Tag Archives: Canonical


OpenStack UK Summit schedule announced

After the overwhelming success of the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, the schedule for the next OpenStack Summit in London is announced. So here’s a chance for those who couldn’t make it to Atlanta to join the event in London.

OpenStack Software brings with it a massively scalable cloud operating system. It is promoted by the OpenStack Foundation which has already attracted more than 9,500 individual members from 100 countries and 850 different organizations. OpenStack is used by organizations like AT&T, CERN, BestBuy and Comcast and is rapidly becoming the industry open source standard for public and private clouds. OpenStack is running on the world’s fastest supercomputer too!

If that sounds exciting enough, here are the details of the London Summit:

Date: 04 June 2014
Venue: 155 Bishopsgate, London

8:30      Registration and Coffee
9:00      Opening
9:10      Mark Collier – The OpenStack Foundation
10:00    Canonical keynote
10:30    Coffee Break
11:00    Solidfire keynote
11:30    vArmour keynote
12:00    Final keynote TBC
12:30    Lunch

Afternoon sessions (times TBC):
OpenStack at Lush Cosmetics – Jim Liddle, Storage Made Easy
Searching for OpenStack’s ‘God Particle’ – Chris Jackson, Rackspace
Image customisation best practises – Boris Devouge, HP
An introduction to OpenStack orchestration – Stephen Hardy, Red Hat
Integrating OpenStack and VMware – Dave Russell, Canonical
Technical talks from OpenStack tech leads such as Monty Taylor and Mark McClain.

Among other distinguished speakers, Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth will be giving a keynote (scheduled at 10:00). Being a primary sponsor, Canonical is offering a 50% discount (code: OSCAN50) which you can avail when prompted at the registration page. This is valid only for the first 10 early birds so hurry! Price of tickets without any discount are: Early bird tickets £60 + VAT (until 15 May 2014) and general tickets £70 + VAT.


Ubuntu runs on world’s fastest supercomputer

Ubuntu is now running on the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, as per an update from Ubuntu Insigths. China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) and Canonical have teamed up to run OpenStack on Tianhe2.

Tianhe-2 is NUDT’s brainchild and runs on its own Kylin Cloud Linux operating system. It has been the world’s fastest supercomputer since 2013, with a recorded Linpack Performance (Rmax) 33.86 petaflops. The servers use Intel Xeon processors, Intel Xeon Phi co-processors and a 160Gbps interconnect for super-fast data transfer between nodes.

The list of Canonical products to run on Tianhe-2 includes Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Openstack and Ubuntu’s orchestration tool, Juju. Ubuntu OpenStack is running on 256 high performance nodes right now and this will expand to more than 6400 in next few months. This will help the Government departments in Guangdong province as well as other NUDT partners in running analysis, census, and eGovernment applications.

OpenStack and Juju will run closely to deploy and manage high performance cloud environments. According to Professor QingBo Wu at NUDT, “NUDT is a pioneer of technology, especially in the area of high performance. Tianhe-2, the world’s fastest supercomputer runs on Ubuntu Kylin and now with OpenStack and Ubuntu Juju, we are able to deliver high performance OpenStack.”

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu is overwhelmed about this great feat. “To see the fastest supercomputer running OpenStack is already a beautiful thing”, Mark says. He is eager to see further rollout of OpenStack and Juju on it.


Unity 8 Desktop flavour proposed

On behalf of the desktop team, developer Iain Lane proposed a Desktop version of the Unity 8 in the developer mailing list. While there is no plan for a formal release for this flavour, it will serve as an experimental playground for desktop developers and one more step towards convergence.

The main objective is to have the Unity 8 desktop environment and the new applications developed for the touch project packaged together “to provide a product which developers can use to figure out the work that’s required to make a desktop product based on this software usable, and to create a space for experimentation to figure out the best ways of carrying out the required integration.” While the plans to migrate pieces of the current Unity 7 based desktop environment is still in place, the task needs to be handled with care so that the existing desktop doesn’t become unstable. Bringing Unity 8 to the desktop in this parallel experimental flavour means software migration will happen only when it is ready for the migration, and will not be driven by the pressure to release them to the users even if at a premature stage.

