What does a cloud computing user want?

Several weeks ago I gave a talk called “Regarding Clouds, Mainframes, and Desktops… and Linux” at LinuxCon in Portland (video, slides). Since then I’ve reprised parts of the talk several times, including a couple of times for IBM-only audiences. I’m going to put up a few blog entries that expand on some of the slides.

What does a cloud computing user want?

Cloud-friendly applications

I’m somewhat embarrassed because when I first made up this list, this item wasn’t present. It should be here and it should be first. People will use the cloud if they have a good reason to do so and can afford it. At a low level, the “application” could just be “load and run this software on that operating system in a machine with this much memory and that much disk.”

Higher up, though, people will want a reason to use that storage or take advantage of the programming platform, and that will be specific applications. We’re all familiar with the notions of email and calendars in the cloud, but other applications might be analytics or data mining, for example.

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WhiteHouse.gov switches to open source Drupal content management system

Both the Associated Press and Dries Buytaert are reporting that WhiteHouse.gov has now switched to the open source Drupal content management system. Dries, the founder of Drupal is rather excited, as you can imagine, and says, in part:

Being one of the world’s largest consumers of computer software, the U.S. government is not new to Drupal. Several agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, and the General Service Administration have been using Drupal, for example. Drupal adoption is growing rapidly within the U.S. government. However, Whitehouse.gov switching to Drupal goes above and beyond any other Drupal installation within the U.S. government, and is a fantastic testament for Drupal and Open Source. It will raise awareness about Drupal across the U.S. government, and across all governments world-wide.

My site uses Drupal for the non-blog portions, and WordPress is used for the blog.

Effective January 1, 2010, this site does not use Drupal and instead uses only WordPress.

Also See: Tim O’Reilly’s comments in his blog “Thoughts on the Whitehouse.gov switch to Drupal”

Upcoming OpenOffice.org 2009 Conference in Orvieto, Italy

The next incarnation of the OpenOffice.org 2009 Conference will be held in a couple of weeks in Orvieto, Italy. The exact dates are November 3, 2009 – November 6, 2009. In addition to OpenOffice.org specifically, the conference will include discussions of the Open Document Format (ODF) and other software that supports it.

Here’s a description from the website:

The OpenOffice.org Annual International Conference (OOoCon) is the premier event for anyone interested in or working with OpenOffice.org. OOoCon is where representatives of all the community projects meet to celebrate and learn from the achievements of the past twelve months, and discuss how to meet the challenges of the next twelve.

Among others, IBM is a sponsor.

Also see: IBM Lotus Symphony

Who is the user for cloud computing?

Several weeks ago I gave a talk called “Regarding Clouds, Mainframes, and Desktops… and Linux” at LinuxCon in Portland (video, slides). Since then I’ve reprised parts of the talk several times, including a couple of times for IBM-only audiences. I’m going to put up a few blog entries that expand on some of the slides.

Who is the user for cloud computing?

I think many of the discussions of cloud computing focus too much on the implementation side and not enough on who the potential users are and what will be their needs. Many users don’t have or need a very precise definition of “cloud computing.” Indeed, I think that for many people it simply matters whether their applications and data live on their machines or devices, or if they are run through a browser or reside somewhere out on the network, respectively.

Here are some possible users for cloud computing. Feel free to suggest more in the comments.

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I’m waiting

Every once in a while I realize that I’m waiting for something. Here are some of those things.

I’m waiting for …

  • The next release candidate of Ubuntu Linux 9.10.
  • Fedora Linux 12.
  • Winter. I know it’s coming, and I’m tired of being teased.
  • The World Series, but only if the Yankees are in it. I hope it’s Yankees-Dodgers.
  • Nice Autumn weather when I’m home to enjoy it.
  • The package from Amazon to be delivered via UPS that is now five days late.
  • The guy to rake my leaves.
  • A single blogging/CMS platform where I can keep all my content.
  • An open source symbolic math system to rival Maple and Mathematica. I’ve seen Sage. I’m still waiting.
  • A decision on my part on whether I will write another book and what it will be.
  • A visit to see my daughter at college and her first visit home this school year.

What are you waiting for?

2009 Red Hat Virtual Experience

Red Hat logo

Just got a notice about the 2009 Red Hat Virtual Experience to be held on December 9. From the webpage:

Join us December 9, 2009 for the Red Hat Virtual Experience, an event focused on Red Hat Enterprise Linux solutions, including virtualization and cloud computing. Attend in-depth sessions from your desk. Your couch. Your coffee shop. Anywhere you are. You can also participate in chats with business leaders, executives, key developers, customers, and strategic partners. Learn how you can scale to new demands, drive innovation, and build mission-critical applications, all without sacrificing performance, security, or functionality.

