Canonical Voices

Jane Silber

The social and business value of having a diverse workforce is well documented.  Equally well documented is the relative lack of women in technology, and in open source.

At Canonical we are working hard to build a globally diverse workforce. We are well positioned to do so, particularly building on our open source roots, and in areas such as supporting geographic diversity we are quite successful.   However, in terms of gender diversity, women make up only 13% of Canonical and, slightly more encouragingly, 18% of our managers.   It is disappointing to me that despite having one of the most welcoming, collaborative, flexible and meritocratic environments I have known, we still have such a large gender disparity.

As a woman in technology and a CEO, I am aware of the power of positive examples.  While we need to learn from and eliminate the discouragement, barriers and illegal behaviour which continues to haunt women in technology, we should also celebrate the possibilities, highlight the opportunities and help illuminate a path for others to follow.  In that vein, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the amazing women in technical leadership roles in Canonical.

 

Alexis Bruemmer is the Engineering Manager for Canonical’s Juju team – a team of brilliant engineers working to make cloud orchestration easy, portable and flawless.  Alexis has been working in Linux since her graduation in 2005 and is passionate about open source.  Prior to Canonical, Alexis was at IBM’s Linux Technology Center.  Beyond her work as a professional, she is active in the community promoting STEM outreach as Vice Chair for Saturday Academy and long time member of Society of Women Engineers.

 

Ara Pulido is the Hardware Certification Manager at Canonical, leading the team that defines and ensures the quality bar for desktops and laptops pre-installed with Ubuntu. She discovered Free Software at college, where she was a founding member of the local LUG back in 2002. She joined Canonical 6 years ago in the Ubuntu Engineering QA team. You can follow her at https://twitter.com/arapulido.

 

Leann Ogasawara is the Engineering Manager for our Kernel Team, following a series of promotions at Canonical from Kernel QA to Kernel Engineer to overall team manager.  She has been involved in Linux and Open Source for over a decade.  Before coming to Canonical in 2007, Leann was at the Open Source Development Labs.

 

Pat Gaughen is the Engineering Manager for the fabulous Ubuntu Server and Openstack Development team.  She’s worked in Linux since 1999, and has been in love with Operating System internals for even longer. Prior to Canonical, Pat was at the IBM Linux Technology Center.

 

Roxanne Fan is the Quality Assurance Manager in our Devices Commercial Engineering team. She has been working in data mining for software quality improvement and automation tool development for the past 12 years. She wrote her Masters thesis on the performance of innovative routing for wireless sensor networks in the Ubuntu system. Before Canonical, she was at Pegatron Corp.

 

There are of course many reasons why women join and succeed at Canonical – great technology, inspirational colleagues, the opportunity to innovate, and to fundamentally have an impact on people’s mobile and cloud computing experiences.  Some of the less visible yet fundamental characteristics of Canonical which allow women to succeed in leadership positions include:

  • A commitment to a respectful, collaborative, meritocratic environment sets the stage. One of the earliest manifestations of this commitment was encoded in the Ubuntu Code of Conduct.  This clear statement of expectations has helped make the Ubuntu community a welcoming place for women, and applies in equal measure to Canonical.
  • Our recruitment philosophy of ‘hire only the best people’,  largely unrestricted by geographical boundaries, provides us with the opportunity to grow and support a diverse workforce.   It enables us to consider candidates of varying locations,  economic circumstances, gender, and physical ability.   Like all organisations we want the best person for the role, and leveraging our expertise in distributed, multi-cultural environments allows us to widen our recruiting net significantly.  Across all Canonical companies, our staff is 30% UK, 32% US, and 38% rest of world.  Those percentages are approximately the same when looking at all staff or management/leadership roles, thus providing excellent leadership opportunities in sometimes underserved markets.
  • We operate on a largely distributed environment and strive to support both home-based and office-based workers in equal measure.    With 75% of our employees working remotely we have an extremely high trust environment, thereby empowering employees to integrate working life with home life.  This approach has enabled us to retain men and women who otherwise may have left due to family demands.

I find the women above inspiring and am proud to work with them and many others of the same calibre. But we still have a long road to travel for our diversity figures to be where they should be.    As with the root causes of the problem, the solution is multi-faceted and complex.  We know that there is much more we can do to attract and retain greater diversity at Canonical, and are redoubling our efforts to do so.  As a first step, come join us!

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Mark Baker

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Today is a big day for Ubuntu and a big day for cloud computing: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is released. Everyone involved with Ubuntu can’t help but be impressed and stirred about the significance of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

We are impressed because Ubuntu is gaining extensive traction outside of the tech luminaries such as Netflix, Snapchat and wider DevOP community; it is being adopted by mainstream enterprises such as BestBuy. Ubuntu is dominant in public cloud with typically 60% market share of Linux workloads in the major cloud providers such as Amazon, Azure and Joyent. Ubuntu Server also is the fastest growing platform for scale out web computing having overtaken CentOS some six months ago. So Ubuntu server is growing up and we are proud of what it has become. We are stirred up by how the adoption of Ubuntu, coupled with the adoption of cloud and scale out computing is set grow enormously as it fast becomes an ‘enterprise’ technology.