That being said, questions remain in areas like how to handle click packages in the desktop environment. However, the immediate attention would be towards putting everything together and get something running, with the changes ongoing as a part of the long-term process of having a “stable” Unity 8 desktop environment.

Iain calls out for help with building the flavour. His initial work is available in ppa:ubuntu-desktop/unity8-flavour (seed branch lp:~laney/ubuntu-seeds/ubuntu-unity8.utopic). The immediate questions he has are:

  • Having a more unique name than “ubuntu-unity8″ which already exists. He has thought of “ubuntu-touch-desktop” but welcomes any suggestions.
  • Is there enough bandwidth to build another flavour?
  • What needs to be done to initiate the daily builds? He would love to do the things necessary but someone with the information needs to point him out the changes required for a new flavour and where they need to go.

The long term advantages of this experimental flavour are evident. It would help re-use the code from the phone and the tablet versions and allow enough time to adapt them to the desktop. Unity 8 is under active development and having the changes in a dedicated flavour will help reduce the lag in development between the touch and desktop versions. The initial blueprint says that the “new iso should become the default one by 16.04″.


Red Hat to acquire Inktank, a company in which Mark Shuttleworth invested $1 million

Red Hat is acquiring Inktank, a provider of scale-out, open source storage systems for approximately $175 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in May 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

What makes this acquisition even more interesting is that Red Hat competitor Canonical invested $1 million through a convertible note in the start-up back in 2012. Shuttleworth’s money helped the start-up grow big enough to become a target for Red Hat.

Bad news for Canonical?

Does this make Mark upset as Benjamin Kerensa, a Mozilla evangelist, says on Google+? I think not for various reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that Red Hat is the world’s number one Open Source company which is also the #1 contributor to many open source projects so this acquisition won’t lock Canonical out of the company that they once funded.

Allan Bell, an Ubuntu developer opines that Canonical may have actually made a lot of money via this investment as it was a convertible bond. He says, “He invested $1m in a convertible note http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convertible_bond must have given him a fairly substantial holding in 2012, it was certainly newsworthy http://www.inktank.com/news-events/new/shuttleworth-invests-1-million-in-ceph-storage-startup-inktank/ and now it has been sold for $175m. I think he made a lot of money on this in less than 2 years.”

Mark has not reacted to this acquisition yet.

Inktank will bring a lot of value to Red Hat as it “delivers world class object and block storage software to enterprises deploying public or private clouds, including many early adopters of OpenStack clouds. Combined with Red Hat’s existing GlusterFS-based storage offering, the addition of Inktank positions Red Hat as the leading provider of open software-defined storage across object, block and file system storage.” says Red Hat in a statement.

What’s Inktank?

Founded in 2012, Inktank’s main objective has been to drive the widespread adoption of Ceph, a scalable, open source, software-defined storage system that runs on commodity hardware. Ceph was developed by Inktank’s founder and chief technology officer, Sage Weil, and is a replacement for legacy storage systems and provides a unified solution for cloud computing environments.

Inktank’s primary goal has been to help customers scale their storage to the exabyte-level and beyond in a cost-effective way. Inktank has provided customers with expertise, processes, tools and support with their enterprise subscription and service offerings. Inktank’s customers include Cisco, CERN and Deutsche Telekom, and its partners include Alcatel-Lucent and Dell. The company has offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

OpenPower Foundation

IBM announces new Power Systems servers to tackle Big Data challenges

IBM has made some exciting announcements on POWER-8 based systems building on the Open Server Innovation Model at the just-concluded Open Innovation Summit in San Francisco.

The most significant is the new scale-out POWER-8 based Power Systems servers built specifically with Big Data in mind. IBM has invested $2.4 billion on these servers, along with three-plus years of development efforts and exploited the innovation of hundreds of IBM patents to deliver higher-value, open technologies to clients.

IBM recognizes Linux as a driving force behind innovation, and last year it committed $1 billion (USD) in new Linux and other open source technologies for IBM’s Power Systems servers. Significant investments were on new products, a growing network of five Power Systems Linux Centers around the world and the Power Development Platform, a free development cloud to test and port x86-based applications to the Power platform.