8th Annual Southern California Linux Expo

conference logo

I just saw notice of the 8th Annual Southern California Linux Expo now scheduled for February 19-21, 2010 at the Westin Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport. While I’ve never attended this conference in person (why be in LA in February when you can be in snowy upstate NY?), I’ve always heard great things about it.

According to the website:

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Core Operating System Issues (Developer Track)

  • Kernel Internals and Enhancements
  • Unix variants: Tools and Appliances
  • Operating Systems for Embedded Platforms
  • Virtualization
  • System Administration: Low-level Detail
  • In-depth Programming/Scripting with Open Source Languages (Examples include Perl, Ruby, PHP, Python, etc.)

Open Source for Beginners (Beginner’s Track)

  • Desktop Operating Systems
  • Security and Trouble Shooting
  • Linux/Unix/Windows Inter-operability
  • Linux Shells
  • Open Source Deployments and Experiences
  • Samba/Windows sharing
  • Open Source Productivity Applications
  • Transitioning from Windows
  • Basic scripting/automation User system administration issues

Miscellaneous Open Source Topics

  • Tools for Multimedia and Gaming
  • Tools for Profiling and Performance Tuning
  • Open Source solutions for cloud computing and web services
  • Open Source Animation Tools
  • Open Source Database Platforms
  • Open Source Licensing
  • Government Policies with Open Source
  • Open Source Promotion and Adoption: Current State
  • Open Source Success Stories
  • Open Source Audio/Video Manipulation tools
  • Open Source Innovations

No-cost office suites for the Mac

This article and something I saw earlier on the web today reminded me that not everyone is aware of office productivity suites for the Mac that are available for no cost.

Microsoft grants Mac Office 11th-hour reprieve
ComputerWorld / Gregg Keizer

Just a day before Microsoft was to have retired Office 2004 for Mac by ending updates and fixes, including security patches, the company said it would instead extend the five-year-old suite’s support until Jan. 10, 2012.

The list of no-cost suites include:

Symphony word processing logo

The first two are available on several Linux desktop distributions as well as Microsoft Windows. They each include at least a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software.

Scifi reading list update – Back to the Foundation

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’ve been working my way through the books that have won the Best Novel awards for science fiction and fantasy, namely the Hugo and Nebula awards. Elsewhere on this site is the list of these books as well as some housekeeping data such as which books I own and which books I have read.

Here’s my latest status:

book cover

I’m taking a detour from the primary list to go back and read Asimov’s Foundation novels, plus the various prequels, sequels, and estate-authorized books. Like many science fictions books I own, I read them when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, so they are worth a revisit. These are the Asimov books, though books 3 – 5 were the original trilogy:

  1. Prelude to Foundation
  2. Forward the Foundation
  3. Foundation
  4. Foundation and Empire
  5. Second Foundation
  6. Foundation’s Edge
  7. Foundation and Earth

book cover

The authorized second trilogy is:

  1. Foundation’s Fear by Gregory Benford
  2. Foundation and Chaos: The Second Foundation Trilogy by Greg Bear
  3. Foundation’s Triumph by David Brin

The pepper harvest

The nights are starting to get quite cold here in northwest New York State and it’s likely we’ll have a frost soon. After work this evening I went out to the garden to pick the remaining peppers before they got zapped by a freeze. Here’s what I got, plus a few other vegetables thrown in for good measure.

The pepper harvest

In the next few weeks I’ll publish a summary of how the garden went this year, with a discussion of what worked and what didn’t. The peppers were a real highlight. At the other extreme, we got no corn at all despite planting about 35 feet of it: the raccoons ate it all.

Site statistics through September 30, 2009

Here are the rolling three month sutor.com site stats from Google Analytics, plus 12 month previous stats. Percentages are calculated with respect to total numbers of hits. Statistics are computed from the first to the last days of the months listed. The up and down arrows compare the latest month listed with the percentages 12 months earlier, not the previous month.