Recently 70% of CIOs stated that they are going to change their technology and sourcing relationships within the next two or three years. This is in large part due to their planned transition to cloud, be it on premise using technologies such as Ubuntu OpenStack, in a public cloud or, most commonly, using combinations of both. Since the beginning of Ubuntu Server we have been preparing for this time, the time when a wholesale technology infrastructure change occurs and Ubuntu 14.04 arrives just as the change is starting to accelerate beyond the early adopters and technology companies. Enterprises now moving parts of their infrastructure to cloud can choose the technology best suited for the job: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS:

Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS at a glance

  • Based on version 3.13 of the Linux kernel

  • Includes the Icehouse release of OpenStack

  • Both Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS and OpenStack are supported until April 2019

  • Includes MAAS for automated hardware provisioning

  • Includes Juju for fast service deployment of 100+ common scale out applications such as MongoDB, Hadoop, node.js, Cloudfoundry, LAMP stack and Elastic Search

  • Ceph Firefly support

  • Openvswitch  2.0.x

  • Docker included & Docker’s own repository now populated with official     Ubuntu 14.04 images

  • Optimised Ubuntu 14.04 images certified for use on all leading public cloud     platforms – Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Joyent Cloud, HP Cloud, Rackspace Cloud, CloudSigma and many others.

  • Runs on key hardware architectures: x86, x64,  Avoton, ARM64, POWER Systems

  • 50+ systems certified at launch from leading hardware vendors such as HP, Dell, IBM, Cisco and SeaMicro.

The advent of OpenStack, the switch to scale out computing and the move towards public cloud providers presents a perfect storm out of which Ubuntu is set to emerge the technology used ubiquitously for the next decade. That is why we are impressed and stirred by Ubuntu 14.04. We hope you are too. Download 14.04 LTS here

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Jane Silber

Today we are announcing plans to shut down the Ubuntu One file services.  This is a tough decision, particularly when our users rely so heavily on the functionality that Ubuntu One provides.  However, like any company, we want to focus our efforts on our most important strategic initiatives and ensure we are not spread too thin.

Our strategic priority for Ubuntu is making the best converged operating system for phones, tablets, desktops and more. In fact, our user experience, developer tools for apps and scopes, and commercial relationships have been constructed specifically to highlight third party content and services (as opposed to our own); this is one of our many differentiators from our competitors.  Additionally, the free storage wars aren’t a sustainable place for us to be, particularly with other services now regularly offering 25GB-50GB free storage.  If we offer a service, we want it to compete on a global scale, and for Ubuntu One to continue to do that would require more investment than we are willing to make. We choose instead to invest in making the absolute best, open platform  and to highlight the best of our partners’ services and content.

As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One file services will not be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, and the Ubuntu One apps in older versions of Ubuntu and in the Ubuntu, Google, and Apple stores will be updated appropriately. The current services will be unavailable from 1 June 2014; user content will remain available for download until 31 July, at which time it will be deleted.

We will work to ensure that customers have an easy path to download all their content from Ubuntu One to migrate to other personal cloud services.  Additionally, we continue to believe in the Ubuntu One file services, the quality of the code, and the user experience, so will release the code as open source software to give others an opportunity to build on this code to create an open source file syncing platform.

Customers who have an active annual subscription will have their unused fees refunded. We will calculate the refund amount from today’s announcement, even though the service will remain available until 1 June and data available for a further two months.

We will contact customers separately with additional information about what to expect.  We will also publish further blog posts with advice on how to download content and with details on the open sourcing of the code.

The shutdown will not affect the Ubuntu One single sign on service, the Ubuntu One payment service, or the backend U1DB database service.

We’ve always been inspired by the support, feedback and enthusiasm of our users and want to thank you for the support you’ve shown for Ubuntu One. We hope that you’ll continue to support us as together we bring a revolutionary experience to new devices.

UPDATE:  See this post for updated information on downloading all your content from Ubuntu One.  We are aware that in some rare cases (large amount of content or very large number of files), the bulk download to a single archive is failing. Don’t worry – your content is not lost and we’ll post an updated bulk download tool which generates multiple archives rather than a single large one. We know of no issues with the other options discussed in that post.

 

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Mark Baker

It is pretty well known that most of the OpenStack clouds running in production today are based on Ubuntu. Companies like Comcast, NTT, Deutsche Telekom, Bloomberg and HP all trust Ubuntu Server as the right platform to run OpenStack. A fair proportion of the Ubuntu OpenStack users out there also engage Canonical to provide them with technical support, not only for Ubuntu Server but OpenStack itself. Canonical provides full Enterprise class support for both Ubuntu and OpenStack and has been supporting some of the largest, most demanding customers and their OpenStack clouds since early 2011. This gives us a unique insight into what it takes to support a production OpenStack environment.

For example, in the period January 1st 2014 to end of March, Canonical processed hundreds of OpenStack support tickets averaging over 100 per month. During that time we closed 92 bugs whilst customers opened 99 new ones. These are bugs found by real customers running real clouds and we are pleased that they are brought to our attention, especially the hard ones as it helps makes OpenStack better for everyone.

The type of support tickets we see is interesting as core OpenStack itself only represents about 12% of the support traffic. The majority of problems arise between the interaction of OpenStack, the operating system and other infrastructure components – fibre channel drivers used by nova volume, or, QEMU/libvirt issues during upgrades for example. Fixing these problems requires deep expertise Ubuntu as well as OpenStack which is why customers choose Canonical to support them.

In my next post I’ll dig a little deeper into supporting OpenStack and how this contributes to the OpenStack ecosystem.

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Mark Baker

Two of the most frequently asked questions about Ubuntu and Canonical are:

* So, just how do you make money when Ubuntu is free?

and

* Ubuntu is great for developers, but is it really suitable for ‘enterprise use’?

We’re trying to do things differently, so we’re not surprised by these questions. What many people hear from other successful open source companies seems to narrow thinking about the value chain and open source economics.

