Ubuntu 10.04: Canonical Makes ISV Push

The VAR Guy

March 2, 2010

And so it begins. As Canonical puts the finishing touches on Ubuntu 10.04 — a long term support (LTS) release — the company also is reaching out to potential Linux server and desktop software partners. In fact, Canonical says there are at least 10 reasons why ISVs should embrace Ubuntu Desktop Edition, and nine reasons why developers should embrace Ubuntu Server Edition. Will partners embrace Canonical’s Ubuntu pitch? Here are some thoughts.

First, a little background. Canonical views Ubuntu 10.04 (code named Lucid Lynx) a prime opportunity for application developers to build long-term business and customer relationships on Ubuntu Linux.

The reason: Canonical typically offers Ubuntu release updates every six months. But Ubuntu 10.04, slated for April 2010 delivery, is an LTS release; LTS users typically receive 3 years support on Ubuntu Desktop, and 5 years on Ubuntu Server. So developers, in particular, might be attracted to the LTS release because they know customers will continue running it for quite some time.

Canonical’s Reasoning

On the desktop, Canonical says there are at least 10 reasons why ISVs should get involved with Ubuntu 10.04:

  1. Over 10 million desktop, notebook and netbook users worldwide — though it’s unclear to The VAR Guy how many of those users are paying for support

  2. Work with Canonical on joint opportunities for larger deployments

  3. Potential reseller opportunities with Ubuntu personal computer original equipment manufacturer (PC OEM) partners

  4. Applications are delivered straight to the user’s desktop

  5. Application updates available through the Ubuntu update system

  6. Canonical certification

  7. Manage multiple software licence types

  8. No-charge, paid-for and trial software are all catered for

  9. Consumer and business market opportunities

  10. LTS provides a longer pay-back period

And on the server, Canonical points to nine reasons ISVs should get involved with Ubuntu 10.04:

  1. Rapidly growing user base, though The VAR Guy doesn’t have a feel for Canonical’s Linux server market share

  2. Shared opportunities for larger deployments

  3. Potential reseller opportunities with Canonical channel

  4. Joint marketing opportunities with Canonical

  5. Bundled support packages from Canonical for additional revenue

  6. Multiple licence types – no-charge, paid-for and trial

  7. Multiple delivery environments – native, virtualised and cloud

  8. Application packaging services

  9. LTS provides a longer pay-back period

Getting An Early Start

Even before Ubuntu 9.10 arrived in October 2009, many Canonical insiders had already shifted their attention to Ubuntu 10.04 and ISV support. Key players involved in the ISV effort include Canonical’s Steve George (director of corporate services), Gerry Carr (head of platform marketing) and John Pugh (software partner manager). Carr and Pugh will be involved in desktop and server ISV webcasts on March 24 and March 25.

How critical is Ubuntu 10.04 ISV support to Canonical’s ongoing success? Pugh shared some clues in this FastChat video from September 2009’s Atlanta Linux Fest:

Facing Novell, Red Hat

During a conference call last week, Canonical’s George said Ubuntu continues to pick up ISV support, pointing to partnerships with folks like Groundwork Open Source.

Still, Canonical’s ISV efforts face plenty of competition. No doubt, Red Hat is the first Linux that most business-centric ISVs consider supporting. And Novell‘s SUSE Linux has gained ISV momentum, thanks to some recent SUSE Studio and SUSE Appliance Toolkit moves.

Will Ubuntu 10.04 help Canonical gain more ISV support? Canonical may share some key clues on March 24 and 25.

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