Friday, October 8, 2010

Try out Ubuntu Server 10.10 on EC2 for FREE!

I'm mostly disappointed that it wasn't my idea. Dustin deserves all the credit. The implementation (awstrial) was a fairly straightforward programming exercise. I don't mean at all to discount the work of the others who contributed to the awstrial project, and I had a blast in my first django experience, but the idea was the brilliance.

What idea ? The idea to allow anyone to try out Ubuntu 10.10 on EC2 for free for 55 minutes. No hardware is needed. While you're waiting for your desktop or server ISO to download, you can give a test drive to the server. You'll have 170Gb disk, 2G memory, and a very high speed internet connection with local LAN access to Ubuntu mirrors.

You do not need an AWS account or a credit card.

Here is how it works:

  • Sometime on Sunday, October 10, 2010 Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) will be released.
  • At that point, and a limited time following, you'll be able to go to and launch an instance.
  • wait 3 minutes or less
  • ssh to the instance
  • do something
  • 55 minutes after launch, your instance will be terminated

In order to take part in this, you'll need to have a or Ubuntu Single Singon account. If you don't have one, then create one. If you're reading this, you probably have ssh keys in a file called ~/.ssh/, so go to and paste those keys in.

Now, back to the 'do something' item above. What should you do?

Heres some suggestions, but I'm certain that you're more creative than I am.
  • Check if a bug you opened (or were annoyed by) in 10.04 LTS is still present. If it was fixed, then make sure the bug in launchpad is marked 'Fix Released'.
  • Take Postgres 9.0for a spin, thanks to Martin Pitt's PPA builds
  • run 'rm -Rf /' just to see what happens.
  • Find something that is broken. Open a bug, using 'ubuntu-bug'.
  • Hack on awstrial

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy taking the "Official Ubuntu Image" for a spin. Do something cool, blog about it, tell people how easy it was.


  1. Skytap offers a powerful 'hybrid' cloud computing solution for dynamic IT workloads that goes well beyond basic 'Infrastructure-as-a-Service' offerings. Compare against EC2 and get a free trial here:

  2. just tried it, great! downloaded iso from ubuntu in this one at the rate of 35MB/s. wow

  3. Urr , what about a free forevor hack?

  4. hey Scott --

    Very cool. Have you considered the "Free Forever" option of CloudShare Pro, vs wrangling Amazon?

    (CSPro = designed to build and hand out environments just as you did. And yes, not a trial. Free.)

    Here's another user's perspective -- give a shot and tell us what you think?

    Thanks / best --


  5. With CloudShare's free cloud computing solution (, you can create and share an IT environment of up to 6 VMs (Linux or Windows, including Ubuntu) on templates such as Windows 7 and latest apps like Office 2010, Sharepoint, and more - included, free, in the platform. Environments are persistent.