So lets try and explain the answers to these questions, what we are doing and why Ubuntu has a model better suited for business in 2014 than that of legacy linux. Six years ago we made the decision to base our strategy for Ubuntu Server around cloud and scale out computing. We worked hard to make Ubuntu a great instance on Amazon EC2, which, at the time was just getting going. We created technologies such as Cloud-init to handle initialisations of a cloud image. We streamlined the base Ubuntu OS image to create a fast, lightweight base for users and developers to build upon. And very importantly, we doubled down on our model of releasing to a cadence (every six months) and giving developers access to the latest technologies quickly and easily.

The result? It worked. Ubiquity has spoken and Ubuntu is now the most popular operating system in cloud – it’s number one on AWS, the leading Linux on Azure, dominates DigitalOcean and is first choice on most other public clouds. Ubuntu is also w3tech’s web operating system of the year and the Linux platform showing the fastest growth for online infrastructure whilst most others are decline. In 2012 and 2013 we saw Ubuntu and Ubuntu OpenStack being chosen by large financial service organisations and global telcos for their infrastructure. Big name web scale innovators like Snapchat, Instagram, Uber, Quora, Hailo and Hipchat among others have all chosen Ubuntu as their standard infrastructure platform. We see Ubuntu leading the charge as the platform for software defined networking, scale out storage, platform as a service and OpenStack infrastructure. In fact, a recent OpenStack Foundation survey revealed that 55% respondents are running Ubuntu on OpenStack – over double that of its nearest competitor. If you measure success by adoption, then Ubuntu is certainly winning the market for next generation, scale out workloads.

However, many measure business success in monetary terms and as one industry pundit often reminds us, “a large percentage of a market that pays zero dollars is still zero dollars”. So, lets come back to the first question: How do you make money when your product is freely available? Ubiquity creates many opportunities for revenue. It can be from paid for, value added tools to help manage security and compliance for customers that care about those things. It can be from commercial agreements with cloud providers and it can be via the product being an optimised embedded component of a cloud solution being delivered by OEMs. Truth is, Canonical is pursuing all of the models above and we are doing well out of it.

As for Enterprise use, Enterprises are now really starting to understand that new, high tech companies are operating their IT infrastructure in radically different ways to them. Some high tech companies are able to scale to 1 Billion users 24x7x365 with less than 100 staff and frugal IT budgets and Enterprises crave some of that efficiency in their infrastructure. So whilst Ubuntu might not be suitable for use in an enterprise set on legacy Linux thinking, it is very much where forward thinking enterprises are headed to stay ahead of the game.

So, the basic values of of Ubuntu Server: freely available, provide developers access to the latest technology through a regular cadence of releases and optimise for cloud and scale out have been in place for years. Both adoption and revenue confirm it is the right strategy long term. Enterprises are evolving and starting to adopt Ubuntu and the model of restricting access to bits unless money is paid is now drawing to a close. Others are begrudgingly starting to accept this and trying to evolve their business models to compete with the momentum of Ubuntu.

We welcome it, after all, where is the fun in winning if you have no one to beat?

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Mark Baker

It is with great pride that we saw Ubuntu winning W3tech’s Operating System of the year award.

w3techs_Jan2014

For those of us that work on Ubuntu, increased adoption is one of the most satisfying results of our work and is the best measure of the if we are doing the right thing or not. What is most significant about this though, as is highlighted above, this is the third year running that Ubuntu has won the award. The reasoning is fairly simple: the growth of Ubuntu as a platform for online infrastructure has far outstripped that of other operating systems.

w3techs_last3_yrs

In fact, over the last three years only two Linux operating systems showed any growth at all – Debian and Ubuntu, although Gentoo had some traction in 2013.

Ubuntu overtaking CentOS was the most significant change in 2013 and our popularity continues to grow whilst many other decline. Many of the notable web properties of 2013 are confirmed Ubuntu users: Snapchat, Uber, Instagram, Buzzfeed, Hailo, Netflix etc…Developers at fast thinking, innovative companies love Ubuntu for its flexibility and the ability to get the latest frameworks up and running quickly and easily on cloud on or bare metal.

As observers of the industry will know, tech used in Silicon Valley startups quickly filters through to more traditional Enterprises. With the launch of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in April, Ubuntu is set for continued greatness this year as more and more businesses seek the agility and innovation shown by many of the hot tech properties. It will be fun trying to make it happen too.

Read about the w3tech awards at:

http://w3techs.com/blog/entry/web_technologies_of_the_year_2013

Images courtesy of w3techs.com

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Mark Baker

To paraphrase from Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote at the OpenStack Developer Summit last week in Hong Kong, building clouds is no longer exciting. It’s easy. That’s somewhat of an exaggeration, of course, as clouds are still a big choice for many enterprises, but there is still a lot of truth in Mark’s sentiment. The really interesting part about the cloud now is what you actually do with it, how you integrate it with existing systems, and how powerful it can be.

OpenStack has progressed tremendously in its first few years, and Ubuntu’s goal has been to show that it is just as stable, production-ready, easy-to-deploy and manage as any other cloud infrastructure. For our part, we feel we’ve done a good job, and the numbers certainly seem to support that. More than 3,000 people from 50 countries and 480 cities attended the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, a new record for the conference, and a recent IDG Connect survey found that 84 percent of enterprises plan to make OpenStack part of their future clouds.

Clearly OpenStack has proven itself. And, now, the OpenStack community’s aim is making it work even better with more technologies, more players and more platforms to do more complex things more easily. These themes were evident from a number of influential contributors at the event and require an increased focus amongst the OpenStack community:

Global Collaboration

OpenStack’s collaborative roots were exemplified early on with the opening address by Daniel Lai, Hong Kong’s CIO, who talked about how global the initially U.S.-founded project has become. There are now developers in more than 400 cities around the world with the highest concentration of developers located in Beijing.

