On the cloud front, Ubuntu 12.04 includes the OpenStack Essex release. The OpenStack support is a shift from what Ubuntu 10.04 offered with cloud support via the Eucalyptus project. Ubuntu shifted away from Eucalyptus as its primary cloud technology in the 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” release.
The difference with 12.04 is that this is an LTS release, meaning that Canonical will support it for five years. Going a step further, Canonical has also pledged to backport support for the next four upcoming releases of OpenStack to 12.04, providing enterprise customers with the prospect of a stable operating system base.
“This allows customers to get access to the latest features of OpenStack without having to change their underlying platform,” Baker said. “It’s a change for us, since normally with things that are in an LTS release, we don’t make commitments to supporting newer versions, but we’ve made an exception with OpenStack.”
While OpenStack is now supported by Ubuntu’s Linux rivals SUSE and Red Hat as well, neither of these vendors has made a similar commitment to providing long term support for release backports on an enterprise Linux distribution base.