Browser September, 2008 July, 2009 August, 2009 September, 2009
Firefox 49.83% 54.20% 51.80% ↑ 54.53%
Internet Explorer 36.79% 28.58% 28.16% ↓ 24.57%
Safari 5.79% 6.75% 8.33% ↑ 7.40%
Chrome 2.27% 3.87% 4.21% ↑ 5.23%
Mozilla 1.23% 3.37% 3.35% ↑ 3.67%
Opera 2.41% 1.95% 2.33% ↑ 3.51%
Operating System September, 2008 July, 2009 August, 2009 September, 2009
Windows 74.11% 66.37% 63.94% ↓ 64.17%
Linux 13.75% 21.01% 20.57% ↑ 18.40%
Macintosh 11.51% 11.81% 14.45% ↑ 16.68%
iPhone 0.15% 0.29% 0.47% ↑ 0.44%
Browser / Operating System September, 2008 July, 2009 August, 2009 September, 2009
Firefox / Windows 31.87% 31.94% 29.27% ↓ 30.95%
Internet Explorer / Windows 36.79% 28.58% 28.16% ↓ 24.57%
Firefox / Linux 11.67% 16.54% 15.55% ↑ 13.45%
Firefox / Macintosh 6.12% 5.62% 6.86% ↑ 10.10%
Safari / Macintosh 5.25% 5.90% 7.16% ↑ 6.32%
Chrome / Windows 2.27% 3.65% 3.87% ↑ 4.84%
Mozilla / Linux 0.91% 3.15% 3.16% ↑ 3.54%
Opera / Windows 1.64% 1.35% 0.47% ↑ 2.78%
Opera / Linux 0.63% 0.50% 1.55% ↑ 0.67%
Safari / Windows 0.37% 0.38% 0.35% ↑ 0.53%

IBM Teleconference: “System z and Linux: The winning combination”

Please excuse this marketing interruption, but in case you are interested:

System z and Linux: The winning combination

Broadcast Date: October 8, 2009, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 4:00 p.m. UTC

Developed for: IT strategists, solution analysts and managers, enterprise architects, systems analysts, systems programmers, application developers, IT operations managers, systems administrators, and IT procurement and controls

In today’s heterogeneous IT environments, more and more companies are turning to Linux® to help reduce costs and simplify systems management for better results. And when Linux workloads are consolidated on the mainframe, not only do you improve opportunities for enterprise-wide optimization, you can leverage the best of both Linux and the mainframe to maintain a secure and flexible business. Join us for this one-hour complimentary teleconference, and learn about the advantages of Linux applications integrated with System z®. You’ll come away with a good understanding of the capabilities that make Linux on System z the winning combination for deployment of business-critical workloads.

  • Consolidate WebSphere® and Java™ applications on System z to achieve higher system utilization
  • Leverage distributed applications such as Cognos® 8 Business Intelligence on System z to improve decision-making
  • Improve server management with Tivoli® monitoring and automated provisioning on System z to reduce operating costs
  • Combine workloads from heterogenous low-to-mid range servers into a single System z platform using virtualization
  • Enable capacity-on-demand that moves applications to market faster.

Speakers: Dr. Robert Sutor, Vice President, Linux and Open Source, IBM Software Group and Michael Applebaum, Senior Solution Marketing Manager, Novell

Register Now

Two new books for today

Here are a couple of books that have been released recently that you might want to look at.

book cover

Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance (Information Revolution and Global Politics)
Laura DeNardis

Protocol Politics examines what’s at stake politically, economically, and technically in the selection and adoption of a new Internet protocol. Laura DeNardis’s key insight is that protocols are political. IPv6 serves as a case study for how protocols more generally are intertwined with socioeconomic and political order. IPv6 intersects with provocative topics including Internet civil liberties, U.S. military objectives, globalization, institutional power struggles, and the promise of global democratic freedoms. DeNardis offers recommendations for Internet standards governance, based not only on technical concerns but on principles of openness and transparency, and examines the global implications of looming Internet address scarcity versus the slow deployment of the new protocol designed to solve this problem.

book cover

The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice)
Jono Bacon

Online communities offer a wide range of opportunities today, whether you’re supporting a cause, marketing a product or service, or developing open source software. The Art of Community will help you develop the broad range of talents you need to recruit members to your community, motivate and manage them, and help them become active participants.

Author Jono Bacon offers a collection of experiences and observations from his decade-long involvement in building and managing communities, including his current position as manager for Ubuntu, arguably the largest community in open source software. You’ll discover how a vibrant community can provide you with a reliable support network, a valuable source of new ideas, and a powerful marketing force.

