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Re: Please let's not talk about "clouds"

    Cloud IaaS means you get a bunch of physical computers, pool them into a
    unique entity, then you can start virtual servers

Now I know what you are referring to.  This is remote virtual computer

Ethically it is a totally different issue from SaaS.

    For AWS (Amazon Web Service), Azure, and probably any other proprietary

What does "proprietary" mean in the context of remote virtual server
rental?  Our distinction between free and proprietary is defined for a
program, and remote virtual computer rental is a kind of computing

See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/network-services-arent-free-or-nonfree.html.

	  you have the same specific need as with the free software version
    of IaaS currently available in Debian using Eucalyptus or OpenStack

I don't know what Eucalyptus or OpenStack do.  Are you saying that these
programs create and manage virtual computers on top of Debian?

    On all of these IaaS, when a virtual machine starts, you need to grab
    some more information about how to configure things like hostnames, and
    so on. These are called the "metadata". When the VM boots, it queries
    the metadata server for these information, which are provided somehow by
    the final user of the infrastructure, through the IaaS API.

I see.  Thanks for explaining.

    The "cloud-init" thing is that part which runs at boot time inside the
    virtual machines which queries the metadata server for this information,
    and initialize the virtual machine with what it receives.

That makes sense now, but it is a shame to give it a name
which encourages people to think in terms of "cloud".  I would like
to suggest changing its name.  Why not call it virtual-machine-init?

    the source package cloud-initramfs-tools in Debian (which contains a bit
    more than just that).

This too makes sense, but it would be better not to call it "cloud".

    So, for both commercial cloud IaaS offering images, and for the images
    which will fit into the cloud IaaS software offer available in Debian,
    we have the same needs for the images:
    - ssh without host keys
    - cloud-init and friends (growroot and so on)
    - a boot loader (it seems after all, extlinux could work)
    - a minimalistic install of Debian

Because "cloud" is vague, I can only guess what you mean when you say
it here.  If my guess above is correct, that Eucalyptus manages virtual
machines on top of Debian, then I see why you would want an image
to run in them, like the image you might run on virtual machines rented
from a service like Amazon.

    Well, since we can make it so that these images could work on nearly any
    IaaS cloud, yes, calling them "an IaaS cloud image" does make sense.

It's convenient that the same image can run in various kinds of
virtual machines.  But since we're talking about running Debian in a
virtual machine, the clear thing to call it is a "virtual machine

For two totally different things, which are not at all similar
or parallel, it is good to have totally different names.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call

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