Less than two months ahead of the Ubuntu 13.10 launch, buzz about the new operating system (code-named Saucy Salamander) is subdued. How can Canonical crank up the energy and excitement, especially as some partners attempt to pitch Ubuntu for private and public clouds? Perhaps the answer involves a Juju contest and some new cloud moves. Here are the details.

First, the big picture: Ubuntu remains popular on PCs and laptops. The operating system is also widely deployed across corporate data centers and public clouds. But in many cases, customers don't actually "pay" Canonical for Ubuntu. And a mobile strategy that extends to smartphone and tablets faces big questions.

The new Ubuntu 13.10 features, set for launch in October 2013, don't exactly blow away The VAR Guy. But that's where Juju enters the picture. According to Canonical:

"Juju is the game-changing service orchestration tool that lets you build entire cloud environments with only a few commands. Whether you want to deploy OpenStack itself, a workload on public or private clouds, or even directly on bare metal using MAAS, Juju is the fastest and simplest solution."

Winning Moves?

To stir even more interest in Ubuntu and Juju, Canonical has launched a Charm Championship contest. A charm is basically a set of services that ease software deployments atop Ubuntu clouds. As part of the Charm contest, Canonical will honor participants in six categories:

  1. Continuous deployment – a bundle of charms that allows startups to be immediately productive, continually launch new features, and scale effortlessly.
  2. Media – a bundle of charms that brings value to media content providers, distributors, and associated mass medium technologies.
  3. Telco – a bundle of charms that brings value to telecommunications service providers and telecommunications infrastructure.
  4. High Availability – represents a full stack of HA-enabled services to accomplish a task.
  5. Data Science – represents a full stack of data mining and “big data” analysis.
  6. Monitoring – represents a full stack of monitoring solutions for existing services.

The twist: The contest isn't for Ubuntu 13.10. Rather all entries must be submitted for Ubuntu 12.04.

Still, positive near-term buzz for Juju and Charms could stir more interest in Ubuntu -- potentially putting more business customers on the upgrade path from version 12.04 to 13.04, 13.10 and beyond.

Go All In On NoSQL

Where else can Canonical aggressively promote Ubuntu 13.10? The VAR Guy's answer involves the NoSQL and Big Data market.

The VAR Guy spent 2009 to roughly 2011 calling on Ubuntu to more aggressively promote its application and database support. Relationships with software giants like Oracle never materialized.

Fast forward to the present and Canonical can now score with next-generation ISVs like NoSQL companies -- including MongoDB and DataStax.

Forrester Research suggests the NoSQL market will grow from $200 million this year to $1 billion in 2017. Surely Ubuntu 13.10 and future releases should celebrate NoSQL support far more aggressively...