It doesn't have the same kind of high-profile marketing machine as Red Hat, for example, but Ubuntu is the OS that's driving many evolutionary cloud projects, including OpenStack.
I got a chance to sit down with Kyle MacDonald, VP of cloud for Ubuntu / Canonical, which is the enterprise support wing of the open-source project.
MacDonald pointed out that Ubuntu is the quiet leader in cloud development, noting that Hortonworks, a popular Hadoop solution provider, built all of its tools on Ubuntu desktops. He said Ubuntu accounts for some 70% of VM instances on Amazon Web Services.
Ubuntu is also the "most popular" version of Linux running on Micosoft's Azure cloud, he added, and the OS is popular on Rackspace and HP Cloud as well.
The OpenStack standard is also heavily weighted toward Ubuntu, he said. Linux players like Red Hat and Suse are only joining the workgroup in recent months.
MacDonald and his staff aim to bring Ubuntu-based clouds to the mainstream by setting up proofs of concept among carrier telsco businesses. "It's very hard to prove something's real unless the right person stands up and says it is," he said, and carrier networks provide the opportunity for scale that will showcase Ubuntu's versatility.
"There are lots of people who are going to be at the OpenStack party, but they're not running workloads at the scale and mission criticality of infrastructure that we are," he said.