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The next version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution, version 7 or Wheezy, will include software that allows users to easily set up their own cloud offerings using free software.

A media release from the project said people were increasingly storing data in the cloud, a term that refers to software as a service offerings.

Given that these services often used proprietary software that raised issues over ownership of data, the project had decided to include software that would enable the creation of cloud services with a Debian base.

The forthcoming release would include ready-to-use packages for OpenStack and the Xen Cloud Platform (XCP). These packages are already available in the testing stream of the distribution.

The former is a common open platform that has the support of more than 2600 project participants and more than 150 industry-leading companies.

XCP is a free software project hosted by xen.org and provides a business-ready server virtualisation and cloud computing platform.

The project has provided instructions for setting up a minimal but fully functional OpenStack cluster on its wiki. XCP installation and deployment could be tested by installing the xcp-xapi package and following the instructions in the accompanying README.Debian file.

Debian project leader Stefano Zacchiroli said: "Preserving user freedoms in the cloud is a tricky business and one of the major challenges ahead for free software. By easing the deployment of Debian-based private clouds we want to help our users in resisting the lure of giving up their freedoms in exchange of some flexibility."

Xen.org community manager Lars Kurth was pleased that Debian had become the first GNU/Linux distribution to include XCP packages.
"Until now, it was only possible to use XCP in Linux appliances within a tightly controlled environment. In Debian 'Wheezy' we changed how users interact with XCP, providing much more flexibility and enabling anybody to use Debian as a XCP Dom0 kernel," he said.

"This enables Debian users to build cloud services based on the leading Free Software virtualization platform that is powering some of the largest clouds in production today."
OpenStack's technical community manager Stefano Maffulli added: "Having OpenStack packages included in Debian confirms the great job done by the OpenStack community to deliver high-quality free/libre software. It's exciting to collaborate with the Debian developers to enable building clouds based entirely on free software."


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.