"Sit Ubu. Sit." I can't remember what show it was but it always ended with a picture of a dog and that line. That's what I thought Ubuntu was when I heard about it the first time. Only later through continued pestering did I realize it was Debian fork in the mid 2000's. I'm a bit of a Linux bigot who preferred the Slackware release in the Volkerding days and moved to RedHat in the late 1990's. When RedHat went commercial I felt lost for a bit but picked up Fedora. Hearing how great Ubuntu was from friends I recently decided to give it a try on a Windows Vista machine with chronic problems and I was impressed.
Oh, don't misunderstand me, I'm not impressed with Ubuntu. I simply haven't used it enough but so far it seems remarkably like, oh, Fedora.
I was impressed with the stance Ubuntu has taken on cloud computing. Ubuntu brags on their site about the inclusion of Eucalyptus (Elastic Utility Computing Architecture Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems). Eucalyptus is an Amazon EC2 clone that works with EC2, S3 and EBS. Ubuntu takes an open source package that is relatively unknown, includes it in their server distributions, and makes the argument you should use Ubuntu as the foundation for your private cloud BECAUSE it will make you compatible with Amazon EC2 when you want to cloudburst. Now that's smart! People forget that Amazon is largely based on open technologies with Linux virtual machines running Xen hypervisor.
It makes me wonder where the relationship between Microsoft and Amazon sits. Microsoft and Google are competitors. In the growing cloud space Amazon and Google are competitors. But with Azure Microsoft is also an Amazon competitor, kind of, right? No in the sense that they use different platforms (Windows vs. Linux), but yes in that they compete for business. But Microsoft is so big perhaps Amazon needs to adopt "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" mentality and get Microsoft to build in cloudbursting capability to Amazon EC2. It would mean more licenses of Microsoft server products and address those Microsoft customers who don't want Azure, just more processor time. What happens when the concept of the operating system falls apart, as large tech heavyweights such as EMC and Cisco are starting to argue. Does that push Microsoft out of the picture?
Regardless of all the above, and perhaps because of it, choosing Linux is easy. Which distribution to choose? Really any because Eucalyptus can work with any distro, but Ubuntu has clearly seized the initiative.
My prediction is we'll hear RedHat announce they are working with OpenNebula...