Focus on the Core

One of the first to directly hit on the theme of needing more collaboration, though, was Mark Shuttleworth with a quote from Albert Einstein: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” OpenStack has grown fantastically, but we do, as a community, need to ensure we can support that growth rate. OpenStack should focus on the core services and beyond that, provide a mechanism to let many additional technologies plug in, or “let a thousand flowers bloom,” as Mark eloquently put it.

HP’s Monty Taylor also called for more collaboration between all of OpenStack’s players to really continue enhancing the core structure and principle of OpenStack. As he put it, “If your amazing plug-in works but the OpenStack core doesn’t, your plug-in is sitting on a pile of mud.” A bit blunt, but it gets to the point of needing to make sure that the core benefits of OpenStack – that an open and interoperable cloud is the only cloud for the future – are upheld.

Greasing the Wheels of Interoperability

And, that theme of interoperability was at the core of one of Ubuntu’s own announcements at the Hong Kong summit: the Ubuntu OpenStack Interoperability Lab, or Ubuntu OIL. Ubuntu has always been about giving companies choice, especially in the cloud. Our contributions to OpenStack so far have included new hypervisors, SDN stacks and the ability to run different workloads on multiple clouds.

We’ve also introduced Juju, which is one step up from a traditional configuration management tool and is able to distil functions into groups – we call them Charms – for rapid deployment of complex infrastructures and services.

Will all the new capabilities being added to OpenStack, Ubuntu OIL will test all of these options, and other non-OpenStack-centric technologies, to ensure Ubuntu OpenStack offers the broadest set of validated and supported technology options compatible with user deployments.

Collaboration and interoperability testing like this will help ensure OpenStack only becomes easier to use for enterprises, and, thus, more enticing to adopt.

For more information on Ubuntu OIL, or to suggest components for testing in the lab, email us at oil@ubuntu.com or visit http://www.ubuntu.com/cloud/ecosystem/ubuntu-oil

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Steve George

Recently some concerns were expressed by fixubuntu.com, a website focusing on Ubuntu privacy, about a routine trademark enforcement email that Canonical sent. We want to provide some context around this issue.

In Ubuntu we cherish an open and diverse discourse, and we welcome differing and challenging views and perspectives; it is the cornerstone of our community, as exemplified by our open Ubuntu Developer Summit, mailing lists, IRC channels and more. Our Code of Conduct and Trademark policy simply provide guardrails for those conversations to flourish.

Canonical owns the family of Ubuntu trademarks and we have a responsibility to protect those trademarks. In trademark law a mark owner is expected to protect the authenticity of a trademark otherwise they risk losing the mark.

Our trademark policy is unusually permissive. We have a global community of Ubuntu contributors, LoCo teams, translators, developers, advocates, and others who want to use these marks to within the spirit and governance of the project. Therefore, our policy has been crafted in such a way that we can protect the marks and what they stand for, but also ensure our community has the freedom to use them.

In the case of fixubuntu.com, we were concerned that the use of the trademark implied a connection with and endorsement from the Ubuntu project which didn’t exist. The site owner has already agreed to remove the Ubuntu logo and clarified that there is no connection; from our perspective the situation has been resolved, and we have no issue with the site or the criticism it includes.  In fact, far from an trying to silence critics, our trademark policy actually calls out parody and criticism and other uses as being allowed when the marks are used appropriately.  (Please make the parodies funny – we need a good laugh as much as anyone!)

We aim to communicate our policies and actions clearly and openly, and I welcome feedback on how to do that better.

UPDATE:  I should have mentioned that we do listen closely to constructive criticism and user’s requests about the Online Search function. And in response we already added a simple way for you to limit your search to local results only if you wish.  If you’re running the latest version of Ubuntu, check Settings -> Security & Privacy -> Search.

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admin

  • Ubuntu Server 13.10 is available from 17th October; first fully supported release of the new OpenStack Havana, with VMWare vSphere integration, faster node installation and a new version of Juju that supports ultra-dense containerised application deployment.

Canonical today announced that the next version of Ubuntu for server and cloud environments will be released on 17 October 2013.

“Ubuntu 13.10 delivers the latest and best version of OpenStack, and is the fastest, most flexible platform for scale-out computing,” says Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu and VP Products for Canonical. “Ubuntu is typically used in very large scale deployments. In this release we’ve tuned the cloud deployment experience for very small clusters as well, to support dev-and-test environments.” This 13.10 release makes it possible to deploy a full OpenStack cloud on only 5 servers and offers a sophisticated Landscape dashboard for the management of Ubuntu OpenStack clouds no matter their size.

Enterprise management of OpenStack clouds and the workloads deployed on them has been a focus for Canonical in the latest development cycle. “With Landscape, we simplify the lives of enterprise compliance and administration teams, with a full suite of compliance, performance monitoring and security update tools that work on all cloud and physical environments. Now we’ve added real-time dashboards for your OpenStack cloud, too” says Federico Lucifredi, who leads Ubuntu server product management.

While Ubuntu itself is an operating system, much of the recent work by Canonical and the Ubuntu community has been to deliver complete solutions and applications on top of it. The breakthrough Juju service orchestration tool from Canonical makes it easy to design, deploy, manage and scale workloads securely from a browser or the command line. In 13.10, Juju can instantly deploy an entire software environment or service as a “bundle” directly from the easy-to-use Juju GUI, improving on the previous deployment of individual components. This reduces complexity and enables administrators to share entire complex workloads consisting of many related parts.