Trying out Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala beta: dual boot Thinkpad T400

In my post of yesterday, I tried installing the latest Ubuntu 9.10 beta on a netbook and under VMWare Fusion on an Apple MacBook Pro. The first pretty much worked, while the second did not. Yesterday evening (what do you do on Saturday nights?) I attempted to install the beta in dual boot mode on a Thinkpad T400 laptop that already had a working copy of Ubuntu 9.04. Here are some comments from that experiment:

  • It worked extremely well. I now have a machine with Ubuntus 9.04 and 9.10 beta running side by side.
  • I booted the machine from the USB key on which I had put Ubuntu for my previous installations. I needed to press F12 as the Thinkpad was booting to tell it to start up from the USB key.
  • It asked the usual questions about language and the really first interesting choice came up when I needed to partition the disk. The T400 has a 140Gb hard disk and I was using all of it for Ubuntu 9.04. Well, that’s not quite accurate: while 9.04 had access to the entire disk, only 13.2Gb was used for files. This was for a fully operational configuration with all my work files and a lot of applications installed.
  • I wanted to give each operating system half the disk, so I chose to do the side-by-side installation (dual boot) and moved the slider on the bottom partition widget to be right in the middle.
  • I answered a few more questions, and away it went.
  • When it rebooted, the GRUB 2.0 boot menu was there with the new Ubuntu as the default choice. The various flavors of the previously installed 9.04 were lower in the list. You can change the default boot image, and there are several guides on the webb about how to do this.
  • Once it started, everything looked fine and the new design was very attractive. That said, I changed it to something else because I wanted to get something closer to my comfortable working environment.
  • One thing I did here that I did not do in the previous installations was to check for and install updates. Do this via System > Administration > Update Manager. There were a lot of changed things to be installed, but I expected this with a beta. As it gets closer and closer to release, items that are fixed or added witll show up as updates.
  • I had no problems with Firefox not restarting properly as I did with the netbook.

As I looked at the newly installed Ubuntu I couldn’t help but think that even a couple of years ago, Linux desktops were functional but were somewhat unattractive. Kind of like a coarse and fuzzy Windows XP installation. Now they are sharp looking and show the benefit of years of polish and community input.

I am absolutely comfortable in working in a modern Linux desktop all day long. I know many of you have done this for years, but for those of you who have not, give one of the new Linux desktops a try.

There are many of them listed on DistroWatch, but if you jump over there and scroll down, the most popular ones are toward the top of the page hit rankings. For your convenience, here are the top five listed there:

Also see:

Trying out Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala beta: netbook and VMWare Fusion/Mac

Ubuntu logo

Yesterday I tried out the new beta of the forthcoming Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” desktop release. This is a beta, so of course there are some nits. I installed it for two configurations: a 2008 Asus eee 4G Surf with an additional 8Gb card disk, and under the latest VMWare Fusion on a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. In both cases I was working with the full desktop edition and not Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I’ll play with that next.

After installing the beta, be sure to check for and install any updates.

Asus eee 4G Surf netbook

My plan with this was to install it via a bootable USB key and though I tried it with three different keys, it never worked. Even though I modified the BIOS to boot from the USB key, it would look at it and then go right to hard drive and boot Ubuntu 9.04. Though I had put 9.04 on the machine last Spring, I never much used it because wifi did not work. I’ve had this problem with other machines with the Atheros wifi chipset and one of my hopes was that the new Ubuntu would have wireless networking.

After doing some research around the web, I realized that the problem was user error. That is, I was being stupid.

I should have been using the instructions for building a bootable USB from an ISO file, but instead I was following the steps for an IMG file. Once I used the correct instructions on my downloaded ISO file, the USB memory key booted just fine. Duh.

I went through the usual steps for installing Ubuntu though sometimes the the buttons on the bottom of the dialog boxes were off the netbook’s small screen. Since I was typically just using the defaults, pressing the Enter/Return key usually worked. One tip for working with Ubuntu windows here is to hold down the Alt/Opt key and then drag the window so you can see more.

The installation proceeded normally and the machine rebooted. On this first reboot, extra installation steps were being performed, so it was slower than later ones. I did notice that many more messages were being displayed, presumably for debugging the beta.

The start-up and primary Ubuntu window looked good, as did the new graphic design. I didn’t get too deeply into it, but I did notice that Firefox did not terminate and restart correctly after installing addons. I suppose I could have killed the process but instead I rebooted. The new addons were present after that.

Another oddity was that I got an alert about a possibly damaged battery that supposedly had less than 2% capacity. Since the battery actually had more than 60% charge, something odd was happening. Ignoring the message caused no problems.

I started looking around the new Ubuntu Software Center but didn’t get too far. Being a beta, I suppose, it had fewer apps than I thought would be there.

