Yes, we all know Ubuntu has strong momentum on the desktop. But what about the server? Glad you asked. There’s a growing body of evidence suggesting Ubuntu 7.10 — Gutsy Gibbon — will mark the beginning of a strong server push for Canonical.
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.
I see a clear opportunity for Canonical to succeed with Ubuntu on small business and some departmental servers. If Canonical wins server business, I think it will come at Novell’s expense. After all, Red Hat is widely considered the safe Linux choice by chief information officers 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, I’m 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, I think the underdog — Canonical — is holding a strong hand. As a daily Ubuntu user, I’m impressed with Canonical’s software so far.