October 10, 2007
There’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that Novell and Red Hat could soon face new competition in the Linux server market. Something new from Microsoft? Nope. Another attack from Oracle? Not quite. This time, the competition could come from tiny Canonical and the company’s latest Ubuntu Linux release.
Canonical is set to release Ubuntu 7.10 — code-named Gutsy Gibbon — on October 18. Although Ubuntu’s momentum is strongest on PC desktops and notebooks, Canonical has publicly stated that Ubuntu 7.10 will include several server-focused enhancements. The company has also hinted that it was preparing a small business server suite. Also, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has called for Canonical, Red Hat and Novell to synchronize the timing of their major Linux releases by 2010– a proposal that would allow software developers to more easily support all three platforms.
But that’s not all. Canonical is now negotiating to have Ubuntu preinstalled on servers, according to IDC — though no major deals are in place yet.
The VAR Guy sees a clear opportunity for Canonical on small business and some departmental servers. If Canonical wins server business, The VAR Guy thinks it will come at Novell’s expense. After all, Red Hat is widely considered the safe Linux choice by CIOs and Novell’s SuSE Linux hasn’t exactly set the world on fire (though sales have picked up since Novell signed the controversial partnership with Microsoft).
Of course, The VAR Guy is getting a little ahead of himself. Red Hat is humming along, Novell remains at $1 billion company and Canonical is a small, privately held business with 120 or so employees. But in this case, The VAR Guy thinks the underdog — Canonical — is holding a strong hand. As a daily Ubuntu user, The VAR Guy is impressed with Canonical’s software so far.
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