Mark Shuttleworth dicusses the Cloud and Ubuntu


Last month Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux, CEO of Cannonical Ltd and First African in Space, announced that Ubuntu was going to be making a big push into cloud computing with their release slated for October.  This will add to early cloud support that’s debuting in next month’s release, Ubuntu 9.04.  (BTW, For a good backgrounder on Mark and Ubuntu, check out Ashlee Vance’s story in the New York Times from January).

I  was interested to get some more details so I reached out to Mark to find out his master Cloud plan, his thoughts on Cloud Computing today and where he thought it was going.  This is what he had to say:

My interview with Mark (9:51)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)


Mark and myself at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Boston at the end of ’07 (Mark’s the one without the “Barton” name tag.)

Some of the topics Mark Tackles:

  • Ubuntu has picked two anchor points for its cloud strategy: Amazon EC2 and UCSB‘s (go Gauchos!) Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus is for those looking to create “private clouds” on their own and on the Amazon side they are making it easy for users to plug into EC2 as well as offering folks the ability to run Ubuntu-based machines on their cloud.
  • Why they went with EC2 and Eucalyptus.  On the Eucalyptus side it has to with it being Java-based, which meshes nicely with the work Ubuntu did with Sun to get the Java stack “straightened out” on Ubuntu for  app servers.
  • The constraints that EC2 imposes actually make it more interesting by providing discipline, much in the same way that http applied the discipline of being completely connectionless.
  • We haven’t yet seen the “definitive cloud” in  the way that Google came along and captured the spirit (and revenues) of the web.  It will still be 5 -10 years before the cloud computing is nailed.
  • Portability in the Cloud is key if we want to avoid gross lock-in issues.  People are trying to tackle this in a variety of ways but it makes sense to look at the way http came to dominance.
  • Any truth to the rumor that Google is planning on using Ubuntu as a Netbook OS? (listen how Mark deftly responds :)
  • Last time we spoke, back in August, Mark said he was looking at profitability in 18 months to two years, is he still on track?

Pau for now…

Update: Here is the Register article based on the above podcast.

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