Ubuntu Developer Summit - EC2 Lucid

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For the last year I have been working with Canonical and the Ubuntu server team, helping to migrate over to a more official process what I’ve been doing for the community in supporting Ubuntu on EC2. The Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic EC2 images are a fantastic result of this team’s work: An Ubuntu image running on real Ubuntu kernels with official support available.

For the next two days (Nov 14-15) I will be participating in the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Dallas, Texas. Developers from around the world will be gathering this week to scope and define the next version of Ubuntu which will be released in April 2010.

As part of this, I think it would be helpful to gather input from the community. Please use the comment section of this article to share what you would like to see happen with the direction of Ubuntu on EC2 in the coming release(s).

Are there any features which you find missing? Functionality which would be helpful? Problems which keep getting in your way?

Feel free to brainstorm and toss out ideas big and small, even if they are not completely thought through or if they would also take help from Amazon to complete. It may already be too late to start off some of the proposals for the Lucid release cycle, but having ideas to think about for future releases never hurts.

8 Comments

It looks like Canonical only supports Server images on EC2. I found the Alestic desktop images quite useful to test new versions or to test installing something and fiddling around with configuration files before doing it on my local system. Knowing that you can throw away a desktop is quite handy.

Though not really suitable for using for work, I would appreciate if desktop images are continued.

I'm using a combination of jungle disk and s3cmd to do online backups of my s3 storage.

My wishlist would be a refined way to mount s3 buckets as volumes from ec2. s3fuse looks like it has potential . .

thilo: There is a blueprint proposal for Ubuntu desktop on EC2
https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/desktop-lucid-desktop-cloud
and I saw some mention of NX, but I don't see it up for discussion in the UDS schedule yet, so I'll bring it up.

You can also build your own Ubuntu desktop using the Karmic AMIs. I just posted an article describing how to do this:
http://alestic.com/2009/11/ec2-karmic-desktop

marstonstudio: It's not clear to me exactly what you're looking for, but I use Randy Rizun's s3fs for mounting S3 buckets as file systems on EC2 instances, and even on my laptop. It would be nice if this were available as an Ubuntu package, though I've never had trouble building the source directly from Randy's subversion repository.

It would be nice to have encryption of home directories using eCryptFS, or root partition with dm-crypt luks, as options.

thilo: There was a UDS session today on Ubuntu desktop in the cloud. Based on the discussion there will be investigation into open source alternatives for the NX server, particularly Google's Neatx. If it looks good, a test desktop image may be added to the UEC/EC2 daily builds. If things really work out well, it sounds like there is a small chance that an official desktop AMI might be released with Lucid in April, but there is valid concern about supporting this for 3 years with uncertain upstream NX support.

No matter how this turns out, you should still be able to build your own Ubuntu desktop AMIs starting with the official server AMIs.

Isn't the FreeNX server open source under GPL? http://freenx.berlios.de/

michael: Yes, both FreeNX and Neatx are open source. The Ubuntu team is looking at which server has the best functionality and long term viability for possible inclusion in Lucid. Since Lucid is an LTS, it has to be supported for 3 years on the desktop.

In my desktop images and in the tutorial linked above I didn't have quite the same restrictions, so I just tossed in the free (no cost) but closed source and slightly crippled (only 2 clients at a time) version of the NX server from NoMachine.

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