Critical Week for Canonical and Ubuntu LinuxCritical Week for Canonical and Ubuntu Linux
Canonical CEO and Ubuntu Linux backer Mark Shuttleworth will step into the spotlight July 22, when he keynotes OSCON (Open Source Convention) in Portland, Oregon. It will be a critical moment for Shuttleworth and the Ubuntu movement. Here's why.
July 21, 2008
Canonical CEO and Ubuntu Linux backer Mark Shuttleworth will step into the spotlight July 22, when he keynotes OSCON (Open Source Convention) in Portland, Oregon. It will be a critical moment for Shuttleworth and the Ubuntu movement. Here’s why.
Canonical was originally scheduled to host Ubuntu Live — a mini convention — as part of the broader OSCON this week. Instead, Canonical canceled the mini-event and promised to introduce smaller regional and online events over the next few months.
When Canonical canceled Ubuntu Live, however, The VAR Guy wondered if Canonical was conceding that it had bitten off more than it could chew this year. Just look at all the projects on Canonical’s plate:
1. Ubuntu Desktop Edition: Any new preload deals coming, Mark?
Ubuntu got a big mainstream win in mid-2007 when Dell agreed to pre-install Ubuntu on selected Desktops. The VAR Guy and other Ubuntu followers expected (perhaps foolishly) that Dell rivals like Hewlett-Packard would quickly jump on the Ubuntu desktop bandwago. HP has won some Ubuntu-related customer deals, but has said little about its Ubuntu plans.
When Ubuntu’s latest release arrived in April 2008, we expected the upgrade (version 8.04) to generate more pre-load news from big PC makers. But even Dell took extra time before starting 8.04 preloads.
2. Ubuntu Server Edition: Ubuntu on the server is going to be a very long, slow-moving initiative that will require more software developers, hardware makers and integrators to climb on the bandwagon.
The VAR Guy is starting to hear from folks who are successfully deploying or running Ubuntu Server Edition. But Ubuntu on the server remains in its infancy.
The VAR Guy on April 24, 2008, stated that The Ubuntu Server Revolution Starts Today. But companies like Dell took a wait-and-see approach to Ubuntu on the server, and Sun is the only major server maker to truly endorse Ubuntu.
3. Ubuntu Netbooks: This is one of Canonical’s more promising strategies. Netbooks — or sub-notebooks with Ubuntu pre-installed — have drawn interest from customers and hardware makers alike.
But Microsoft will surely pressure sub-notebook makers to stick with Windows Vista by steeply discounting Windows, especially in emerging markets.
4. Ubuntu Mobile Internet Device Release: Canonical has to do a better job communicating how Ubuntu for Netbooks and the Ubuntu Mobile Internet Device (MID) release are related — if at all.
It sounds like Ubuntu for Netbooks is purely for sub-notebooks, but Ubuntu MID is for touchscreen devices like smart phones or iPhone-sized devices that have WiFi but no cell service. Also, how will Ubuntu MID compete with Google Android — or is there little overlap between the platforms?
So many questions for such a small company like Canonical. The VAR Guy wonders if Shuttleworth should simplify Canonical and simply focus like a laser on desktop Linux.
Or does Canonical really have the developer backing, financial resources and patience to compete on desktops, mobile devices, smart phones and servers?
Hopefully, Shuttleworth will provide some answers July 22.
Oh, and by the way, this is just the start of Canonical’s summer blitz for Ubuntu. Expect to hear more about Ubuntu and server software partners at LinuxWorld in August.
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