One line apt-get install for my Debian laptop or Ubuntu server (yes, I know I'm doing it wrong).

          So I'm off programming instead of rolling rpms by hand.

          • by Yfrwlf (998822)
            So you're saying RPM packages are more difficult to make than DEBs? I have an idea. Why not make the packages agnostic to the package managers, so you can choose the packaging format you like the best along with the manager you like the best? You know, freedom? All you have to do is load the package up with metadata to cover everyone's needs, and viola, a package that can be installed on any distro. That should help cut down on silly customized and tweaked builds of developer's software, and force the
            • Not so much harder to make as fewer premade available. It is my opinion that deb is the superior format as it has a more transparent format and forces package designers to reduce reliance on custom scripts, thus simplifying removal, but in the end both formats do work.

              Cross-distro packages are difficult because many distros are set up in incompatible ways with respect to locations, etc. Debian comes with alien which converts rpms to debs automatically, however the new packages don't always work quite right.

      • by h00manist (800926)

        Both Fedora and Ubuntu have convenient package managers and an active community. Other differences are mainly a matter of taste.

        Has there been no talk of combining repositories, package formats or anything like that?

    • by Shark (78448)

      What makes one Linux better than another?

      Your needs and your tastes.

    • I'm using Ubuntu right now, but a coworker told me he prefers Fedora (quote: "Any OS that fits on a single CD can't be any good."). Meanwhile my company is using Red Hat for their development.

      What makes one Linux better than another?

      I say the same thing about programming languages. Any application that doesn't carry a runtime dependency of at least a few hundred megs can't be any good. That's why I use the .NET framework. Oh--I also hate freedom and kick puppies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        That's why I use the .NET framework. Oh--I also hate freedom and kick puppies.

        ... that's fine as long as you keep seeding the torrents.

    • a coworker told me he prefers Fedora (quote: "Any OS that fits on a single CD can't be any good.").

      I assume that quote is supposed to be from your coworker. Either your coworker never said that, or your coworker is an idiot. I have a Fedora 12 CD. The whole thing fit right on there, and the live session works perfectly. If your coworker really said that, tell him to switch distros, because by his own ideas, Fedora can't be any good.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by greg1104 (461138)

      What makes one Linux better than another?

      "Better" is not a concept you can apply to Linux distributions, anymore than you can apply it to (wait for it...) cars. Is a giant Ford truck better than a Prius? Well that really depends on how large the stuff you have to move in the near future is, doesn't it?

      The better Linux distribution for you is the one that matches your business or personal priorities more closely. Since those are your priorities, no one else can answer that question for you.

    • You co-worker is an idiot who neither understands the term OS, nor that Fedora is smaller than Ubuntu.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What makes one Linux better than another?

      It always helps to try out different versions of linux. There are always little things that are different, or little things that work in one and not in another.

      For example, I run Ubuntu on my desktop and normally run Kubuntu on my laptop. Since Ubuntu is more Gnome-centered the KDE version would have little bugs here and there (updating to 9.04 killed wireless networking - had to switch to WICD with a wired connection, I had a bunch of "available updates" appearing in the updater, only to tell me I can't ac

      • by pnutjam (523990)
        If you want KDE, try OpenSUSE, their distribution is top notch on laptops. I use it on Dell and HP.
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @12:52PM (#31967806)

    The company was set up to make a fantastic Linux distribution and other tools around it and get it out there and get people using it. That was the focus." That's now changing at Canonical as the emphasis is now shifting to generating revenues.

    We're fine with moving priority to the new objective as soon as you've completed the former. ;-)

    Ubuntu 10.04 presumably [slashdot.org] is not it just yet.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Anecdotally, I have intel graphics (reportedly always affected by the bug), I am running the test replacement from the PPA, and if I leave my machine sitting for any length of time I find it very hot and in text mode, often with a kernel panic. I've been updating once or twice daily...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by eapache (1239018)
      <quote><blockquote><div><p>The company was <b>set up to make a fantastic Linux distribution</b> and other tools around it and get it out there and get people using it. That was the focus." That's now changing at Canonical as the emphasis is now shifting to generating revenues.</p></div></blockquote><p>We're fine with moving priority to the new objective as soon as you've completed the former. ;-)

      Ubuntu 10.04 <a href="http://it.slashdot.org/story
  • RHEL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:10PM (#31967926)
    If I were looking for paid support Linux, I would go with RHEL. They have more experience in this kind of thing and have been around longer. Plus, I like RHEL for enterprise use. It has good tools for use in the enterprise - a certificate management system, a good directory server, deployment tools, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 0123456 (636235)

      We use RHEL/CentOS for a lot of servers, but while they're stable and reliable, they're also using old versions of a lot of packages which aren't compatible with the latest shiny things. So if you want to run SuperWhizzoWebService you may well have to either upgrade packages on your RHEL server to the latest versions (which is often a real pain) or just run a more 'bleeding edge' distribution.

