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Ubuntu 10.10 for free in the cloud

Canonical is now offering Ubuntu Server 10.10 free in the cloud for free. Essentially it's a remote desktop version of Ubuntu 10.10 -- do a sudo, login, and use a remote virtualized version of Ubuntu Server on your desktop.

But why is Canonical doing this? There are many reasons. This could provide a  quick way for users to test the OS prior to downloading a new versions. Developers can use it as a sandbox to test applications.

But there are limitations. Users login through Launchpad, and each ID gets one 55 minute session. If all this nonsense is too much for you, download a full version of Ubuntu Server -- that's the easy way out.

The service seems to hosted by Amazon's EC2 service, which hosts other software services for companies like IBM. It's also a good look at the cloud aspirations for Ubuntu, which Canonical is trying to build.

Cloud is a vague term, it can be twisted in many ways to suit many needs. One cloud are for services such as Amazon's EC2, which can host full-fledged applications. The other cloud is for data storage, social networking, e-mail, mapping or document creation services such as Google Docs. Ubuntu's very own storage service, Ubuntu One, is the other application of the cloud.

But Ubuntu is clearly headed in the direction of the cloud, and is pushing itself into a model where users do most of their computing via the Internet. Mark Shuttleworth has said that future Ubuntu releases -- 11.04 and 11.10 -- will integrate more cloud features.