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Volume 5, Number 9 -- March 4, 2008

Canonical Sets Ubuntu 8.10, Taps KVM Virtualization

Published: March 4, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Commercial Debian Linux distributor Canonical has given its moniker to the next iteration of its Ubuntu Linux, code-named "Intrepid Ibex" in keeping with the silly names the Ubuntu project uses and probably coming to market as Ubuntu 8.10 in October. The company has also talked a bit more about the Ubuntu 8.10 feature set, its use of KVM virtualization, and a reseller deal it has with IBM to peddle the DB2 Express-C development database.

Canonical's chief executive officer and Ubuntu project founder, Mark Shuttleworth, made the Intrepid Ibex announcement to the Ubuntu development list. "During the 8.10 cycle we will be venturing into interesting new territory, and we'll need the rugged adventurousness of a mountain goat to navigate tricky terrain," Shuttleworth explained in his posting announcing the upcoming release. "Our desktop offering will once again be a focal point as we re-engineer the user interaction model so that Ubuntu works as well on a high-end workstation as it does on a feisty little subnotebook. We'll also be reaching new peaks of performance--aiming to make the mobile desktop as productive as possible."

Ubuntu 8.10's feature set will be set at the Ubuntu Developer Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, between May 19 and 23. Those members of the Ubuntu community who can't travel to Prague in May can pipe up with their ideas at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UDS-Intrepid. Wireless support, which has been weak for many Linux distributions, is a focal area for the Intrepid Ibex release. (Roam, if you want to. . . . )

Next month, Canonical plans to release Ubuntu 8.04, which is code-named "Hardy Heron" and which has been in development since last fall, when Ubuntu 7.10, the "Gusty Gibbon," came to market. (Development efforts actually predate the Ubuntu 7.10 launch by a month.) Ubuntu 7.10 had a 3D graphical user interface, support for the Windows NTFS file system, embedded AppArmor security, an improved Samba print and file server, and the integration of the so-called tickless Linux kernel, which allows Linux to run with less power. Ubuntu 8.04 will be Canonical's second Long Term Support, or LTS, release, which is important to commercial clients that don't want to be messing around with new Linuxes twice a year. The LTS releases are special variants of Ubuntu that are supported on desktops for three years and on servers for five years, and they include much deeper and broader application certification as well as longer support contracts.

One of the key new features in Ubuntu 8.04 is the integration of the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor, developed by a company called Qumranet and commercialized in virtual desktop environments as SolidICE. (See KVM Developer Launches as Qumranet with Desktop Virtualization for more on the commercial-grade KVM software.) Thus far, Qumranet has not developed a server variant of its KVM hypervisor, but it is obviously thrilled that other Linux distributors are looking at it. Canonical is probably the most committed to KVM for servers right now, and Red Hat and Novell are not far behind. KVM was added to the Linux 2.6.20 kernel, and ports are underway for Linux running on Power, Itanium, and mainframe processors; Red Hat's Fedora 7, Novell's openSUSE 10.3, and Canonical's Ubuntu 7.04 all incorporated early versions of KVM hypervisors. Red Hat and Novell have thus far emphasized VMware's ESX Server hypervisor as well as the embedded Xen hypervisor that is in their respective Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 versions. But according to a the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, the Ubuntu community is backing the KVM approach rather strongly for servers, which makes sense given that Ubuntu likes open source and the two other big Linuxes have backed Xen. "With the upcoming LTS release, KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), will be the virtualization tool of choice for the Server Team. KVM works on X86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V), using modified QEMU. Ubuntu 8.04 will also include tools to help manage the KVM." According to Soren Hansen, virtualization specialist for the Ubuntu Server Team, also writing in the newsletter, says that the project is working to make the libvirt virtualization management tools play better with KVM; this is also the tool used to manage Xen hypervisors.

In addition to making the announcement about the future Ubuntu distributions, Canonical also announced that it has added IBM's DB2 Express-C 9.5 development database to the Ubuntu Partner Repository, making it easier for Ubuntu users to deploy and use that database in their projects. Canonical has also inked a deal with IBM that allows it to sell support services for the database, which is a closed-source but freely distributed program. Support costs $3,750 per year.


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About the Author
Anne Stobaugh is an independent contractor working with Storix Software to educate Linux and AIX users on the advantages of file-based backup and recovery solutions.
www.storix.com
www.stobaughmarketing.com


Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Linux and Windows Server Sales Outpace the Market in Q4

Novell Swings to a Modest Profit in Fiscal Q1

MetaRAM Quadruples DDR2 Memory Capacity in Servers

As I See It: Change in Plan

Microsoft Promises To Be Less Secretive, More Open

But Wait, There's More:

Canonical Sets Ubuntu 8.10, Taps KVM Virtualization . . . Linux Vendors React to Microsoft's Openness Promises . . . Dell's 10 Percent Growth and Profit Drop Disappoints Wall Street . . . Sun Open Sources "Honeycomb" Disk Array Software . . . Imation Previews Super-Dense Adjacent Track Tape Tech . . .

The Linux Beacon

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