With all the hubbub about Snow Leopard and Windows 7, there's another operating system out there you may not have noticed that's getting a significant update: Ubuntu Linux.
Ubuntu backer Canonical plans to release its "Karmic Koala" version on Thursday, and both the desktop and server versions of the open-source operating system take significant steps toward cloud computing. The concept of moving work away from the computer in front of you and into the network does have some merit, but cloud computing is today's fashionable buzzword, and Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth is sensitive to its overuse.
"What frustrates me is the term 'cloud' has come to mean anything with an Internet connection, including some stuff that really looks familiar like internal IT," said Shuttleworth in an interview. It's fair to say that in Ubuntu's case, though, it's not a stretch.
Built into the server version of Ubuntu 9.10 is Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, technology built atop the Eucalyptus software package. Amazon Web Services (AWS), a collection of computing infrastructure accessible over the Net on a pay-as-you-go basis, is among today's most significant cloud-computing efforts, and Eucalyptus implements many of its functions so companies can build their own "private clouds" using the same services.
And in the desktop version of Ubuntu, the cloud connection is a service called Ubuntu One, which lets Ubuntu users synchronize files stored on different machines and back them up on the central service. Storage space of 2GB is free, and 50GB costs $10 per month.