The wifi worked! This is a major win for me.

All in all, this was a pretty successful installation and I’m looking forward to the final release version for this netbook machine.

VMWare Fusion on a MacBook Pro

I did the usual installation of a Linux image under VMWare Fusion. I even installed the very latest VMWare Fusion version before I started. VMWare wanted to do an “East Installation” and I let it. Evidently my initial password was too short and this froze the installation when Ubuntu asked if I really wanted such an insecure word for password.

I shut down VMWare Fusion, went to my Documents folder and deleted the VMWare image that had been created, and started again.

This time I got all the way through the installation with no obvious problems. However, on reboot the window went black and nothing I could do seemed to bring it back. Even shutting down the virtual machine and restarting it failed to work.

So this was a total fail. I’m not sure if the problem was with Ubuntu, VMWare, or me, but it was unusable. I’ll try again in a few weeks.

(Evidently other people have had this problem as well, judging by a comment to this entry.)

Also see:

Downloads of WebSphere software

A long time ago when I was in the IBM WebSphere organization, I did a blog post about some free downloads of the software. Therefore, I still get a lot of blog search hits on this. To update the information I gave then:

  • The IBM web page listing all downloads of WebSphere software, including trials, is here.
  • The no-charge product “WebSphere Application Server for Developers V7.0” is here.
  • The no-charge product “WebSphere Application Server Community Edition V2.1” is here.

In time this will go out of date as well, so the first link is probably your best bet to look at first.

Update on antisocial bookmarks

About once a month I publish an entry about what I’ve been calling antisocial bookmarks, the saving of links to articles, blog entries, websites, and documents to a blog without using a service like Delicious or Diigo. My last entry, at the end of August, was called “More thoughts on using WordPress for antisocial bookmarks” and contains most of the background on this thread. I’ll assume you’ve read that if you are interested in what follows.

First, I’m definitely not doing anything with Drupal on this right now. The bookmarks are to be published in my WordPress blog and I can’t convert that to Drupal any time soon, nor do I necessarily want to do so. Drupal is very powerful, especially with CCK and Views, but is probably overkill. Also, Drupal 7 will be out soon, so I don’t want to do any serious coding in Drupal 6 right now.

Second, I put together some PHP code to help assemble the information for a bookmark, using the fields I described in the last blog entry.

Empty Bookie page

This is very much a work in progress. The idea is that you paste in the URL of the web item you want to bookmark and then the software tries to figure out as much of the other information as possible. Digg, Diigo, Reddit etc all do similar things.

The category is not some arbitrary keyword but rather an actual category in my blog. For now I’ve hardcoded in a list of the categories and their WordPress ids, but eventually I’ll generalize this to do a dynamic lookup using the WordPress XML-RPC APIs. Presumably I could do the same with tags.

Here’s an example of what is retrieved from a URL from a recent CNet blog entry by Matt Asay:

Retrieved info Bookie page

The comment will always be blank as that is something I would add manually. I need to add some smarts to guess at the category and the type (that is, article, blog entry, document, or website). The author field is trickier because there are no real standards on how the author is specified in an HTML page. Presumably I could guess and look for “by …” or for specific meta tags in, say, New York Times articles. The point is that much of this automatic “filling in the blanks” must be done heuristically and based on the specific source.

Here’s the form with more information added manually and some edits:

Edited Bookie page

Right now I’m guessing at the excerpt based on description attribute on a meta element in the HTML. I would probably cut and paste different information into that field for a given bookmark. If I were to create a JavaScript frontend to this, I could grab any selected text on a page and stuff it into the excerpt. Diigo does something like this.

The “Format bookmark information” button produces HTML which looks like the following in my blog:

Open Source

Zimbra notches 100 percent growth
CNet / Matt Asay

image for bookmark

Yahoo may not know what to do with Zimbra, but with 50 million paid mailboxes and counting, Zimbra clearly knows how to build a business.

A nit here is that I’ve arbitrarily set the image width to 100 for consistency, but that might be too wide for smaller images. Note to self: fix.

What would make this more interesting in the long run is to save up the bookmarks and then publish them at some set frequency into the blog. I could keep this as a completely separate application with its own database, but I think it would be smarter to take the existing code, enhance it, and then create a WordPress plugin. The bookmark information would be maintained in the regular WordPress database until it was successfully published in an entry, and then it would be cleared. The display above would be modified so that it worked in the WordPress administrative panel.

