Ubuntu's next wave: Open server, closed cloud
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 23 February 2009 13:39
 I admit that I nearly got caught up in my former colleague James Urquhart's excellent analysis of Canonical's Ubuntu 9.10 release, code-named Karmic Koala.

 February 23, 2009 9:07 AM PST
by Matt Asay

I saw the word "open" laced heavily through the post, and given Canonical's commitment to fully open-source Ubuntu experience, I played along.
Ubuntu in the clouds

But something doesn't quite fit in Canonical's story.

It's called Amazon.com. Yes, Ubuntu 9.10 will give users an option to build its own Elastic Compute Cloud-style service, using open-source Eucalyptus (or another cloud provider), but the intent certainly seems to seamlessly plug users into Amazon's closed cloud:

    Ubuntu aims to keep free software at the forefront of cloud computing by embracing the APIs of Amazon EC2, and making it easy for anybody to set up their own cloud using entirely open tools...During the Karmic cycle, we want to make it easy to deploy applications into the cloud, with ready-to-run appliances or by quickly assembling a custom image...Wouldn't it be apt for Ubuntu to make the Amazon jungle as easy to navigate as, say, APT?

Or is Ubuntu simply making it easier to navigate one's way into the Amazon jungle but not to get out of that jungle?

This isn't meant as a criticism. After all, I've increasingly seen that the best way to monetize open-source software is with the careful inclusion of proprietary software. I told The New York Times' Ashlee Vance that Mark Shuttleworth would eventually have to grapple with this same strategy, basing it on my own conversations with Shuttleworth about how to effectively monetize Ubuntu.

That strategy increasingly points to tethering an open server (and desktop) with closed cloud services. That's not a critique. It's a fact. [C/Net News...]    [Comments...]

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