VMware prefers Ubuntu instead of rPath for its virtual appliance OS

One year ago, at VMworld 2006 in Los Angeles, VMware launched the Virtual Appliances Marketplace (VAM), detailing its efforts to reach a future made of modular datacenters.

Current implementations of virtual appliances are far away from being attractive for enterprise customers, hiding serious management and security issues.

First step in the right direction must be taken reducing operating system footprint. For this reason VMware partnered with Ubuntu to launch a special Linux distribution called JeOS (Just enough Operating System).

VMware and Ubuntu say JeOS is tailored for virtual appliances and should be used by any vendor wanting to offer its products inside pre-configured virtual machines, but new distro size is still as big as 215MB, plus 65MB from VMware software. More than just enough for all security professionals with a knowledge in plaftorms hardening.

JeOS will be available in the coming weeks. It’s yet to be seen if it will be available for general public or just ISVs/OEMs.

But besides Ubuntu commercial supporter, Canonical, there’s another company supporting VMware and Virtual Appliances Marketplace since its launch. It’s called rPath and offers an enhanced tool to build slim OSes for virtual appliances purposes: rBuilder.

Obviously Ubuntu is much more influencial in open source community but VMware may have discarded rPath because its rBuilder also supports competitive formats from Microsoft, XenSource, Virtual Iron and Parallels.