As I said, this is a work in progress and very much a side, fun project in my spare time. It’s already made my life easier for the “Daily Links” I put up in the blog, so it’s been time well spent so far, even if I get no further.

Daily Links for Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Open Source

IBM Make Linux For Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan
InformationWeek / Paul McDougall

Put another way, IBM thinks Kazakhstan and other emerging markets are better off devoting scarce resources to building out businesses and infrastructure rather than paying a tax to Redmond on every piece of computing hardware they own. Big Blue hopes it will benefit from the growth in the long run by selling more advanced software and services into these markets once their economies mature.

IBM’s Kazakhstan center, in the capital city of Astana, will offer Linux support to regional ISVs and business partners and help local governments prototype services based on open source foundations. It will also focus on developing e-learning and other professional training systems for tech workers in the area.

Daily Links for Friday, September 25, 2009 – Evening Edition

Cloud

IBM Supplies Cloud System for Chinese City
eWeek / Chris Preimesberger

IBM’s CloudBurst software and services package will be used by the local government of Dongying, China, to access software development and test resources for software startup companies via a self-service Web interface, IBM says. The cloud later will be used as a platform for e-government services and eco-friendly oil cultivation R&D.

Daily Links for Friday, September 25, 2009 – Morning Edition

Open Source

Shuttleworth: Don’t Give Up the Linux Desktop
internetnews.com / Sean Michael Kerner

Speaking at the LinuxCon conference late Wednesday, the Canonical founder pitched his approach for expanding Linux to provide a better user experience and broadening its appeal. The approach involves having a degree of cadence and coordination between projects and distributions, as well as improving quality and design.

IBM Lotus Symphony free download

Symphony logo

Several people have asked me about Lotus Symphony, the free office productivity suite included in the package we announced this week for Africa with Canonical (Ubuntu) and Virtual Bridges (VERDE).

The primary Symphony site is here, and the download section is here. Versions are available for Ubuntu Linux, Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. You can view a snazzy marketing brochure in PDF form here.

Two photos from my trip

I was in Portland, Oregon, this last week for LinuxCon. Portland is a beautiful city and other than trying to capture a sunrise on my iPhone, I didn’t take any photos. Here are a couple from my travel to and from the conference.

From the “You Can’t Buy Security Like This” Department

Door with key photo

From the “I’m Sure We Must Need Quotes Here” Department

Misused quotes in photo

Daily Links for Wednesday, September 23, 2009 – Morning Edition

Cloud

IBM, Microsoft Back Zend Open Cloud API
InformationWeek / Charles Babcock

Simple API will seek to counteract the tendency of each cloud to have some proprietary parts, making it difficult for an application to work with services in more than one cloud at a time.

The Simple API is intended to provide a common API set from which developers may call application services, regardless of which cloud they reside in.

IBM and Canonical partner on software package for Africa

Woman trying IBM/Canonical software

The Wall Street Journal broke the story this morning of a partnership between IBM and Canonical to provide a software package for users of netbooks and other thin clients in Africa. The package, which can be configured in several ways to provide both netbook-based and cloud-based software, is expected to drive new business for local partners by taking advantage of open standards, file sharing, email, and social network capabilities.

Canonical is providing Ubuntu Linux and IBM is providing a suite of Lotus software including Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes/iNotes, and cloud-based offerings such as Lotus Live. Clients may also deploy virtual Linux desktops via VERDE from Virtual Bridges.

More on this as the story is picked up in the media.

IBM Markets Wares to Africa
Wall Street Journal

IBM, which has been pushing into developing markets like Africa and Asia as mature markets slow, said the package — which includes basic programs like word processing and email — would be made available to customers via remote “cloud computing” facilities, meaning users could access the programs from the Web. It would cost $10 per month per user, and can run on so-called netbook computers, or low-cost PCs priced around $300.

IBM is working in collaboration with London-based Canonical Ltd., which makes Linux software and was started in South Africa.

First 2010 Ubuntu Linux release to be Lucid Lynx

Mark Shuttleworth announced that the next LTS (Long Term Support) version of the Canonical Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux, to be released in April, 2010, is to have the nickname “Lucid Lynx.” It follows, of course, Karmic Koala.

You don’t need to know these names to use Ubuntu.

Personally, Ubuntu has helped me realize just how challenged I am at remembering the order of the letters of the alphabet without resorting to reciting a few of them to myself, as in “H-I-J-K-L!”.

You might decide to just call it Ubuntu 10.4 LTS, which is the official name. Personally, I was holding out for the “Lucky Lizard.”

Here’s Mark making the announcement: