Malcolm Yates, the global independent software vendor (ISV) alliance manager at Canonical Ltd., traveled halfway around the world, flying from London to San Francisco with a message for LinuxWorld: Ubuntu is growing up. No longer just an operating system for geeks, Ubuntu has begun to evolve into a mature ecosystem with a small but growing cache of applications to run on top of an OS and more partners to expand its reach, he said.
Addressing an oft-cited shortcoming, Canonical is in the process of adding numerous key partnerships to expand the desktop and server offerings on top of Ubuntu’s OS and forging pacts with hardware vendors as well, Yates said. Parallels virtualization software and IBM DB2 database software already are downloadable from Canonical’s website and enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management applications in the works, he said. The desktop is beefing up, too, with OBM messaging and collaboration software and IBM groupware are coming soon, he said.
Canonical also has strengthened its development team to nearly a dozen members during the last year and has built a mini-operating system to enable ISVs to develop Ubuntu-based applications quickly and bring them to market, Yates said.
Although he didn’t have solid numbers, Yates estimated that Ubuntu’s share of the open source operating system market has doubled or tripled from IDC’s 9% projection last year, with the number of users opting for paid support rising proportionately. Server and desktop users both are growing but desktops – boosted by a 50,000 deployment by French police – are increasing faster, he said. But the coming addition of IBM groupware to Ubuntu’s desktop should boost Ubuntu’s momentum in the corporate market, both desktops and servers, he said.
Canonical’s goal is to make Ubuntu available via any partner and any business model and deliver it to users on the server as well as the desktop, Yates said.