      I'm not a fan of Ubuntu on servers, but if it has to run shiny things and doesn't need to be up 24/7/365 then it may

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      If you want to setup a cloud deployment on, say, Amazon's EC2, it's quite easy [ubuntu.com], and then once you're up and running you can then decide if you want to buy support for that deployment.

      If instead you visit RedHat's cloud page [redhat.com], you'll see no similar guide to getting started. As far as I can tell, this is because you need to have a RHEL license to even get access to their EC2 AMI files. As close as you can get for free is the RightScale AMI for CentOS [amazonwebservices.com].

      A lot of technical decision are made through the path of l

  • Why don't they just take a bunch of polls and ask if people use Ubuntu, and if they pay?

    Or maybe they could make it so that paying ubuntu users get a slight bandwidth preference for update/distro packages --- but this actually means a very small flag is applied to their system. Those numbers can be counted.

  • Lots of people like to claim that "Free is a business model". In one sense I agree: Giving away some things for free so you can make money other ways can work. But free by itself is not a business model.

    This is what Canonical has decided. After 5 years of trying to be successful in giving a way a free client operating system, they have decided to stop lighting money on fire and do something to make a profit.

    I love this quote from the article [serverwatch.com]:

    "For the first five years of the companys life,

    • by debatem1 (1087307)
      They actually don't compete with Amazon here- Ubuntu's cloud software is AWS compatible, and provides a pretty natural migration path for companies looking at moving from public to private clouds as they scale.
      • Sure - if the first order criteria is going to a private cloud from a public cloud. But cost, reliability, features, operations (and likely others) will all be factors here. All the public cloud providers will compete with Canonical by saying

        "Dont go private! We can provid you with cloud services more effecitcly, just as securetly, at better scale, and for less costs than you can do it yourselves!".

        They may not always be right - but that is how they will complete.

        Moreover, Microsoft will compl

        • by debatem1 (1087307)

          Sure - if the first order criteria is going to a private cloud from a public cloud.

          For a lot of companies, it is- and for a lot of startups, the ability to scale from 0 to 1 million users without getting screwed on either end sounds like a pretty good deal. I'm not claiming that this is going to make them Microsoft (or even Google) level profits- but they have a much lower outlay. They can survive in a smaller, more profitable niche.

          But cost, reliability, features, operations (and likely others) will all be factors here. All the public cloud providers will compete with Canonical by saying

          "Dont go private! We can provid you with cloud services more effecitcly, just as securetly, at better scale, and for less costs than you can do it yourselves!".

          They may not always be right - but that is how they will complete.

          IME, this is not how this argument goes. Everybody knows that AWS is going to beat you in scale over a short period of time, but a long-term dependency on the

  • A non-profit charity makes much more sense. Or maybe even seek NSF grants. It's nice having a viable, widely distributed Linux distro without a profit incentive.
    • by HiThere (15173)

      Their business, their choice. If you want a non-profit distribution, check out Debian Stable. (Testing is usually OK, but right not it's a bit volatile.)

    • "It's nice having a viable, widely distributed Linux distro without a profit incentive."

      You mean... like Debian?

      • "It's nice having a viable, widely distributed Linux distro without a profit incentive."

        You mean... like Debian?

        Width is relative, I suppose.. Debian is never going to rival Windows or OSX. Ubuntu might.

        • >>> "It's nice having a viable, widely distributed Linux distro without a profit incentive."
          >> You mean... like Debian?
          > Width is relative, I suppose.. Debian is never going to rival Windows or OSX. Ubuntu might.

          Why you think "Debian is never going to rival Windows or OSX"? Maybe it's exactly because it works "without a profit incentive" in which case the day Ubuntu turned that way it's the day Ubuntu will become a "mightbe rival" for Windows or OSX no more.

          • Um, your argument is refuted by the premise of the original issue. Ubuntu has never had an intention of making money until now, and it's the most widely used distro among home users by far.
            • "Um, your argument is refuted by the premise of the original issue. Ubuntu has never had an intention of making money until now, and it's the most widely used distro among home users by far."

              Not indeed. The fact that they try to turn into money now stablishes it as their plan from the origin just like when you start a building you start it going *down* for the fundations. Do you think that when they start to build up once the foundations are stablished is because the architect suddenly changed his mind?

              • No, I think Ubuntu started on the dot com business model of

                1. ) start a corporation
                2. ) build some hype to get investors interested
                3. ) ???
                4. ) profit!

                you can argue that number 4 indicates an intention of making profit.. But I would argue it only represents the desire to make profit, and that there was no actual plan for how to go about that from the start. This new attempt to make money is nothing but an afterthought, which likely represents a decline in venture capital investments. I predict

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