Ubuntu leads the way with integration between OpenStack and VMware vSphere so ESXi users can interoperate with OpenStack. “The ability to deploy Ubuntu OpenStack alongside ESXi with orchestration that spans both properties is extremely valuable, bringing OpenStack right to the centre of common enterprise virtualization practice” said Mark Shuttleworth.

13.10 introduces Juju management of LXC containers, which allow multiple services to run on the same physical or virtual machine. This gives sysadmins the option of greater density, reducing the total number of machines required to run a service, and reducing cost.

A new installer enables very rapid provisioning of thousands of nodes, typically five times faster than the best traditional Linux installation process. Ubuntu is uniquely suited to rapid provisioning and re-provisioning in large-scale data centers. The Ubuntu LXC update in 13.10 provides blindingly fast (less than one second) and efficient cloning of containers for faster scaling of containerized services, unique to Ubuntu.

Ubuntu’s OpenStack distribution brings the famous “Ubuntu Just Works” usability to complex cloud deployment; clouds are simple to design, deploy and scale for private or public purposes. Ubuntu 13.10 includes Havana, the latest version of OpenStack, with new and updated tools such as Ceilometer for metering and monitoring, and Heat for auto-scaling.

Havana is also available to customers on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS thanks to the 12.04 Cloud Archive, from Canonical. This means that LTS users can get access to the latest Ubuntu OpenStack release, tools and features while continuing to enjoy the stability and maintenance commitment that backs our current LTS.

 

Availability
Ubuntu Server 13.10 will be available for download from the 17th October 2013 at: http://www.ubuntu.com/download.  OpenStack Havana release notes: https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/ReleaseNotes/Havana

 

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Maria Bonnefon

In the early days of Ubuntu, it was always a challenge to promote an OS that was so new and little known to the market; we were often asked ‘Ubun what…?”! Over the years, Canonical has grown rapidly, has innovated even faster and the community has spread the word all across the globe. Today, with over 25 million users, Ubuntu is now a safe and perfect choice for customer, offering a stylish and intuitive interface that is fast, secure.

The growth of Ubuntu has also been driven through our strong partnership with major  hardware OEM brands such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus and Acer. Not only is Ubuntu generally available pre-loaded from these leading OEMs, but in many regions we’ve entered into full retail partnership with dedicated stores.

Today, Dell and HP sell Ubuntu pre-installed at stores across India and China. Consumers can visit a designated store in major cities across these regions and find information, videos and experienced Ubuntu-savvy sales staff to thoughtfully guide customers through the buying experience. Dell offers computers for sale pre-loaded with Ubuntu in over a 1,000 stores across China, and HP is in the process of rapidly introducing 1,500 stores into the same region.

In Mexico, HP has been running in-store initiatives with Bodega Aurrera stores – a subsidiary of Wal Mart – where consumers could buy HP laptops with Ubuntu pre-loaded off the shelf. The computers are available in several hundred of the stores, and the initial units sold out at three times faster than anticipated. Proof that where Ubuntu device are available in stores, then customers will see  strong value and purchase.

Mexico Store

 

In USA-centric campaign with Asus, we ran a web-based sales campaign on Amazon.com. Asus netbooks pre-installed with Ubuntu were promoted on our website, guiding customers to the Amazon site. Asus PC’s pre-loaded pre-loaded with Ubuntu made it to Amazon.com’s top 100 sales for that  month.

Dell’s ‘Ubuntu Test Zones’ are now open in Ukrainian shopping malls giving consumers the chance to experience Ubuntu via a life-sized 3D hologram promoter. The hologram promoter addresses shoppers so they can learn more about Dell computers with Ubuntu. In the campaign’s first two weeks, Dell reached over 280,000 consumers in  the shopping malls.

virtual_promoter_pic

These are just some of examples of the sales and marketing initiatives that we’re working on with our partners today. These partnerships are continuing to grow both in terms of volumes and regionally because of increasing demand from consumers and businesses for a viable alternative.

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Mark Baker

The telco business has long prided itself on providing dependable services all day every day. Today, dial tones generally survive earthquakes, hurricanes, wars and power cuts and that is testimony to the service quality telcos provide. This high level of service quality runs through a telco’s DNA, which gives their applications the renowned ‘telco-grade’ high quality, highly scalable and constant availability. But creating such a culture comes at a cost.

 

The standards are a result of the tightly controlled software used by telcos which have been tested over many years. Strict processes are employed to minimise the chance of failure of any item in the service, and robust backup or failover services are provided in the advent of failure. While this is essential to deliver failsafe services, it also creates a restrictive environment in which launching new services based on new technologies is severely hampered.

 

As a result, new technology businesses are out-maneuvering telcos by being able to offer services based on the latest development frameworks. These are put together using agile processes and pushed into production by super smart DevOps who have planned application architectures assuming failures will happen. Whether it is Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS) platforms, a move towards IP based voice and data services, or mobile application delivery services that drive customer engagement and retention, startups and tech companies are all delivering strong solutions into the market and putting pressure on telcos to do the same.

The Telco Application Developer Summit in Bangkok, November 21st and 22nd, aims to try and accelerate the pace of new service delivery for telcos by enabling developers to discuss the benefits of DevOp and agile practises. With Ubuntu being at the centre of many of the recent innovations in the high tech space, be it OpenStack cloud, Platform As A Service (PAAS), Software Defined Networking (SDN) or public cloud computing, we are very excited to be a part of this conference. We will be in attendance and demonstrating technologies such as Juju, which enables services to be launched and scaled instantly. If you are involved in the delivery of application services for telcos you should check TADS out and maybe we will see you there.

