Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'open source'

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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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

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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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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Mark Baker

“May you live in interesting times.” This Chinese proverb probably resonates well with teams running OpenStack in production over the last 18 months. But, at the OpenStack Summit in Portland, Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth demonstrated that life is going to get much less ‘interesting’ for people running OpenStack and that is a good thing.

OpenStack has come a long way in a short time. The OpenStack Summit event in April attracted 3000 attendees with pretty much every significant technology company represented.

Only 12 months ago, being able to install OpenStack in under a few hours was deemed to be an extraordinary feat. Since then deployment tools such as Juju have simplified the process and today very large companies such as AT&T, HP and Deutsche Telekom have been able to rapidly push OpenStack Clouds into production. This means the community has had to look into solving the next wave of problems – managing the cloud in production, upgrading OpenStack, upgrading the underlying infrastructure and applying security fixes – all without disrupting services running in the cloud.

With the majority of OpenStack clouds running on Ubuntu, Canonical has been uniquely positioned to work on this. We have spent 18 months building out Juju and Landscape, our service orchestration and systems management tools to solve these problems, and at the Summit, Mark Shuttleworth demonstrated just how far they have come. During a 30 min session, Mark performed kernel upgrades on a live running system without service interruption. He talked about the integrations and partnerships in place with VMWare, Microsoft and Inktank that mean these technologies can be incorporated into an OpenStack Cloud on Ubuntu with ease. This is is the kind of practicality that OpenStack users need and represents how OpenStack is growing up. It also makes OpenStack less “interesting” and far more adoptable by a typical user which is what OpenStack needs in order to continue its incredible growth. We at Canonical aim to be with it every step of the way.

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David Duffey

Today we announced a collaborative support and engineering agreement with Dell.  As part of this agreement Canonical will add Dell 11G & 12G PowerEdge models to the Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS Certification List and Dell will add Ubuntu Server to its Linux OS Support Matrix.

In May 2012, Dell launched the OpenStack Cloud Reference Architecture using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on select PowerEdge-C series servers. Today’s announcement expands upon that offering by combining the benefits of Ubuntu Server Certification, Ubuntu Advantage enterprise support, and Dell Hardware ProSupport across the PowerEdge line.

Dell customers can now deploy with confidence when purchasing Dell PowerEdge servers with Dell Hardware ProSupport and Ubuntu Advantage.  When these customers call into Dell, their service tag numbers will be entitled with ProSupport and Ubuntu Advantage, which will create a seamless support experience via the collaborative Dell and Canonical support and engineering relationship.

In preparation for this announcement, Canonical engineers worked with Dell to enable and validate Ubuntu Server running on Dell PowerEdge Servers.  This work resulted in improved Ubuntu Server on Dell PowerEdge support for PCIe SSD (solid state drives), 4K-block drives, EFI booting, Web Services Management, consistent network device naming, and PERC (PowerEdge RAID Controllers).

Dell hardware systems management can be done out-of-band via ipmi, iDRAC, and the Lifecycle Controller.  Dell OMSA Ubuntu packages are also available but it is recommended to use the supported out-of-band systems management tools.  Dell TechCenter is a good resource for additional technical information about running Ubuntu Server on Dell PowerEdge servers.

If you are interested in purchasing Ubuntu Advantage for your Dell PowerEdge servers, please contact the Dell Solutions team at Canonical.  If your business is already using or thinking about using a supported Ubuntu Server infrastructure in your data-center then be sure to fill out the annual Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey to provide additional feedback.

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Jane Silber

Today’s inauguration of Barack Obama to his second term provides a good opportunity to look back at last year’s campaign and appreciate it in a bit more detail. We’ll skip discussion of the adverts, polls, photo ops, sound bites, political theatre and even the much appreciated informed debate on the issues, and focus instead on the interesting stuff – the IT infrastructure that powers something as dynamic as a presidential campaign. You can imagine the demands placed on such an infrastructure – scalability, reliability, cost effectiveness, manageability, openness, cloud. Once you have those requirements in mind, the clear choice for meeting those demands is Ubuntu. And so it’s no surprise that the Obama campaign reached the same conclusion.  We recently spoke with Harper Reed, the CTO of the Obama campaign, about the challenges he faced and solutions he and his team put in place during the campaign. We’ve published that piece in honour of today’s inauguration; you can find it on our new Insights blog.

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Sonia Ouarti

You have critical decisions ahead as you take your first steps into cloud computing.

One of them will be whether to build a private cloud infrastructure in your own data centre, make use of one of the public cloud services offered by vendors like Amazon, Rackspace and HP, or combine the two in a ‘hybrid cloud’ approach.

You can get closer to the right decision by considering the right questions now:

  • Budget - How much do you have (or how much don’t you have) to support your cloud strategy?
  • Speed - When do you need this done? Tomorrow, next year, yesterday…
  • Demand - How many users will you need to support? And will they call come at once?
  • Resources - What kind of resources do you have in-house? And how many can you realistically get your hands on?
  • Privacy -How sensitive is your data? Where are you doing business?

This short, sharp checklist takes you through the process that points you in the right direction and ensures your investments pay off from the start. Download it today.

 

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Sonia Ouarti

OpenStack, your foundation for Cloud computing

14 November 2012 at 4pm GMT

 

The open cloud, based on OpenStack, is fast becoming one of the most popular cloud platforms. OpenStack delivers open standards, modularity and scalability, and avoids vendor lock-in.

Join this webinar to find out why OpenStack is surging ahead, learn about the OpenStack technical architecture and the new features of the recent Folsom release. Find out why, to date, all public cloud providers, such as DreamHost and HP, whom are using OpenStack, are deploying it on ubuntu.

You will also learn about investments that Canonical has made into OpenStack such a as our Continuous Integration efforts, the Ubuntu Cloud Archive and Ceilometer.

Register now

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Susan Wu

Open-source software is increasingly at the heart of the biggest changes happening in enterprise computing all over the world. For me, open cloud is a perfect way to illustrate the benefits open source is bringing businesses and this is the major theme being discussed by some of the biggest names in the industry at the 2012 OpenStack APAC Conference in Beijing right now.

The business case for switching to or adopting cloud computing – and in particular, the open cloud – has never been stronger. Enterprises are realising reduced costs and increased flexibility without the risk of vendor lock-in. Open clouds let organisations move critical workloads to the cloud with the confidence that they can move from one vendor to another or onto a private cloud as they demand. This is because open source technology complies with established open standards.

As well as these business benefits, software like Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is helping devops massively reduce the complexity of cloud projects with deployment and service orchestration tools like Juju and MAAS. These sorts of technologies are streamlining the deployment process, making it quicker and simpler than ever to get applications running in the cloud.

The combination of Ubuntu and OpenStack has rapidly become the platform of choice for businesses building private cloud infrastructure.

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Cezzaine Haigh

The cloud is disrupting the enterprise computing world, driven by the growth of open-source software. As a result, new opportunities are emerging; it’s time to exploit them. 

On the 30th October, Canonical will host an Ubuntu Enterprise Summit in Copenhagen. Industry analysts and enterprise users of Ubuntu and open source technologies, will join key figures from Canonical to discuss the opportunities these converging trends present.

The event is designed around three key topics

- How flexibility creates business value
- Choosing which bandwagon to board
- The way ahead, from client to cloud

With a keynotes from Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth and two streams of content – one aimed at business decision-makers and the other at enterprise technologists – it offers an essential briefing on delivering effective IT in a cloud-obsessed world.

Learn more and register your place.

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Steve George

These days, we spend more time online – working with docs, email, music and occasionally even accessing social media. But, our online and desktop experiences have been disjointed. We give applications the full run of our desktops, where they have their own icons and windows, but we trap the whole Internet inside one overworked application, the browser.

That’s why we’ve been working on a way to integrate the two worlds – something to make it just as easy to run a web application as a traditional app. And we’ve been working to give web applications access to the full range of desktop capabilities.

At OSCON today, Mark Shuttleworth revealed Ubuntu Web Apps, a new feature due to land in October’s Ubuntu 12.10 release. It will enable Ubuntu users to run online applications like Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, Ebay and GMail direct from the desktop. Making web applications behave like their desktop counterparts improves the user experience dramatically; it’s faster and it reduces the proliferation of browser tabs and windows that can quickly make a desktop unmanageable.

The apps can even take advantage of Ubuntu’s new HUD system, making it even easier to navigate. So Web properties leap to the forefront of modern UI design, making for amazingly productive, fast and fluid applications on the desktop.