Building upon that commitment, IBM unveiled two key Linux developments for rapid cloud innovation on POWER8 systems:

  • Availability of Canonical’s Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu OpenStack and Juju service orchestration tools, on all POWER8 systems.
  • PowerKVM, a Power Systems-compatible version of the popular Linux-based virtualization platform KVM, on all POWER8 systems that run Linux exclusively.

IBM is offering the latest release of Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu OpenStack and Canonical’s Juju cloud orchestration tools on the new Power Systems (announced today) and all future POWER8-based systems. This complements the existing support by IBM for Red Hat and SUSE Linux operating systems on its complete lineup of Power Systems.

Use and follow the hashtag #power8 on Twitter for live coverage and conversation related to the announcement.

OpenPower Foundation

OpenPOWER Foundation to reveal innovations in Big Data

The OpenPOWER Foundation is going to reveal new innovations around Big Data technology in the next Open Innovation Summit on April 23, 2014. The OpenPOWER Foundation is a collaboration of technology companies on Power Architecture products initiated by IBM. It is building an ecosystem around IBM POWER hardware and software and making it available for open development for the first time. Canonical has also added support for PowerSystems in the recently released Ubuntu Linux 14.04.

Details of the Open Innovation Summit:

Venue : San Francisco
Time : 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT
Date : Wednesday, April 23, 2014

For those who cannot make it to the event in person but are interested in learning first-hand about this new technology and business model, join the live broadcast on

The tweeter hashtags to use and follow for live coverage and conversation related to this announcement are #openpower and #ibmpowersystems.


Ubuntu takes the next step towards convergence in 14.10

Canonical has been hinting on full device convergence by 14.10 or 15.04 releases for a while. The latest update from the Ubuntu desktop developer mailing list by Canonical’s Robert Ancell adds more clarity to the roadmap. Now that 14.04 release is a few days away, it seems Canonical is determined to reinstate its focus on Convergence.

The current focus areas identified for the desktop are:

1. Deprecate gnome-session and use upstart/systemd as the root process
2. Deprecate gnome-screensaver (following upstream) and unify screensaver management into the shell.
3. Deprecate policykit-gnome and use the shell for PolicyKit handling in both Unity 7 and Unity 8.
4. Deprecate unity-settings-daemon by decoupling the plugins and migrating to new services.
5. Add more desktop capabilities in Ubuntu System Settings to replace unity-control-center.
6. Enhance the core apps to replace current defaults e.g. calculator, file manager etc.

And this is only the beginning of the post 14.04 LTS work discussion. As it should be evident by now, many areas those are tightly coupled with Gnome are going to be unified with Unity soon for the true Convergence that Canonical strives to achieve. With the third Ubuntu App Showdown in progress this will only become more interesting from here as we will see more and more applications working seamlessly with Unity.

Windows XP died today.

Indian state drops Windows, switches to Linux

We all know that Microsoft is dropping support for Windows XP very soon, and, well, no one is very happy about it. In fact, it turns out, that a lot of people are switching platforms so they can avoid upgrading to Windows 8. That other platform is Linux.

It turns out that parts of India are following suit. They have fully abandoned Windows. Tamil Nadu has issued “a directive to local government departments asking them to switch over to open source software, in the wake of Microsoft’s decision to end support for Windows XP this month, reports ITWire.

Their reasoning is said to be that the hardware updates required to run Windows 8 would be too expensive to take place on a large scale. Of course, Microsoft had been expecting this recently, and have been working on an upgrade that would reduce the system requirements. Still, this doesn’t make up for all of the trouble caused by the change of the interface.

So, in replacement of Windows XP, the local governmental agencies are upgrading to “BOSS” a custom Linux distro that the government designed themselves. However, this is not a totally new phenomena. It turns out that Russia, in 2007, announced that all of it’s school computers were to run on linux. This is a growing trend as the requirements and interface continue to go downhill in Windows 8.

A full list of “Linux Adopters”, can be found here.