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Mark Baker

Juju_gui

September 17th, 2013. Today, Canonical, in cooperation with Microsoft, is announcing that Juju fully supports deploying services on Ubuntu into Windows Azure. This means that from tomorrow, September 18th, Ubuntu users can use Juju with its intuitive GUI to design and deploy sophisticated application infrastructure instantly into Windows Azure.

Fresh Ubuntu Certified images for all supported Ubuntu releases are currently available on Windows Azure delivered with fast, highly available local archives to keep you up to date. With Juju support on Windows Azure you can now deploy over 100 services (Juju Charms) onto your Windows Azure Ubuntu instances. With service relations and scaling built into Juju, automating your cloud infrastructure has never been easier. To keep the user experience optimal Juju leverages Simple Stream cloud data to automatically know which Windows Azure cloud image is the freshest for a given release and region so you don’t have to worry about image IDs and keeping up with the latest published images.

Juju support for Windows Azure is a major milestone, as it underscores our commitment to delivering ease of use and portability of applications across the most popular cloud providers. Being able to design and deploy services using the same tool and process, irrespective of the deployment target, is invaluable. Being able to take a whole set of applications and reproduce the exact same setup on another cloud within minutes gives cloud users real choice

With $60k in prize money for the Charm Championship the timing has never been better to deploy your infrastructure with Juju. Deploy your infrastructure in Windows Azure, share your solution with Juju export and you could take home one of the prizes. More details are on the Charm Championship homepage.

Juju is an open source project. For more information on getting the Juju client set up on Ubuntu, or Windows to deploys workloads into Windows Azure head over to juju.ubuntu.com/install

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Mark Baker

When it comes to using Linux on an enterprise server, Ubuntu is generally seen as the new challenger in a market dominated by established vendors specifically targeting enterprises. However, we are seeing signs that this is changing. The W3Techs data showing Ubuntu’s continued growth as a platform for online scale-out infrastructure is becoming well known, but a more recent highlight is a review published by Network World of five commercial Linux-based servers (note registration required to read the whole article).

The title of the review “Ubuntu impresses in Linux enterprise test” is encouraging right from the start, but what may surprise some readers are the areas in which the reviewers rated Ubuntu highly:

 

1. Transparency (Free and commercially supported versions are the same.)

This has long been a key part of Ubuntu and we are pleased that its value is gaining broader recognition. From an end user perspective this model has many benefits, primarily the zero migration cost of moving between an unsupported environment (say, in development) and a supported one (in production). With many organisations moving towards models of continuous deployment this can be extremely valuable.

2. Management tools

The reviewers seemed particularly impressed with the management tools that come with Ubuntu, supported with Ubuntu Advantage: Metal as a Service (MAAS), for rapid bare metal provisioning; Juju for service deployment and orchestration; and Landscape for monitoring, security and maintenance management. At Canonical we have invested significantly in these tools over the last few years, so it is good to know that the results have been well received.

Landscape Cloud Support

Landscape Cloud Support

3. Cloud capability

The availability of cloud images that run on public clouds is called out as being valuable, as is the inclusion of OpenStack to be able to create an OpenStack Cloud. Cloud has been a key part of Ubuntu’s focus since 2008, when we started to create and publish images onto EC2. With the huge growth of Amazon and the more recent rapid adoption of OpenStack, having cloud support baked into Ubuntu and instantly available to end users is valuable.

4. Virtualisation support

It is sometimes thought that Ubuntu is not a great virtualisation platform, mainly because it is not really marketed as being one. The reality, as recognised by the Network World reviewers, is that Ubuntu has great hypervisor support. Like some other vendors we default to KVM for general server virtualisation, but when it comes to hypervisor support for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Ubuntu is far more hypervisor agnostic than many others, supporting not only KVM, but VMware ESXi, and Xen as well. Choice is a good thing.

Of course there are areas of Ubuntu that the reviewers believed to be weak – installation being the primary one. We’ll take this onboard and are confident that future releases will deliver an improved installation experience. There are areas that you could suggest are important to an enterprise that are not covered in the review – commercial application support being one – but the fact remains that viewed as a platform in its own right, with a vast array of open source applications available via Juju, Ubuntu seems to be on the right path. If it continues this way, soon it could well cease to be the challenger and become the leader.

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Maria Bonnefon

Over the next few weeks Chinese customers will be able to find more ways to purchase Dell computers pre-loaded with Ubuntu throughout even more cities!  With significant success to date, Dell China and Canonical will work closely together to significantly increase the the number of stores selling Ubuntu based PC’s in the Chinese retail market.

 

Dell and Canonical will jointly extend across Tier 1 thru’ Tier 6 Chinese cities with a range of hardware  pre-loaded with the Chinese language version of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.  The original stores have proven so successful that the companies have agreed to expand to beyond 1,000 outlets..

Incredibly exciting to see that Chinese consumers now have the opportunity to acquire a large range of Dell computers with Ubuntu!

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Mark Baker

On Monday August 26th, VMware announced the general availability of their vCloud Hybrid Service. This service, initially opened back in May to a restricted set of early adopters provides VMware customers with a means of being able to easily bring their workloads out of their own datacentres and into to the cloud.

For many customers this is exactly what they want – they may have been wanting to move some of their workloads off premise but found the prospect of switching to a full blown public cloud provider a scary prospect. vCHS offers them a great way to move workloads to the cloud without having to worry about migrating to new technologies, api compatibility or sourcing a new vendor. At Canonical we have a vision of complete workload portability across any public or private cloud. Sure, it is a requirement that the workloads run on Ubuntu but Ubuntu’s ubiquity in cloud is close to making this a reality and with our growth in usage for scale out workloads such as delivery of online infrastructure far outstripping that of other Linux platforms, it seems that end users don’t have a problem with it. It certainly seems that with our engagements around OpenStack, Nicira and vCHS, VMware believe in the ubiquity of Ubuntu in cloud. Combined with VMware’s ubiquity in the enterprise, between the 2 of us we are going to do some great things.

