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Ideas' Iams said while there was nothing unique about an Ubuntu-based virtual appliance - Red Hat and Novell Inc. have similar strategies in place - Ubuntu's flexibility could give it an edge as virtual appliance technology takes off over the next couple of years. "There is a growing interest in virtual appliances," Iams said. "For lack of a better word, virtual appliances upend the role of system software." With a virtual appliance, a user starts with an application and a workload he wants to host and then wrap a stripped-down operating system around it, Iams said. Rather than starting with the traditional model, which uses an OS and builds around it, Iams said the workload becomes the building block. Canonical's pitch to ISVs is that Ubuntu is already light and flexible enough to outperform the established distributions, Iams said. "Ubuntu is trying to come out ahead and say they are more flexible than established distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE," he said. That flexibility comes at the expense of well-defined support packages offered by Red Hat and Novell, Iams said. But, he added, Ubuntu's current popularity could provide an edge; though how much of one remains to be seen. Canonical has deferred the announcement of any additional JeOS functionalities or services until October. What is known is that with JeOS, Canonical plans to extend its full- and self-service support plans to virtual appliances as well. With full-service Canonical packages, tests and updates an ISV application with Ubuntu Server. Self-service is similar: Canonical provides compatibility test suites for ISV applications and helps fix software issues to ensure that JeOS will run on Ubuntu.
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