Growing Ubuntu's cloud community

Adam Sommer asommer at
Thu Sep 9 12:49:12 BST 2010

On Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 1:07 AM, Clint Byrum <clint at> wrote:

> On Sep 8, 2010, at 12:27 PM, Adam Sommer wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > On Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 3:01 PM, Scott Kitterman <ubuntu at>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> Personally I've found all this emphasis on cloud instead of traditional
> server
> >> applications (many of which are used in the cloud) to be quite
> demotivating.
> >> I spend considerably less time on server related development than I used
> to.
> >>
> >> Scott K
> >
> >
> >
> > I just wanted to agree, to some extent anyway, with what Scott is saying
> about the cloud focus.  Traditionally it has been very hard to grow the
> Ubuntu Server community, and for me personally over the last couple of
> release cycles it has been more of a struggle to find motivation to
> contribute.  The same motivations are still there that have been there in
> the past... just seems like there's a fog over them or something :-).
> >
> > Anyway, maybe the way to grow the cloud/server community is to focus on
> developing applications using Ubuntu Server and Cloud images?  There has
> been some focus on cloud applications, but maybe I just haven't been paying
> close enough attention.  Might be nice to develop something in say Quickly,
> have it packaged, then deploy the package to an image in the cloud... using
> only two or three commands.
> >
> > I guess as an admin of small organizations paying to play in the cloud
> doesn't make much sense with, but old still viable hardware available.
>  Buying the hardware to really have a rocking private cloud isn't feasible
> for me either.  I totally dig virtual machines however, and for me
> virt-manager, virsh, virt-install/clone/etc have been great tools.
> >
> Hi Scott, Hi Adam,
> As a newcomer to Canonical and the Ubuntu Server Team, I'm a little
> surprised that your impression is that the cloud emphasis is somehow taking
> away from server applications.
> Including myself, joining as of UDS-M in May, in the past 4+ months the
> Canonical server team has added a few people. I can say with confidence that
> at least 2 of us newbies are entirely focused on server applications. My
> emphasis is on improving Ubuntu Server for web ops (LAMP, NoSQL, HA, etc),
> which will improve the cloud as much as it does traditional server
> environments. We also just added a java expert (I'll let him stand up and
> speak for himself if he so chooses) to help us wrap our arms around all the
> awesome java server applications that we're not properly supporting yet.
> So if nothing else, we can probably expect more support for traditional
> server applications from Canonical.
> The reason you hear more about the cloud, is that it is new. It being
> foreign to most of us, it seems like "that silly thing people who can't
> afford servers are doing" or maybe "only for scale out apps". I know thats
> how I felt when I first heard about EC2 and GoGrid... I turned my nose up at
> the cloud. I turned my nose up at it, and looked on at my 100+ server farm
> with pride. However, should I let that pride hinder progress?
> I think 99% of the time, people are running the same stuff in the cloud as
> they are in racks. Sure there's a little more virtualization, distributed
> database and cluster filesystem work going on. IMO, thats just the trickle
> down effect as those technologies become simpler.
> Its the natural progression that infrastructure becomes cheaper as
> technology improves efficiency. What was running in lots of racks in super
> computing centers and large colo cages can now be done in EC2 without any
> long term commitment. Before that, what was running on big iron, on
> commercial unix, in giant racks in bank datacenters could suddenly be done
> by any startup with a little cash to lease servers and pay somebody to setup
> Linux boxes in a colocation facility.
> Cloud doesn't mean traditional servers won't be emphasized. Far from it..
> we need to be there when startups outgrow the cloud.. and when they need to
> setup internal wikis, secure environments, private betas, testing clusters,
> etc.
> Cloud means a new market, with new community members that should be
> embraced with open arms. More eyeballs looking at bugs, more people testing
> betas. To me, those sound like pretty good things for Ubuntu Server users
> and developers!

I have no doubt that the Cloud is a good thing, and will help grow Ubuntu
Server eventually.  So back to the original question of how to grow a
community around the cloud and Ubuntu Server?

One thought that came to mind, since you mention that people are running the
same things they used to run on local servers in the cloud, is to give
examples/howtos/whitepapers on running services in the cloud.  I know there
are some of these materials out there, so it's probably just me being dense.

I think a big win would be some type of tool to migrate the services from a
local server to a cloud image... but that's probably a major undertaking,
and probably stems from my recent work with Puppet :-).

Thanks for your reply Clint.

Party On,
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