I think a lot of people out there want to see Ubuntu go beyond the desktop, where it has been an immensely successful (and completely free) distribution, and into the server arena — en masse.
Sure, server support has been built into Ubuntu for a long while now, but it really hasn’t been “advertised” by the folks at Canonical Ltd. Even when that practice started to change back with the release of Dapper Drake (version 6.06 LTS) in June 2006, it still seemed more like a me too moment than anything else.
But now, as another release looms on the horizon — Feisty Fawn 7.04 — the server talk has been ratcheted up a notch once again. Of course, there are some not so subtle differences in the OS environment today that did not exist in 2006. A big one is Microsoft Vista, and the upgrade headaches both in hardware and software licensing costs that will greet many IT managers as they debate remaining with Redmond or vetting less expensive alternatives. Then there are the conspiracy theory moments like the defection of Fedora Core developer Eric Raymond to Ubuntu. Or we could go political: The French are now on board with Ubuntu too, it would seem.
All of these little signs and portents are the crux of an Ubuntu article I’m working on this week. People love an underdog story almost as much as IT managers love freedom of choice in their data centers, and it will certainly be interesting to see where Ubuntu on the server side falls in either of those categories.