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anthony-c-beckley

We’re excited to announce that Canonical is sponsoring and exhibiting at the forthcoming Dell Solutions Summit, August 27-29th, 2013 in Beijing, China.

Danica Han, our Director of Cloud Alliances for APAC, will be speaking at the summit about Canonical’s commitment to the Chinese market, how we meet the specific needs of Chinese users and how those customers can gain competitive advantage with Ubuntu Cloud and Client deployments.

This session will take place on August 28th from 1:30pm – 2:30pm in room 311B.

On our show pods, our team in China will showcase our market beating Cloud management and deployment solutions; Landscape – enabling customers to manage thousands of Ubuntu machines as easily as one and Juju - our game-changing Cloud service orchestration tool.

Additionally, we will be demonstrating UbuntuKylin, on Dell desktops, developed specifically for China and the Chinese user with the members of the CCN Joint Lab. UbuntuKylin was awarded the Number 1 China Open Source Project for 2013 at the eighth Open Source China – Open Source World Summit in Beijing and is an exciting development, bringing a world leading, open source desktop operating system enhanced specifically for China.

Interested in attending? Register here

We look forward to seeing you at the show!

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Jon Melamut

On 28-29 June, the eighth Open Source China – Open Source World Summit, sponsored by China OSS Promotion Union (COPU), occurred in Beijing at Beihang University1.

UbuntuKylin was the talk of the conference. The UbuntuKylin project is a collaborative effort between CSIP,2 Canonical and NUDT.3 Initially released in April 2013, UbuntuKylin is an official Ubuntu flavour that will follow the Ubuntu six-monthly release cycle.

UbuntuKylin was awarded the Number 1 China Open Source Project for the year. Dr Qiu ShanQin, President of COPU, mentioned the establishment of the CCN as one of the most important achievements to Chinese Open Source Industry in 2013. Jack Yu of NUDT, Project Manager of UbuntuKylin project, was named in the 2013 Top 10 Open Source Outstanding People in China. Dr Wu QinBo, the Dean of NUDT Computer Research Lab, presented the UbuntuKylin project and its impact to Chinese Software industry to the audience.

Also at the event, Mark Shuttleworth delivered a keynote to introduce Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch to attendees.

Footnotes

1 www.copu.org.cn/en/node/955

2 China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Centre, a division of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

3 National University of Defense Technology

4 Media Report: special.csdn.net/ocow2013/index.html

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James Troup

As announced previously, there was a security breach on the Ubuntu Forums. The Ubuntu Forums are now back up and running. What follows is a detailed post mortem of the breach and corrective actions taken by the Canonical IS team. In summary, the root cause was a combination of a compromised individual account and the configuration settings in vBulletin, the Forums application software. There was no compromise of Ubuntu itself, or any other Canonical or Ubuntu services. We have repaired and hardened the Ubuntu Forums, and as the problematic settings are the default behaviour in vBulletin, we are working with vBulletin staff to change and/or better document these settings.

What happened

At 16:58 UTC on 14 July 2013, the attacker was able to log in to a moderator account owned by a member of the Ubuntu Community.

This moderator account had permissions to post announcements to the Forums. Announcements in vBulletin, the Forums software, may be allowed to contain unfiltered HTML and do so by default.

The attacker posted an announcement and then sent private messages to three Forum administrators (also members of the Ubuntu community) claiming that there was a server error on the announcement page and asking the Forum administrators to take a look.

One of the Forum administrators quickly looked at the announcement page, saw nothing wrong and replied to the private message from the attacker saying so. 31 seconds after the Forum administrator looked at the announcement page (and before the administrator even had time to reply to the private message), the attacker logged in as that Forum administrator.

Based on the above and conversations with the vBulletin support staff, we believe the attacker added an XSS attack in the announcement they posted which sent the cookies of any visitor to the page to the attacker.

Once the attacker gained administrator access in the Forums they were able to add a hook through the administrator control panel. Hooks in vBulletin are arbitrary PHP code which can be made to run on every page load. The attacker installed a hook allowing them to execute arbitrary PHP passed in a query string argument. They used this mechanism to explore the environment and also to upload and install two widely available PHP shell kits. The attacker used these shell kits to upload and run some custom PHP code to dump the ‘user’ table to a file on disk which they then downloaded.

The attacker returned on 20 July to upload the defacement page.

What the attacker could access

The attacker had full access to the vBulletin environment as an administrator and shell access as the ‘www-data’ user on the Forums app servers.

Having administrator access to the vBulletin environment means they were able to read and write to any table in the Forums database.

They used this access to download the ‘user’ table which contained usernames, email addresses and salted and hashed (using md5) passwords for 1.82 million users.

What the attacker could not access

We believe the attacker was NOT able to escalate past the ‘www-data’ user (i.e. gain root access) on the Forums app servers.

We believe the attacker was NOT able to escalate past remote SQL access to the Forums database on the Forums database servers.

We believe the attacker did NOT gain any access at all to the Forums front end servers.

We believe the attacker was NOT able to gain any access to any other Canonical or Ubuntu services.

We know the attacker was NOT able to gain access to any Ubuntu code repository or update mechanism.

What we don’t know

We don’t know how the attacker gained access to the moderator account used to start the attack.

