Canonical's new partnerships for Ubuntu: A challenge in the enterprise space?

Canonical has announced major partnerships for the future of Ubuntu Linux. Jack Wallen speculates on what this could mean for Ubuntu in the near future. Could we see a major rise in the deployment of Ubuntu in the business and enterprise levels?

Shortly after Ubuntu 10.10 was released Canonical managed to shore up some pretty hefty partners. Seven new partnerships, to be exact, and these sponsors all seem to point to one thing: enterprise. When you read through the list (patience now) it becomes very clear that Canonical has yet another trick up its sleeve.

He's changed the future default desktop from GNOME Shell to Ubuntu Unity.

He's migrating Ubuntu away from X Windows to Wayland.

Those two changes alone raised some eyebrows. Why would he do such a thing? Business, first and foremost. And, as the name would imply, unification (or Unity). Shuttleworth wants Ubuntu to be easy for companies to support, so a singular interface across the board (from netbooks to notebooks to desktops to servers) makes that task easy.

And next comes a new "change." This change is in the form of newly created partnerships that seem to be pointing Ubuntu even further into the future and into mass appeal and acceptance. Those new partnerships? Here they are:

Boxed Ice Server Density: This is a server monitoring tool that allows you to automatically get notifications via email, sms, or iPhone alerts, should your server's services stop.

Opsview: Powerful monitoring tool that enables the administrator to manage multiple deployments from the console.

Riptano's Cassandra: Scalable, high-performance database that supports geographic distribution across multiple datacenters and much, much more.

Unoware: Provides enterprise level solutions focusing on SOA, BPM, EAM, and high availability.

Vladster: Point of sale and inventory management solutions.

Wavemaker Software: Easy to use, web-based cloud development program.

Zend Technologies: Business-critical PHP technology creator.

If you look at these partnerships separately the impression isn't nearly as strong. Taken as a whole, you can see that Canonical looks to be giving Red Hat a serious run for their money. This means business. Serious business.

What I find most interesting from that list is the Vladster entry. If you go to that site you see that they only currently have an offering for the Windows operating system. I would imagine that is going to change and they will be developing, in conjunction with Canonical, a Linux POS system. This will be a real boon for small to medium sized businesses. As it stands, Linux has very few options in the Point of Sale realm. Making this partnership will help to bring Ubuntu (and Canonical) into an arena no other Linux distribution has ever managed to gain any foothold on.

And if you compare that with the other partnerships listed, you can see that this Point of Sale system could easily become a much larger system (with a geographic distributable database, high availability, cloud deployments, and various monitor/management systems).

So what does this all mean? Obviously Canonical is trying to re-shape the future of Linux, not only for the Linux community at large, but for those communities who need a more flexible, reliable system than what they already have. Ubuntu is an ideal platform and these partnerships help to shore up what Linux was missing to make the upcoming releases of Ubuntu very exciting.

If you have ever doubted the work of Mark Shuttleworth, these recent partnerships should help to ease that doubt. Mr. Shuttleworth is making some bold, brilliant moves for the Ubuntu Linux distribution. With his recent changes for the home desktop user, and now what seem to be changes to make serious in-roads  for Ubuntu in the business and enterprise arena, Ubuntu is poised to take the world by storm. If my assumptions about these partnerships are correct Canonical and Ubuntu will do just that.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

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