That makes Ubuntu the best platform for the web – secure, fast and lightweight. This new feature is part of our drive to make the web a first class part of Ubuntu. We’ve already turned 40 popular web sites into Ubuntu Web Apps and there are plenty more on the way. It’s easy to integrate your favourite website or interface natively into the desktop, and share the result with all Ubuntu users. No other OS has come close to this level of integration between the web and desktop.

To see it in action check out this video:

 

 

Some examples of what users can do with Ubuntu WebApps:

  • Launch online music site Last.FM directly from the Dash and control the music from Ubuntu’s sound menu
  • Access and launch your social media accounts (Google+, Twitter, Facebook) from the Launcher, and get native desktop notifications
  • Quickly and seamlessly upload photos to Facebook from Shotwell
  • Pause and play the video you are watching on Youtube
  • See how many unread messages you have in your GMail account, in Ubuntu’s messaging indicator

Ubuntu Web Apps will be available as a preview for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS soon and will be available by default in Ubuntu 12.10. I think we’ve made something that’s about to radically change users’ expectations of the web!

 

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jon-melamut-canonical

In October 2011, Canonical discussed our activities and recommendations related to Secure Boot, including recommendations for OEMs. Since that time, we have continued to consult industry partners, the technical community and users on the topic. Today’s post provides an update on how Ubuntu will implement Secure Boot for 12.10.

The Secure Boot portion of the UEFI spec defines how computers boot. In a nutshell, Secure Boot requires a digital key to boot a computer in order to reduce the possibility of an attack in which malware tries to control the boot process of your computer. Secure Boot will be widespread on new computers bought in the coming year.

As a Contributor Member of the UEFI Forum, Canonical engaged early in the UEFI specification process and invested significantly in ensuring that Secure Boot preserves the ability for enterprise and consumer users to choose their operating system, particularly on machines that come with Windows pre-installed at the factory. We authored and engaged with others to co-publish a whitepaper entitled “Secure Boot impact on Linux”, attended plugfests to advocate for software choice, and worked to ensure that the specification retained sufficient options to preserve the rights of users.

That work continues and we’re committed to ensuring that Ubuntu will work smoothly with Secure Boot enabled hardware. In addition to investigating Microsoft’s recommendation to participate in its WinQual program, Canonical has generated an Ubuntu key, and we are in active discussions with partners to implement simple ways for enterprises and consumers to use this key. These conversations have not concluded, and as a result we cannot detail the plans of our OEM partners yet.

For users who download Ubuntu directly we are working on a revised bootloader for 12.10 to ensure that Ubuntu continues to provide the “it just works” experience that our users expect. If you’re interested in understanding the technical details or would like to contribute to this area then please join the conversation on the development mailing list.

We’re committed to ensuring that Ubuntu provides a secure, world class user experience on all machines.

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Cezzaine Haigh

The first Ubuntu Cloud Summit, hosted by Canonical and Redmonk, takes place in Oakland, California on May 8th and the speakers are now confirmed. It promises to be a riveting day for anyone interested in cloud strategy. If you haven’t secured your ticket yet, there’s still time – but hurry. They are disappearing fast.

Presenting on the day will be:

- Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu

- Kyle MacDonald, Director of Cloud, Canonical

- Stephen O’Grady, Principal Analyst & Co-founder, RedMonk

- John Purrier, Vice President of Cloud Infrastructure, HP

- Randy Bias, CTO, CloudScaling

- Patrick Chanezon, Senior Director of Developer Relations, VMware

- Robbie Williamson, Director of Ubuntu Server Engineering, Canonical

The day will cover the role of open-source software in cloud computing, some lessons from real world cloud deployments and an examination of how the cloud technologies in Ubuntu – including OpenStack, MAAS and Juju – come together to form an open cloud.

We’d love the chance to meet you there. To find out more and to book your place, go to  http://uds.ubuntu.com/cloud-summit/

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Jane Silber

If you’re a keen follower of all things open source, you might already know about the UK Government’s consultation on open software standards. In short, the Government wants to reduce its IT costs and improve interoperability across all its departments and agencies; sensible aims, indeed. It is therefore considering making the adoption of open standards mandatory.

