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Canonical and VMware team on mini-Ubuntu

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VMworld Canonical has busted out yet another version of Ubuntu – this time taking aim at the much hyped and loved virtualization market.

In the coming weeks, ISVs and OEMs will gain access to Ubuntu JeOS – pronounced Juice. The acronym stands for Just Enough Operating System, since the Ubuntu folks have ripped out a variety of general purpose software packages that don't really play into the virtualization game. As a result, you end up with a server OS that's 215MB in size – plus 65MB from VMware, as compared to a standard version of Ubuntu at 320 to 686ish MB in size, depending on what packages you select.

To get the lower size, Canonical pulled out things such as MySQL, Cups, postfix, slapd, evms and mutt.

Gerry Carr, marketing manager at Canonical, sees Ubuntu JeOS as an ideal guest OS option for ISVs. They can pair their software with the OS and end up with a fast running virtual appliance of sorts.

And, in addition to better software performance, customers should enjoy the ability to run more virtual servers per physical machine due to the lightweight Ubuntu JeOS.

"Ubuntu Server is the most downloaded software on the VMware Technology Network over the last 12 months," Carr said. "It is the OS people have been using to build virtual appliances.

"So, VMware didn't pick us as a partner here because we're nice guys."

Business Objects has apparently produced a virtual appliance for the new OS in conjunction with VMware and the Ubuntu folks.

Canonical is still in the midst of deciding whether not to make JeOS wildly available, since it's mostly meant as an ISV thang.

The company has worked hard to tweak its popular Linux operating system for virtualization. It, for example, has kernel level tweaks – paravirt-ops – that boost the performance virtualization software running in conjunction with Ubuntu.

Now, Canonical is also promoting its Full and Self-Service partner programs for Ubuntu Server and JeOS. In the Full Service plan, Canonical will package an ISV application with Ubuntu Server, help with testing and keep both the app and Ubuntu up-to-date as new releases come out. The Self-Service plan is very similar with Canonical providing compatibility test suites for ISV applications and helping fix any issues with the software to make sure it runs on Ubuntu.

Apparently these new Packaging Services for Ubuntu are readily available, although we can't seem to find word about them on the Canonical or Ubuntu websites. A phone call or email should, however, do the trick.

Ubuntu continues to steam along, gaining a very loyal and active customer base.

Your reporter has ordered a Dell laptop with Ubuntu to see what all the fuss is about. Sadly, the Direct Model is moving about as fast as Fat Albert after a feeding. I ordered the system almost three weeks ago, and it has yet to be built. Are Windows customers treated this way? ®

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