Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, has scored a major partnership with Ericsson that promises to help propel the open source company in the open source network-functions virtualization (NFV) and telecom space.

Through the partnership agreement, Ericsson will use Ubuntu as the host operating system for its Cloud System platform, a cloud service tailored to customers involved in the telecommunications space. The deal also involves OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, and OPNFV, a project building an open software framework for NFV.

The partners have not disclosed the financial terms of the deal, but Canonical has suggested that they will be significant, eWeek reported. "We do not report on financial value of partnerships that include engineering and go-to-market collaboration," John Zannos, vice president of Alliance Partners at Canonical, told eWEEK. "However, I will say that we expect the revenue associated with this partnership to be material to both companies over the next three years."

And it's not just about money. This agreement is also a big step forward for Canonical in the telecom market, which it has been courting for some time. The company has already scored deals to ship Ubuntu-based smartphones, and has been steadily building a community of telecom and IoT partners.

The Ericsson deal, however, brings Canonical to a new segment of the telecom world, in which it has not yet ventured in a direct way. What's more, this is an intersection that the company is particularly well-suited to help develop by promoting open source cloud and NFV technologies to a new set of customers.