System76 Ships Ubuntu 10.04 Systems May 3
Our interview, conducted over email, covered the following questions...
When Canonical officially launched Ubuntu 10.04 on April 29, I reached out to System76 President Carl Richell (pictured) to see when the Ubuntu-centric PC maker would begin offering the new distribution on netbooks, notebooks, PCs and servers. Here are some updates and insights from Richell and System76.
Our interview, conducted over email, covered the following questions…
WorksWithU: How soon will you start shipping 10.04 on systems?
Richell: System76 starts shipping Ubuntu 10.04 LTS systems on Monday, May 3rd. This is our 10th Ubuntu release so we’re pretty well seasoned. Our techs are building OS images with the final 10.04 code, completing quality tests, and then uploading the images to PC assembly centers over the weekend.
WorksWithU: Any thoughts on 10.04? Will it live up to hype? Is it a game changer?
Richell: Ubuntu 10.04 is a dramatic departure in appearance and polish and a fundamental departure in desktop and cloud integration. Ubuntu’s brown theme treated it well over many releases, but it was time for a change. The new controls, icons, fonts, purple tones, and Ubuntu logo feel fresh and modern. I am biased though – I love the purple – System76’s office accent walls are purple :-).
More fundamental — and game changing — is Ubuntu 10.04’s desktop and cloud integration. Facebook, twitter, Flickr, instant messaging, online music, and online file syncing are integrated into the desktop. These online services are extremely easy to use from within Ubuntu. So easy to use, in fact, that the line between Internet and desktop starts to disappear. It’s very exciting when the vast repository of knowledge and content on the Internet meets the power of your desktop.
WorksWithU: How’s your Ubuntu Server business going? Any application or customer trends? Are you targeting any particular vertical markets?
Richell: Server sales have increased substantially for the first quarter of 2010 — before the 10.04 LTS release. I expect the trend to accelerate with a new LTS release. Unit sales are up 83% and gross revenue from servers are up 91%.
WorksWithU: How about notebooks and netbooks; any key Ubuntu trends there?
Richell: First, we’ve noticed a similar trend to the rest of the industry. NetBooks are a complementary PC for traveling and quick at-home or office Internet access. That’s remains the same when it comes to Ubuntu. What is different; however, is how many first time Ubuntu users are more comfortable starting out with a NetBook or NetTop. The cost of entry is lower.
First time Ubuntu users, in particular, want Ubuntu on professionally pre-loaded NetBooks and NetTops. I think they feel that they’re getting the real Ubuntu experience — more so than loading Ubuntu on hardware that originally shipped with Windows. We’re then seeing those customers come back to System76 for laptops.
Revenue Trends and Next Moves
Richell also shared some grander revenue trends and business moves at System76. I’m still sorting through the information and plan to post a follow-up blog.
Separately, I need to check in with Dell to see if/when the PC giant plans to preload Ubuntu on netbooks. The fastest way to track Dell’s Ubuntu PC efforts in the U.S. is to visit http://www.dell.com/ubuntu — though in recent months Dell seems to have dramatically cut back on the number of Ubuntu-centric systems it offers.