 

This represents a tremendous opportunity for open-source suppliers and any software vendor who builds to open standards because, in effect, it enables competition on a level playing field with some of the industry’s biggest players. There are large corporations with plenty to lose, however. So it’s no surprise that some parties are already lobbying against the proposal.

 

As a company with a long commitment to open-source and open standards, Canonical is actively engaging in the debate. We are preparing a formal response to the consultation and we will be at the round table discussion in London on 27th April.

 
This consultation is a public process in which anyone can get involved. If you’re interested in its outcome, whether from a business or philosophical standpoint, I urge you to go to consultation.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/openstandards and make your case before the consultation closes, on 3rd May 2012. We certainly will.

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Gerry Carr

I wanted to know what the reasons were for people choosing Ubuntu. After all there are other better-known choices out there. For the respondents across all three surveys, open source stood out as the key attribute, true whatever the age of the respondents and whenever they adopted Ubuntu. Curiosity was almost equally as important, and clearly the more people we can make curious about our platform the better.

English Language Survey - reasons to choose

Spanish Survey - reasons to choose

 

Portuguese Survey - reasons to choose

 

For what to users use Ubuntu?

There has always been a strong presumption that Ubuntu or Linux in general would be used as a secondary PC, to perform a certain task and largely for less ‘important’ tasks such as web-browing or watching DVDs. So we were interested to find out the degree to which this is true. While there is some regional variation I will just include the English survey in this blog. We clearly see that Ubuntu is strongly figures as the main PC for users with plenty of usage in other categories (users were allowed tick more than one response in the recognition that they likely have more than one computer).

 

As to what it is used for, well as you might expect given the results above it is used for  a mixture of work and leisure. In other words, it is what I use it for what I use a PC for.

Finally, we wanted to check how Ubuntu was shared – whether it was the family PC, whether people used it on their own, or whether it was something they used at work, in the library, in the college lab. Primarily it is a person’s own PC. The exception is the 35-46 where it is likely to be the family PC and shared with the spouse and children.  Overwhelmingly though we are seeing those who choose Ubuntu  being committed to it as the central computing platform they use, something which should inspire and motivate the community and the broader ecosystem around it.

 

How do Ubuntu users like Ubuntu?

We gauged this in three ways. How satisfied they were now, how likely they would recommend Ubuntu and how likely they were to stick with the product. It was nice actually to be able to take a rational view on general satisfaction that seeks to reflect a broader experience beyond the current maelstrom around Unity. The results were strikingly positive in the English survey and stronger in the Spanish and Portuguese surveys. Good and Very Good in the English language survey was at 80% with less than 3% in true negative territory. By any industry measure this is a strong showing. In the other surveys the positives crept over 80% with stronger reports of very good.

As to recommendations, again there was a strongly positive result. Again over 80% either very likely or likely to recommend Ubuntu to others (84 % and 86 % in Portugal and Spain respectively). Wow!

 

And finally I wanted to ascertain ‘loyalty’ to Ubuntu or the likelihood of the user remaining with the product in the longer term. A very positive response to that question and again true in the other markets (83 and 85 %)

One of the really valuable things about doing surveys like this is the insight that it gives into the broader user market. I have already addressed that that we would struggle to get to users who are not self-identifying as Ubuntu users because of the methods we used to reach out. But even with that self-identifying group it is wonderful to hear reflected back that people enjoy the experience of the product, would recommend and are likely to stay with it. The shrillest and most persistent voices are not always the most reflective of the general. Not that this provides an option to rest on any laurels, but it does give some balance to the discussions about the current satisfaction levels in the Ubuntu user base and their likelihood to defect.

 

Conclusion and the links

So thanks again to all those that participated and to all those who have struggled through these blog posts. I hope you found it partially as useful as I have. As promised I am providing full access to the summary results. You can follow the links

English

http://tinyurl.com/c9nmseu

Portuguese

http://tinyurl.com/bnxcae4

Spanish

http://tinyurl.com/bw9xrtu

 

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Gerry Carr

So as promised let’s take a look a the next set of results from the Ubuntu Survey.  I am going to bundle together the broader world of Ubuntu looking at other OSes people use, Ubuntu One usage, whether people are interested in the new products announced and likelihood to purchase Ubuntu pre-installed. As usual where I see significant demographic or geographic differences I will highlight them. Where I don’t I will use the global survey as the data source.  Read the first blog post if you are not clear on what I mean.

Ubuntu One Usage

Simply I wanted to ask what percentage of people used Ubuntu One. The figures are completely consistent across the various regions as you can see in the table.

Ubuntu One? English Spanish Portuguese
Yes 42.3% 42.5% 40%
No 57.3% 57.5% 60%

 

Across ages* there is a skew towards younger people being more likely to use it but not a significant one. We see the same in other geos.

Ubuntu Users by age in the English Language Survey

 

So while Ubuntu One is a freemium service integrated into the product and provides a lot of services for free, I was still pretty impressed by the level of usage in the surveys given the number of perceived and actual competitor for a great many of Ubuntu One’s services.

Interest in Ubuntu’s announced new products

In the last few months Canonical has announced its intention to find partners to release a number of new form factors for Ubuntu with details released on two (Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android) and less detail on the the Ubuntu for tablets and for phones. None are in market so we are asking about intention here with the understanding that they have not yet seen a product on which to form a definitive judgement.

Ubuntu English language respondents intention to use new Ubuntu products

 

There is no significant variance in age or geo. We are seeing strong interest in products especially as these products will by and large need to be purchased – that is I need to buy a TV,  phone or tablet in order to experience Ubuntu on it. Again, we are polling intention and clearly a large amount of weight on the final decision to buy will depend on the quality and cost of the hardware, the software and the data. But let’s couple this with willingness to purchase Ubuntu on any device.

Willingness to purchase Ubuntu on a new device

 

Without specifying the device therefore including PCs, netbooks etc we see the willingness to buy, by region, by age in ascending willingness over the next 3 images

So for once we are seeing significant variance internationally. There is a much higher predisposition to purchase in the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking nations. It is hard to speculate as to the reason for this based on the data we have, but if we take it as a fact it gives even more often incentive to our partners looking to supply those regions. In fact there seems to very much be a global demand that is  currently unmet. Quality machines featuring Ubuntu appear to have a ready market.

A broad church – other technologies our users use.

Finally for this post – just to show we are not monotheistic in our technology but recognise other gods beyond Ubuntu, who thought it would be useful to get a picture of other operating systems that people use. Some OSes are specific to certain types of devices so we see a picture of Ubuntu users preferred mobile devices also.

 

Windows clearly is still in wide usage amongst our user base – whether at work, school or home would need further investigation. This might be somewhat surprising to those who think of Linux communities as ‘fringe’ or ‘zealots’. Clearly there is a lot of living in the real world and whether by choice or not there is a considerable use of other operating systems by the Ubuntu user base.

Android is racing into second place overall and a clear favourite for mobile devices amongst our users. Mac usage is strong but is one OS that drops significantly from English to Spanish to Portuguese users and is probably less prevalent overall than it is in the general population but it is hard to get reliable numbers on that to compare.

Stronger though is other Linux and other Ubuntu. Where Linux Mint is placed between those two categories is unclear – perhaps we will call it out specifically next time. Symbian/Nokia has a surprisingly low reported usage. Probably somewhat ahead of world trends. However it all reinforces the moves that Ubuntu has made through Ubuntu One, Ubuntu for Android, and other initiatives that to succeed in the broader marketplace, the more solutions that embrace other platforms and work well with them the better it serves the Ubuntu user base also.

Conclusion

So the survey is telling us  that there is a strong propensity in the user base to buy an Ubuntu machine and perhaps not a single machine but multiple devices featuring Ubuntu. This propensity only seems to get stronger in Latin America and Iberia. Given the heterogeneity of OS usage it is also important to make sure that we continue to develop a platform that plays nice with others which seems to be correctly prioritised on the product roadmaps.

I should say that it is taking me slight longer to extract these data sets and write the blog posts than I expect so we will have to push the remaining one until tomorrow. Thank you also for the comments so and I will continue to respond to them as I can. Final installment tomorrow

*you might note that the age data tables do not include the over 55′s. This is because a limitation of the Cross tab tool I user only allows me to select 5 categories to cross tab by. As 55 and over had the smallest response rate I decided to sacrifice it. Full results avaialble tomorrow.

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Gerry Carr

Yesterday we looked at the demographics of the respondents to the survey and some observations about the validity of the date. I recommend you read that post first. Today though we are going to dive a little more into how people first discovered Ubuntu and installed it.

How long have you used Ubuntu?
I wanted to establish if there were changing patterns depending on the length of time and/or the age of the respondent. That is, do relative newcomers to the platform or younger users use different tools to acquire the platform.

First of all the length of time that people have used the platform was remarkably consistent across the surveys. Given this level of consistency and for simplicity I will focus on the English language version.

 

Table: Length of time for which people have used Ubuntu

<2 year 2 to 5 years 5 years or more
English Survey 19.6% 42.7% 37.7%
Spanish 20% 43% 36.9%
Portuguese 21.1% 43.2% 35.6%

 

How did people first hear about Ubuntu?
So do people who have come to the platform more recently discover it in different ways to to the those who have been on the platform longer?  Well let’s see:

 

 

Table: How did new versus more more experienced Ubuntu users first hear of Ubuntu

< 2years 2-4 years 5 years or more
Magazines, etc 6.9% 7.9% 9.4%
Work 3.9% 4.8% 4.9%
Friends/Family 27.2% 25.2% 20.5%
School/College 11.7% 11.2% 8.9%
Forums, irc etc 46.2% 48.5% 54.8%
Social Media 4.2% 2.4% 1.5%

 

 

So the shifts are not seismic but we are looking at shifts information sources over a fairly short time period (approx 5-7 years) so I think we are justified in picking out patterns. The traditional tech forums of irc, chat rooms etc are becoming less influential as a first contact for Ubuntu. Social media as you might expect is increasing  as its reach becomes more pervasive. We might also conclude with qualifications, that this indicates a slight shift in the type of user coming in to  one that is less likely to hang out in a tech forum. But these shifts are slight and will be interesting to track over time. If we run it for age of user – do we discover anything there?

 

 

Table: How did different age groups first hear of Ubuntu?

<18 19-24 25-35 36-45 46-54 55+
Magazines etc 8.1% 6.0% 6.9% 10.2% 14.8% 18.7%
Work 0.8% 1.4% 5.5% 8.6% 9.1% 6.9%
Friends/Family 31.9% 28.1% 23.2% 18.1% 13.2% 18.6%
School College 7.2% 18.1% 11.4% 2.6% 1.8% 1.2%
Forums 47.6 44.2% 51% 57.7% 58.9% 53.2%
Social Media 4.4% 2.1% 2.0% 2.8% 2.2% 1.4%

 

 

We certainly see the trends repeated with regard to the remaining great importance of the tech forums but that the diminish at the younger and older end of the spectrum. Social media is still small but much more important for the under 18s – again in line with broader terms. The significant importance of school and college for 18-24 years olds versus the under 18s shows that Ubuntu has so far been more successful at permeating tertiary education than it has at high schools especially in developed markets. India for instance has 16% of under 18 respondents discovering Ubuntu at school showing its greater penetration in high schools there.

How did you acquire the version of Ubuntu that you have?

The result here is consistent across the survey and across age groups so there is no value in breaking this out. It does however put a number on a question that we have wondered for some time – how many users do a fresh install of Ubuntu versus upgrades in place. And now we know that is roughly 2:1 that do a fresh install. The low number of pre-loads is certainly a concern – reflecting the continuing lack of availability in the market. We also probably under-counted this as we asked about the version users are currently running versus how they originally acquired a version. Still the good news from the sales team in Canonical is that 2012 should see a turnaround in this availability issue at least in many markets so again, a figure that is worth tracking over time.

How easy/difficult was the installation process? 

Something our platform engineering team and the web team have always put considerable focus on is the ability to install Ubuntu easily. After all, the work in making a great product is wasted is people cannot install it. The good news is that the people have in general expressed a strong degree of satisfaction with the install process.Again there was no significant difference in either the Portuguese or Spanish response so for those languages at least there appears to be no  translation hurdle.

More to come

On Monday if I can get it all in one blog post I am going to look at the reasons for choosing Ubuntu and we will look at regional and age differences in response to that question. Also interesting in other and upcoming Ubuntu products such as Ubuntu One and the more recent announcements like Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android. And we will look at the all important satisfaction questions, just how happy are existing users with Ubuntu.

Gracias, obrigado and thanks for reading

Gerry

 

 

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