Ubuntu 10.10, a stable release code-named Maverick Meerkat, will ship on 10 October with several new and expanded areas of functionality for server deployments.
Maverick Meerkat allows an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to run in offline mode when mounted on a Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. It also bundles a distributed file system, broadens the customisation options for AMIs when booting into Amazon's public cloud, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The release makes a host of small changes to the kernel and other software packages.
"You'll see an upward revision on lots of packages as well as the kernel. In terms of the specific features, they're very public cloud-centric. A lot of the work we have done has been about enabling features for use on EC2," Neil Levine, Canonical's vice president of corporate services, told ZDNet UK.
An AMI is to the cloud what an ISO disc image is to a desktop install: it contains the operating system for an application and is required to run the app within EC2. The ability to run the machine image in offline mode will allow testing and development work to be carried out without having to run it in EC2, which costs the tester money. AMIs can only be run in offline mode in 10.10 if mounted on the KVM hypervisor, Levine told ZDNet UK. Users can already run AMIs over VMware's hypervisor in offline mode.
Ubuntu 10.10 also features the ability to run custom commands and scripts on an AMI during its boot-up phase when running in the cloud, along with setting up individual SSH keys for individual users and selecting mountpoints to choose where to attach storage.
The release also bundles the scalable, distributed Ceph file system and the log-structured file system (LFS), marking the first time that Canonical has bundled distributed file systems into one of its standard bi-yearly releases.
According to Canonical's Levine, Ubuntu 10.10 is focused around "giving developers access to the latest and greatest things".