One of the most popular distros that has been used in education is Canonical’s branch distro edubuntu. This is used at schools in Macedonia, The Philippines, and Germany.

However, no matter the distro, it seems that, across the globe, Linux is benefiting from Microsoft’s mistakes. With many countries switching over already, maybe we could be next.


Ubuntu makes Dash search opt-in [updated]

Ubuntu received well-deserved flack from the community and organizations like EFF and FSF for risking user’s privacy by showing ads in the Dash search. For a long time, the community was asking Canonical to make the feature opt-in so that unsuspecting users don’t end up sending some data to Canonical servers.

Looks like Canonical has paid heed and with Unity 8, the home scope won’t show any results from Amazon.com. Michael Hall, a Canonical developer told me on Google+ that with Unity 8 there won’t be any ‘search everything’ home scope, if one wants to see Amazon results then they will have to use Amazon scope.

This is a major improvement from Canonical in the right direction, after picking up community developed systemd dropping their own Upstart.

None of these changes are being implemented in Unity 7 as it makes more sense to invest engineering sources in Unity which is being developed for future releases. Unfortunately, at the moment Unity 8 is not available for general usage or testing as it is in a very early stage.

In a nutshell, the controversial ‘search everything’ home scope is gone which was sending data to Canonical servers and instead it will become the ‘Application scope’ which will show applications. It will show installed apps as well as apps available for download – makes perfect sense.

There will, however, be a ‘search everything’ scope which will work more or less like the current home scope, but there will be a big difference. When you search in this scope instead of showing results from scopes like Amazon it will show different scopes and a user can choose which scope she wants to use. It will be using the ‘Smart Scope’ service being developed by Canonical.

It seems to make sense because if I am really looking for buying a book or music track, I can simple click on Amazon scope. Here I am making a conscious choice to open Amazon and know that it’s showing results from an online source. Here I am opting-in.

With this move, Canonical has removed one of the biggest complaints people have with Ubuntu and I am pretty much sure that it makes Ubuntu more acceptable for such privacy concerned people.

The last two decisions show that Canonical has started to move in the right direction lately. I really think Canonical should work closely with the free software community, take leverage of their work and focus on polishing Ubuntu phone and desktop so that they can bring the new Ubuntu to the market as soon as possible.

I, for one, drop my #1 complaint of Ubuntu. Keep it up folks!

PS: No, it’s not a Damn-O-Crazy story.


Ubuntu 14.04 beta released for testing

The Beta version of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) has been released to the public. Now, the last few Ubuntu updates have been mundane to say the least. 14.04, being a Long Term Support Release would appear to be boring as well, right? Wrong.

While the updates do not bring any game changing new features, the developers have brought back some well loved features from the old gnome interface.

“Wait, they’re bringing back Gnome?”, you may be thinking, still no. Instead they have added back in some optional features that originally made switching to Unity so rough.

As with the last update, they are still trying to make Unity an overall nicer desktop environment to use. As part of this, they are putting into place a new lock screen that looks similar to the logon screen. This is replacing the old lock screen that, well, looked as if it were still part of Gnome. This gives locking a very slick feel.

As well as the aesthetics portion, the newer Unity interface is providing the user with more customizability options. One of these new options, is the option to set the application menu bars inside of the application window itself. Previously the application menus were hidden up in the top bar of the desktop, not the window. This stirred up a lot of controversy when it was first introduced. Because the menu was detached from the application, many users thought that the interface hid those options, and made the OS harder to use. Despite who you side with, Trusty Tahr gives you the option to go either way.

Also, the infamous click to reveal option has been (reluctantly) added in as well. Unfortunately, if you are looking to enable this option, you do need to install an external application, such as CompizConfig.

Finally, a noticeable tweak for those of you using HD displays, is the addition of anti-aliased windows, and dash. This provides for less “fuzzy pictures” and a sharper looking UI on high resolution monitors.

To wrap things up, it appears that the Ubuntu developers are finally spending some more time on the desktop version of the OS, and hopefully if everything goes well, when 14.04 comes around, we should get a stable release with a lot of nice features as well.

You can download the beta of Ubuntu 14.04 from here.