When we released Ubuntu 8.04 LTS we announced that we would soon have more enterprise ready applications that solve real business problems. This year’s Linuxworld Expo will see us working with our partners to demonstrate exactly why Ubuntu is now firmly in the sights of IT Managers and architects in many businesses.

Gerry Carr, our marketing manager has written about the ‘coming out’ party that is LinuxWorld next week. But you might be more interested in the solutions themselves, and how they help in the decision to choose Ubuntu.

My role is primarily focused on the server side, and facilitating ISVs that want to deploy on the Ubuntu platform, specifically 8.04 in recent months. This week sees the fruition of a lot of this work so it’s worth looking at what they actually bring to the Ubuntu user base. I will be updating this entry as the products become available in the repositories during the week with pointers to how to get them.

Alfresco are known for their leading enterprise information management and are  announcing that Alfresco Labs 3 will be available for download from the Ubuntu Partner repository. We know that many businesses are trying the Alfresco / Ubuntu combination already, and this is the first step to making the entire enterprise solution available through the Ubuntu repositories. This will be made available later in the year with the new version of Alfresco.

We will also be making IBM Lotus Symphony available too, packaged up for an easy install through the Ubuntu Add / Remove software tool. Symphony is IBM’s driver for acceptance of a free and open alternative to the ubiquitous Microsoft Office. Many us already know that OpenOffice is absolutely suitable for many users: with IBM’s extra developments, they are positioning Symphony towards the existing Lotus user base who are looking for a low cost alternative to the incessant upgrade cycle. Symphony is also perfect for smaller businesses or workgroups, who have already discovered the ease of use and maintenance of Ubuntu.

IBM also has the Open Client Collaboration Solution (OCCS), which includes Symphony with the Lotus Notes client : a combination that will appeal to those companies using Lotus Notes as their prime collaboration application. We will be making this available through the repositories shortly.

Zimbra has also been building on their success recently, and are delivering their Zimbra Desktop Client to the Ubuntu repository this week.  When it is released in a few weeks, we will have that too.

We are also looking forward to having the Zimbra Collaboration Suite 5.5 available later this year which will be a big boon for our corporate users.

Unison will be announcing its Unison Integrated Communications Suite. We have been working closely with Unison to make sure that we can deliver the suite through the Partner repository too. They also have a stand at the Expo.

All of these relationships are based on the opportunities for us and our partners to generate new revenue, so expect to see more announcements through the next few months. Our partners and us are all psyched about using the Debian package management system for installing and maintaining these packages. We believe that users, particularly new users, will be blown away by just how easy it is to get everything you need in a single click and not search for drivers and dependencies. A good sys admin is a lazy sysadmin and removing complexity, time and risk is a big plus that we inherit from our architecture choice.Bringing this further into the mainstream will have uses wondering how and why they ever did it any other way.

This, in combination with further work with Virtual Appliances and the cloud, we hope will see Ubuntu as the platform for ISVs to develop on, and Ubuntu as the choice for deployment for a wide range of businesses.

Malcolm Yates
ISV Alliance Manager