Canonical wants to make it easy for ISVs to integrate OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, with Ubuntu Linux through the OpenStack Interoperabilty Lab. But it's also keen to work with PaaS providers around OpenStack, as Mark Shuttleworth explained in a speech about a new Canonical partnership with Pivotal to deliver Cloud Foundry.

Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, announced the partnership during his keynote at the OpenStack 2013 Summit in Hong Kong, which wrapped up last week. Together, he said, Pivotal and Canonical will make the deployment of Pivotal's CloudFoundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) on Ubuntu easy and seamless.

But there's more. Shuttleworth also took the opportunity to invite the other "vendors in the room who have OpenStack implementations" to partner with Canonical on integrating their solutions into Ubuntu.

In other words, it seems a safe bet that Canonical's vision for Ubuntu OpenStack deployability goes beyond the specific partnership with Pivotal. Even though the company may be using that agreement to lead the charge, it is eager to build a strong partner ecosystem of OpenStack PaaS providers throughout the channel.

At the same time, Canonical wants to expand its ties to OpenStack ISVs as well, as it made clear with the announcement of the OpenStack Interoperability Lab. That initiative is mainly about certifying integrated hardware and software solutions for use with Ubuntu.

In some ways, Canonical may have an easier time forging OpenStack partnerships with PaaS providers than ISVs, since the former are more likely to be flexible about the particular OpenStack-related technologies Ubuntu prioritizes, such as Ceph. From Canonical itself, though, the message is clear: The company wants any and all OpenStack partners the channel can supply, even if some of them might compete with each other. It's a broad approach, but given the many directions that OpenStack could take as it continues to evole, it could be the best one.