The announcement the attacker posted was deleted by one of the Forum administrators so we don’t know exactly what XSS attack was used.

What we’ve done

Before bringing the Forums back online, we implemented a series of changes both designed to clean up after this attack and also to defend against and mitigate the fallout from possible attacks in the future.

Clean up

  • We sent individual mails to all Forums users informing them of the breach and that they should consider their Forum password compromised. We advised them to change this password on any other systems where they may have re-used it.
  • We backed up the servers running vBulletin, and then wiped them clean and rebuilt them from the ground up.
  • We randomised all user passwords in the Forums.
  • We reset all system and database passwords.
  • We manually imported data into a fresh database after sanity checking each table.

Hardening

  • We’ve removed the ability to modify or add new hooks except via root access to the database
  • We’ve disabled all potential HTML posting avenues in the Forums for everyone but administrators.
  • We’ve switched the Forums to use Ubuntu SSO for user authentication.
  • We’ve implemented automated expiry of inactive moderator and administrator accounts.
  • We’ve confined vBulletin with an AppArmor profile.
  • We’ve reviewed and further hardened the firewalling around the Forums servers.
  • We’ve reviewed and further hardened the PHP config on the server to close off some vectors used by the attacker.
  • We’ve switched to forcing HTTPS for the administrator and moderator control panels and made it optionally available everywhere else
  • We’ve improved escalation procedures for the Ubuntu Community members who graciously volunteer their time to administer and moderate the Forums.
  • We will continue to work with vBulletin staff to discuss changes to the default settings which could help others avoid similar scenarios as this. The vBulletin support staff have been helpful and cooperative throughout this incident.

Finally, we’d like once again to apologize for the security breach, the data leak and downtime.

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anthony-c-beckley

We are pleased to announce Canonical are participating in Inktank’s forthcoming Ceph Days, taking place on:

- 1st August – New York, NY

- 12th September – Santa Clara, CA

- 9th October – London, UK

Attendees will get hands on through a Ceph installation workshop, and talk with  experts in open source storage and cloud platforms. Canonical have several of our top consultants there giving talks and demonstrations of Juju, our powerful orchestration solution for cloud workloads as well as Landscape, our exclusive Ubuntu Systems Management tool.

During the day attendees will learn:

- The basics of Ceph

- Best practises for using Ceph

- How Ceph works with today’s cloud platforms

- How to get started using Ceph

After the workshop there will be plenty of time to network and chat with all the speakers and ask any remaining questions during a cocktail hour. Sign up today as space is limited and you will not want to miss this unique event!

To learn more and to sign up, visit http://www.inktank.com/cephdays/

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Mark Baker

Juju, the leading tool for continuous deployment, continuous integration (CI/CD), and cloud-neutral orchestration, now has a refreshed GUI with smoother workflows for integration professionals spinning up many services across clouds like Amazon EC2 and a range of public OpenStack providers. The new GUI speeds up service design – conceptual modelling of service relationships – as well as actual deployment, providing a visual map of the relationships between services.

“The GUI is now a first-class part of the Juju experience” said Gary Poster, whose team lead the work, “with an emphasis on rapid access to the collection of service charms and better visualisation of the deployment in question”. In this milestone the Juju GUI can act as a whiteboard, so a user can mock up the service orchestration they intend to create using the same Juju GUI that they will use to manage their real, live deployments. Users can experience the new interface for themselves at jujucharms.com with no need to setup software in advance.

Juju is used by organisations that are constantly deploying and redeploying collections of services. Companies focused on media, professional services, and systems integration are the heaviest users, who benefit from having repeatable best-practice deployments across a range of cloud environments.

Juju uniquely enables the reuse of shared components called ‘charms’ for common parts of a complex service. A large portfolio of existing open source components is available from a public Charm collection, and browsing that collection is built into the new GUI. Charms are easy to find and review in the GUI, with full documentation instantly accessible. Featured, recommended and popular charms are highlighted for easy discovery. Each Charm now has more detailed information including test results from all supported providers, download count, related Charms, and a Charm code quality rating. The Charm collection includes both certified, supported Charms, and a wider range of ad-hoc Charms that are published by a large community of contributors.

The simple browser-based interface makes it easy to find reusable open source charms that define popular services like Hadoop, Storm, Ceph, OpenStack, MySQL, RabbitMQ, MongoDB, Cassandra, Mediawiki and WordPress. Information about each service, such as configuration options, is immediately available, and the charms can then be dragged and dropped directly on a canvas where they can be connected to other services, deployed and scaled. It’s also possible to export these service topologies into a human-readable and -editable format that can be shared within a team or published as a reference architecture for that deployment.

Recent additions to the public Charm collection include OpenVPN AS, Liferay, Storm and Varnish. For developers the new GUI and Charm Browser mean that their Charms are now much more discoverable. For those taking part in the Charm Championship, it’s easier to upload their Charms and use the GUI to connect them into a full solution for entry into the competition. Submit your best Charmed solution for the possibility of winning $10,000.

The management interface for Charm authors has also been enhanced and is available at  http://manage.jujucharms.com/ immediately.

See how you can use Juju to deploy OpenStack:

The current version of Juju supports Amazon EC2, HP Cloud and many other OpenStack clouds, as well as in-memory deployment for test and dev scenarios. Juju is on track for a 1.12 release in time for Ubuntu 13.10 that will enhance scalability for very large deployments, and a 2.0 release in time for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

See it demoed: We’ll be showing off the new Juju GUI and charm browser at OSCON on Tuesday 23rd at 9:00AM in the Service Orchestration In the Cloud with Juju workshop.

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